Roy Cazaly book launched at Petrarch's Bookshop

UP THERE CAZALY: Robert Allen wants people to know more about the life of one of football's greatest treasures. Picture: Stefan Boscia
UP THERE CAZALY: Robert Allen wants people to know more about the life of one of football's greatest treasures. Picture: Stefan Boscia

The high-flying revolutionary of the VFL Roy Cazaly is the topic of author Robert Allen’s latest book Cazaly: The Legend. 

Allen held a Tasmanian launch for his new title at Petrarch’s Bookshop on Friday, and talked a bit about the little-known life of one of football’s most famous names.

“Roy Cazaly was a famous footballer, and he started playing for St Kilda before World War I,” he said. 

“He played the for 10 years with the Saints, then moved over to South Melbourne. 

“It was there when the ‘up there cazaly’ cry became famous in 1921, and it was an expression that went into the general language.”

Cazaly also has a deep connection to Tasmania.

The man sometimes described as the ‘Don Bradman of the VFL’ initially moved away from the mainland after receiving an offer to coach Launceston-based City Football Club in 1928.

He spent most of his post-VFL life in Tasmania, choosing to raise his family here.

However, Allen is also quick to point out that Cazaly’s legacy spanned much further than the football field. 

After retiring, Cazaly also practiced as a physiotherapist at a time when polio was rampant in Tasmania. 

According to Allen, Tasmania had the second highest rate of polio sufferers per-capita in the world in the 1950s.

With no cure or vaccine available at the time, Cazaly and his son Roy Jr helped people manage their polio affliction. 

Allen writes about one girl Cazaly treated in the 1950s in his new book.

“Whenever he picked her up he’d say ‘up there Cazaly’ and the little girl thought he had made it up for her,” he said. 

“He saved that girl’s life, and she’s still alive today 60 years later.”

Allen said the biography has something for everyone. 

“A lot of the book talks about his background, what it was like in those times, sport during the Great Depression, the changes in the game during his lifetime and the changes he influenced in the game as well.

Cazaly: The Legend is available for purchase at Petrarch’s Bookshop.