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Trugo mural.JPG
Mural depicting a trugo player striking a wheel, in front of a railway carriage and the Newport skyline reflecting the game's origins.
Highest governing bodyVictorian Trugo Association
First played1936, western suburbs, Melbourne, Australia
Team membersVarious
Mixed genderYes
TypeOutdoor, lawn rink
EquipmentMallet, rubber wheels
Country or regionVictoria, Australia

Trugo, or alternatively TruGo or True-Go, is a sport or game developed in the western suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. The game is said to have been invented in the Newport Workshops by railway workers in the 1920s,[1] and the first clubs were established in 1936.

Played outdoors on a rink similar to that used for lawn bowls (90 feet / 27.4 metres in length for men, 70 feet / 21.3 metres for women), the objective of the game is to score goals by striking a "wheel" (a compressed rubber ring one inch thick and thirteen inches circumference) with a mallet from a rubber mat at one end of the rink and between a pair of short goal posts at the other end. The player's opponent at the other end of the rink ensures that the wheel is safely contained by catching it in a canvas bag attached to a long pole once the wheel has passed the goal line. The players swap roles after four wheels have been struck by the first player. Each player has 24 shots, 12 from each end. The player or team with the most goals at the end of the playing period is declared the winner.

The most common technique for striking the wheel is "tunnel ball style": the player stands facing away from the goals, feet either side of the wheel; the short-handled mallet is then swung backwards between the player's legs to strike the wheel. The less common technique, used in the early years and more common in the women's version of the game, has the player stand to the side of the wheel and strike it with a side-swing, similar to a short golf swing ("side sweeping style").[2]

The sport is played by both men and women. The game is traditionally played by senior citizens, and to a large extent was popularised out of the need for a gentle game that could be played by elderly players; clubs were often formed within local elderly citizens clubs, and early clubs enforced a minimum age of sixty for members.[3]

The game is said to have been invented in the Newport Workshops by railway workers, or at least inspired by activities which took place there, as the requirements for the sport were based on what the railway workers had available: the length of the pitch was the length of a carriage, the goalpost width was the distance between seats, the mallet was the sledge hammer used by workers, and the wheels were an internal component of buffers.[4] The first trugo club was established by former railway worker Thomas Grieves in the suburb of Yarraville in 1936,[3][5] and the first competitive match between clubs was played between Yarraville and Footscray at the Western Oval in June 1937.[2] Early clubs were concentrated around those inner western suburbs, with clubs established in Williamstown and Newport.

At the start of the 2018 season, the principal trugo clubs are Ascot Vale, Brunswick, Brunswick City, Footscray, Port Melbourne, Sandridge, South Melbourne, Eagles and Yarraville. Clubs closed in recent years include those in Prahran, Carlton, Coburg, Queen's Park (Moonee Ponds), Newport, Preston, Reservoir and Williamstown. In 2009 Footscray, the second-oldest trugo club in the state, closed.[5] However, as of early 2016 a group of Footscray residents were working to revive the club,[6] hoping to get Maribyrnong Council's endorsement to resume playing trugo at 139 Buckley St, which is the oldest extant trugo club site.[7][8] In 2018 the Footscray Trugo Club made its return to the rink of competition.[9]

In January 2009 the sport was featured on the American TV travel show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.[5][10]


  1. ^ "3.4.3 Railway Workshops" (PDF). Hobsons Bay Heritage Study - Volume 1b: Thematic Environmental History. Hobsons Bay City Council. October 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-05-24. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  2. ^ a b "Illustrations". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. 11 June 1937. p. 13.
  3. ^ a b "New game for the not-so-young". The Weekly Times. Melbourne, VIC. 18 November 1939. p. 59.
  4. ^ Susan Cram, presented by Justin Murphy (August 1, 2004). "The Game Of Trugo". Rewind (ABC TV). Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  5. ^ a b c Dinah Arndt (April 1, 2009). "Trugo, trugo-ing, trugone: death knell for a sport". The Age. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  6. ^ "Push for a true-go at restoring club". Retrieved 2016-08-23.
  7. ^ Maribyrnong Council (2016). "139 Buckley Street, Seddon (former Trugo Club) report" (PDF).
  8. ^ Maribyrnong Council (2006). "Footscray Trugo Club Pavilion and Grounds: Conservation Analysis" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Trugo: A bizarre sport unique to Melbourne". BBC News. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  10. ^ Matt Preston (February 7, 2009). "Bourdain's quail of a time". The Age. Retrieved 2009-04-04.

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