We are lucky to have Brian as part of community, he has a great history with the west and his story of saving the Western Bulldogs in the late 80’s was a source of inspiration to all of us. In a time before the internet, social media, crowdfunding the community showed you can save something if you want to. This is Brian’s story.
Recently, when I saw the auction sign on the Dancing Dog building, my initial thought was “here is another iconic Footscray venue the community is going to lose”. When I moved to Footscray 13 years ago ‘the Dog’ was a ‘friend’ I discovered that connected me to my new home. Poetry readings, art exhibitions, open mic on a Thursday night, excellent muso’s, plays and performances – all interesting, sometimes eccentric and always freely available. ‘I Love Footscray’ T-shirts and stickers stimulated pride in a suburb that needed it. The DD has been part of the revival of Footscray as a real town, not just a transit hub. Now with the sale of the DD in a couple of weeks time this vital, inclusive space is at risk.
In 1989 I was a foundation member of the Save the Dogs Committee which led the community in the fight against the elimination of the Footscray Football Club by the VFL. We needed $5 million to save the club in under 4 weeks according to Ross Oakley the VFL president. Despite the short time frame and pessimism from some supporters, through our inspirational leader Peter Gordon, we managed to galvanise community, business and and local government support as well as footy fans from other clubs and codes, to raise $1.5 million in under 4 weeks to save the club. Pledges of $200 were the norm and pensioners, families with kids and mortgages, and the whole community turned up at the western oval and signed pledges to save the club. We proved we could do it and 25 years later my family and everyone else’s still has a footy team to barrack for. “If you don’t fight you lose” as one South Melbourne supporter said who had lost his club which became the Sydney Swans.
The community feel the same passion for this building. Help us repeat the success of the Save the Dogs group 25 years ago. Buy the Dog, make a pledge, share it with everyone you know and keep our community building alive for the future of Footscray It is pozible!
Written by Brian Bauldie
You can read more about the Save the Dog’s campaign in the 1989 Footy Almanac