In the 1950s, a wave of Dutch migration reached Wagga Wagga, leaving its mark on the Riverina town’s sporting landscape with the formation of the Clogs (Klompen)

football club. This article draws upon rich archival records to illuminate the Clogs’ story, revealing the unique spirit and challenges they faced.

Founded in 1954 with a playful nod to their heritage, the Clogs became a vibrant expression of Dutch passion for football in Wagga Wagga. However, tensions quickly arose over inclusivity: some passionately advocated for a strictly Dutch identity, while others sought a broader team dynamic. The club secretary’s meticulous minutes capture these internal debates alongside match day drama. His insightful observations reveal the “Clogs spirit,” showcasing their on-field determination and off-field camaraderie. Despite facing internal conflicts and ultimately disbanding in 1955, the Clogs left a lasting mark. Their story provides a tangible connection to Wagga Wagga’s immigrant history and highlights the social power of sport within a community adapting to cultural change.

The amazing and extensive information on this short live football club is stored at the Charles Sturt University Regional Archive in Wagga Wagga.

The Klompen continued as a social club for a few more years but folded in 1958.

Of course the football players didn’t disappear. Several of them, including John Vrolyks, Wens and John de Jong and George Postma went on an founded Arsenal.

Henwood Park

By 1958 several Dutch residents came together from the van Delft, de Jong and the de Klein families and formed a new club: Henwood Park; most of them lived in this neighbourhood. The first President of the Club was Bill De Klein. The inaugural players included former Clog players: Pete Peerson, Ron de Brueys, Ted Hoogland, Henk Sleeve, Jos Mathot and Jon Smit, in most of the games the Dutch players were in the majority. The members of the club build in 1970 build their own playing field and facilities in Henwood Park. Dutch names also appear in the administration of the club: Harry Moreels and Leo Berben.

With the Dutch dominated board, Henwood Park also established the Kooringal Sporting Club in the 1970s. Again dominated by Dutch initiators like Bill van Well, the Mathot brothers, Fred van Delft and Wens de Jong the Riverina Soccer Club (RCS) was established who added several new soccer fields in Wagga Wagga in the 1980s. From an ever growing RCS the Lake Albert club was born.

Erwin Budde 2015

On a personal note from 2014 till 2018 my son Erwin Budde became the president of Football Wagga. He was instrumental in the inclusion of Wagga Wagga in the 2015 Football NSW Men’s State League 2 providing an exiting pathways for the top players in the various football clubs in the city. Furthermore he was successful in getting both men’s and women’s teams, from under 13 up to adults, into the Canberra NPL competition, which Wagga’s men’s team won in 2020, and launching the Academy for under 9-12 year olds.

Paul Budde

See also:

Wens de Jong – football lengend of Wagga Wagga