Haydn Bunton is one of the game’s greats. It was believed there were no records of his voice, but an accidental 85-year-old discovery has provided new insight into a champion. CLOCK
Described as having “the grace of a ballet dancer and the looks of a movie star,” Bunton was one of the game’s greatest players, with the Fitzroy champion being hailed as the first player to win three Brownlow medals.
LISTEN TO THE HISTORICAL AUDIO IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
As he died at the age of 44 from complications in a car accident in 1955 – a year before television arrived in Australia – it was assumed that no recordings of his voice were known.
But a cleanup of previously donated items at AFL House in Docklands last year revealed a box containing old scrapbooks and two single-sided lacquer discs reading “6PR Football Carnival, Haydn Bunton.”
The AFL’s Patrick Keane approached the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia to see if the discs were repairable.
After some extensive restoration work, they contained nearly six minutes of a live interview Bunton conducted on Perth radio station 6PR on Saturday 14 August 1937 – the day he led Victoria to an Australian National Football Carnival victory against Western Australia led to Subiaco.
Now, nearly 85 years from the day of admission, Bunton’s sons – Haydn Jr. (himself an Australian Football Hall of Fame member) and David – have been able to hear their father’s assessment of the game and his vision for the game as a national sport.
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It was the first time they had heard his voice since his untimely death in 1955.
David Bunton, who lives in Southport, and Haydn, who lives in Perth, could hardly believe that their famous father’s audio had been unearthed after so many decades
David said it was a “fantastic” discovery not only for the football public, who know Bunton’s numerous football exploits, including three Sandover medals with Subiaco in the WAFL, but also a family treat.
“It was just wonderful to hear him again because he wasn’t just a footballer to me; he was my father,” said David Bunton.
“That was a completely different style of football than today.”
The NFSA was able to marry Bunton’s audio with some rare footage of him, which they released for the first time Friday morning.
NFSA Senior Curatorial Officer Simon Smith credited the AFL for their involvement in the game’s story through efforts to recover and publish the audio.
“They are among the oldest live radio recordings that we have in our collection of radio stations in Australia,” Smith said.
“I was very curious to see what the family thought of them. I asked her if there were any (voice) recordings of her father and as far as we’re concerned, we had nothing.”
Bunton was the captain of the Victorian team that beat Western Australia by eight points in the 1937 Carnival final in front of 40,000 fans.
In the interview, Bunton told 6PR listeners: “Here we are at the end of the football carnival and what an interesting battle between Western Australia and Victoria today for the honor of the Australian football game.”
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL BUNTON INTERVIEW
“They (Western Australia) fought the game well. I thought about whether we would win the game and come back with The Ashes or not. Still, we did it and I’m proud to have led the Victorian team to victory.”
He was amazed that the crowd was so great that the fence was broken, meaning some fans were sitting around the perimeter.
“How they came up with that number I don’t know,” he said.
“It was quite amusing to see the fences come down and to imagine all the people coming into the arena sitting on the white line. That was something in football that I had never seen before.”
Bunton Sr. played 119 games for Fitzroy in the VFL from 1931–37 and 1942, 72 games for Subiaco in the WAFL from 1938–41 and 17 games for Port Adelaide in 1945.
He was posthumously voted into the VFL-AFL Team of the Century and was one of the inaugural Legends in the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
Originally published as Haydn Bunton’s family overjoyed at the discovery of a long-forgotten 1937 radio interview
https://www.codesports.com.au/afl/haydn-buntons-family-overjoyed-by-discovery-of-longforgotten-1937-radio-interview/news-story/3112bb4949fa018db8579c4239745eca?nk=e545c366cfe4f6af7cc27aaf4a155c50-1660249628 Haydn Bunton Lost Audio: Listen to 1937 Triple Brownlow Medalist Interview