Cats’ 160 years on display

CATS FANATICS: Phillipa and Bob Gartland with Bella Walsh and Rachael Gartland at the opening night of the

by Luke Voogt

The 160-year history of The Greatest Team of All has gone on display following an official opening last Thursday.

The exhibition, featuring the incredible collection of Geelong Cats Vice President and historian Bob Gartland, opened to the public the next day.

While the Cats fell agonisingly short in Friday night’s prelimary final, fanatics can still bask in past blue and white glories through the exhibition until November.

Bob’s Geelong Cats collection, his “life’s passion”, features club relics from when the American Civil War raged and the gold rush drew pioneers to Victoria.

“People will see things that they have never seen before and rare treasurers that have been very hard to acquire,” the 65-year-old said.

“I’m hoping people will see what I see in my love of the club. We’ve survived world wars, the depression, huge economic downturn… but we have survived.”

The exhibition features probably the oldest football membership ticket in the world and the oldest football guide and whistle in the AFL (previously VFL and VFA).

The collection features priceless treasures from club legends Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer and Charles Brownlow, through to more recent greats like Garry Hocking, Paul Couch, Gary Ablett – senior and junior, Matthew Scarlett and Joel Selwood.

And, of course, Bob’s collection tells the story of Geelong’s famous Cats nickname too.

The Greatest Team of All exhibition is open at Geelong Gallery for free 10am to 5pm daily until 10 November.

Read more about Bob’s story in the latest Geelong Coast Magazine, available at all good newsagents.

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