The precise origins of Buln Buln Football Club are unclear, but there is evidence of football being played in the locality at least as early as 1880, just three years after the establishment of the Victorian Football Association. According to the club’s website, the earliest known references to Buln Buln engaging in competitive fixtures date back to the first decade of the twentieth century when the club was a member of the Warragul District Junior competition. Details of this competition are sketchy, however, and it is not really until after the Great War that the Lyrebirds picture starts to be fleshed out.
During the 1920s Buln Buln began competing in the Neerim District Football Association, where it would remain until the end of the 1948 season. On two occasions, in 1923 and 1925, it was successful in claiming premierships.
The 1949 season saw Buln Buln transferring to the Ellinbank and District Football League, commencing an unbroken involvement that has continued to the present day. At first, the club found life in the new competition difficult, and it was not until 1955 that it first managed to qualify for the finals. Once this initial breakthrough had been made, however, progress was swift: in 1956 the Lyrebirds made their first grand final, downing Noojee Neerim Junction by the narrowest of margins, and thereafter premierships would be added at a steady rate, including three in a row between 1979 and 1981. (Only once before in the history of the EllDFL had a club won more than two senior premierships in succession.)
Buln Buln’s 2002 senior flag success was arguably its most memorable. Not only did the side’s 11.14 (80) to 7.4 (46) grand final defeat of Lang Lang secure back to back premiership triumphs, itself an extremely noteworthy achievement in the context of a competition that was more competitive than ever, it also came as the climax of a truly remarkable unbeaten season. Not that the seniors of 2002 were the first team in Buln Buln’s history to earn the title of champions; that feat had already been achieved on no fewer than five previous occasions, by the reserves in 1998, the thirds in 1976 and 2001, and the fourths in 1995 and 1999.
Clubs like Buln Buln are the true lifeblood of football. In recent seasons, the Lyrebirds have steadfastly managed, week in week out, to fulfil their fixtures in five different grades of football (twelve if you include the netballers) - no mean achievement for a town that “only has a population of about 200, and that includes the dogs, cats and chooks”.
Buln Buln's most recent senior grade premiership was attained in 2014 in the EllDFL's Eastern Division. The Lyrebirds accounted for Longwarry in the grand final by 26 points, 14.9 (93) to 9.13 (67).
The last five seasons have brought fifth (2015), eighth (2016), fourth (2017), seventh (2018) and sixth (2019) place finishes.
- For the 2014 season only the EllDFL split into two geographical divisions, east and west, with separate ladders, finals series and premiers.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications