Daley, Paul: Collingwood

Paul Daley

Collingwood: A Love Story, MUP, Carlton, Vic., 2011

Intertwines strands of family history, war and sport in the story of Collingwood footballers, Malcolm ‘Doc’ Seddon, Percy Rowe, also known as Paddy Rowan (killed in France, 1916) and Louisa (Louie) Newby, who married both of them. The complex figure of John Wren makes a number of appearances as dodgy entrepreneur, war urger and philanthropist but the industrial suburb of Collingwood is a character in its own right, both during the war and on either side of it.

The newsletter of Rowe’s 29th battalion described one aspect of war in the trenches: ‘Quite a few men had toes and even feet amputated due to the dreaded “trench foot”. Initially the men had been issued with whale oil with which to massage their feet, but this soon proved to be an inadequate treatment. The only preventative measure that satisfactorily reduced the incidence of “trench foot” was the issue of gumboots to the troops.’ (p. 158)

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