CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
A local bloke who will cross the street to avoid a charismatic swagman, reckons he’d love to jump in the Fred Brophy tent.
That’s just one of his 5th-schooner confessions anyway.
Betoota Grove flight hostie, Toby Miglew (33) says the great Australian past time of trying your luck against some of the best fighters in the bush is something that appeals to him, and if given the opportunity, he would like to partake.
Toby is of course talking about the Queensland icon that is Fred Brophy – a man who is widely recognised as the world’s last boxing tent showmen.
Brophy continues to travel with his troupe across Queensland each year, pulling into towns and setting up a tent, before banging a drum and asking local blokes to step right up and have a go at boxing one of his fighters.
The sport of tent boxing was banned in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia in 1971 by the government, due to health concerns – but the free state of Queensland continues this beloved tradition.
Brophy’s tent makes appearances at the Mount Isa Rodeo, the Birdsville races and countless other towns and suburbs in-between – as he travels the country with his stable of the hardest men in the land.
Very few of the citizens that step up have much luck against Brophy’s fighters – whether they be ringers, miners, tradies, road workers or politicians (Robbie Katter).
However, for some ridiculous reason, a 81 kilogram aviation worker sitting in the front bar of the Lord Kidman Hotel in Betoota reckons he’d give it a good go.
“Yeah I’d love to give Brophy’s tent a whirl” says a notably refreshed Toby.
“I mean, those blokes can’t be that fit? Can they?”
The entire pub goes quiet – with even the teenage glassie stopping to size up the delusional patron.
“Mate” says Toby’s younger brother, Clyde.
“You give skate parks a wide berth. You get spooked by teenagers smoking durries”
“You’re not giving the Brophy tent a whirl”
The publican agrees with Toby’s brother.
“Can we get a tall glass of water and some chips over here??” he says to his barmaid.
“Old mates getting a big courageous”