Biography of Hugh Buggy

Hugh Buggy (9 June 1896 – 18 June 1974) was a journalist who first worked at The Argus in 1917. He left The Argus in 1922 and worked on a number of other newspapers in Melbourne and Sydney before re-joining The Argus in 1950. From 1951 to 1957, when the Argus ceased publication, Buggy was the newspaper's chief football writer. He co-authored (with Harry Bell) the first full-length history of the Carlton Football Club - 'The Carlton Story'.

Buggy had an interesting career. He reported the activities of Melbourne gangster Squizzy Taylor, 'ghost wrote' the story of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith’s famous Trans-Pacific flight, and was the only person to interview Captain Francis De Groot after De Groot interrupted the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Buggy was also one of the newspaper journalists associated with the origin of the cricket term ‘bodyline'. He acted as a censor throughout World War Two. After his death in 1974, Buggy’s book, 'The Real John Wren', a sympathetic account of the famous Collingwood identity, was published.

Buggy reported more than 200 murder investigations and 83 murder trials, and attended nine hangings. At the same time he managed to be a highly respected writer on sport, particularly football. He had a phenomenal memory, and even in his last years he was able to recall all Victorian league grand final scores, as well as the results (with innings totals) of all Australia-England Test cricket matches.1

Buggy was most famous as a sports journalist. In his role as football writer, Buggy wrote regularly on the game. On his promotion to Chief Football Writer, the Argus noted that Buggy had reported on 127 football matches in eight seasons, and had written 150 special articles.2

Hugh Buggy - Let's Look at Football - p3
Hugh Buggy - Let's Look at Football - p3
Hugh Buggy - Argus 26-Mar-1951 p6
Hugh Buggy - Argus 26-Mar-1951 p6
Hugh Buggy - Argus 25-Sep-1953 p19
Hugh Buggy - Argus 25-Sep-1953 p19

Hugh Buggy wrote two separate series of articles on the history of the Victorian Football League - his 1950 series and his 1952 series.

1950 – Football Flashbacks

When Buggy returned to The Argus in 1950, he began a series of articles on football history that appeared each week in The Argus Weekend Magazine. Today, these articles, covering historic VFL games and events, are still engaging and entertaining. Buggy did not attempt to be comprehensive but rather highlighted interesting aspects of football history.

Title Weekday Date Page
How "The Tigers" Got Their Claws Sat 22-Apr-50 p. 4 Supplement
Jack Elder - Dean of Umpires Sat 29-Apr-50 p. 8 Supplement
A Spanner In The 'Magpie' Machine Sat 06-May-50 p. 8 Supplement
A Great Day For The 'Shinboners' Sat 13-May-50 p. 8 Supplement
When Titans Battled In Slush And Hail Sat 20-May-50 p. 8 Supplement
How The Premiership First Went To Geelong Sat 27-May-50 p. 8 Supplement
When A Great Foreign Legion Came To South Sat 03-Jun-50 p. 8 Supplement
The Erratic Graph Of The Saints Sat 10-Jun-50 p. 8 Supplement
Fitzroy's Flag In The Era Of Brawn Sat 17-Jun-50 p. 8 Supplement
A Short Circuit In The South Dynamo! Sat 24-Jun-50 p. 8 Supplement
The Supremacy Of The Magpie Machine Sat 01-Jul-50 p. 28 Supplement
Carlton's Premiership In Munich Week Sat 08-Jul-50 p. 8 Supplement
Facts And Figures On The Premiership Sat 15-Jul-50 p. 12 Supplement
The Day When Tigers Mangled North Sat 22-Jul-50 p. 12 Supplement
Missing Weekend Magazine on Trove Sat 29-Jul-50
Red Letter Day For The Bulldogs Sat 05-Aug-50 p. 14 Supplement
Dons's Mosquito Fleets Rode Waves Of Bumps Sat 12-Aug-50 p. 6 Supplement
The First Comeback By The Demons Sat 19-Aug-50 p. 10 Supplement
Geelong — The Giant Killer At Home Sat 26-Aug-50 p. 14 Supplement
Carlton Score A Double In The Shadow Of War Sat 02-Sep-50 p. 8 Supplement
The Classic Grand Final Of 1937 Sat 09-Sep-50 p. 12 Supplement

1952 – Let’s Look at Football

In 1952 Buggy embarked on a series of forty-nine articles serialising the history of the VFL. The articles appeared daily from the 16th of April until the 24th of May, and then appeared three times per week until the 28th of June. The majority of the articles focused on the story of each year’s premiership team. A number of other articles detailed the history of interstate football.

Together these articles formed a popular and readable history of VFL football.

Title Weekday Date Page
1858 How It All Began Wed 16-Apr-52 p. 9
1877 V.F.A. built the game Thu 17-Apr-52 p. 8
1896 Birth of the League Fri 18-Apr-52 p. 10
1904-14 Those carefree years Sat 19-Apr-52 p. 8
1906-10 First all-star team (Carlton) Mon 21-Apr-52 p. 8
1915-18 First war years Tue 22-Apr-52 p. 9
1919 Tigers get their claws Wed 23-Apr-52 p. 10
1920 Tigers' first flag Thu 24-Apr-52 p. 9
1921 Tigers do it again Fri 25-Apr-52 p. 7
1922 Maroons crash through Sat 26-Apr-52 p. 12
1923 The Dons' mosquito fleet Mon 28-Apr-52 p. 8
1924 Dons' Pyrrhic victory Tue 29-Apr-52 p. 8
1925 Geelong at last! Wed 30-Apr-52 p. 8
1926 Demons' first comeback Thu 01-May-52 p. 9
1927 Magpie machine on top Fri 02-May-52 p. 8
1928 Magpies swoop again Sat 03-May-52 p. 12.
1929 Magpies' hat-trick Mon 05-May-52 p. 9
1930 Magpies smash record Tue 06-May-52 p. 8
1931 Geelong's second flag Wed 07-May-52 p. 8
1932 Tigers strike again Thu 08-May-52 p. 9
1933 South's foreign legion Fri 09-May-52 p. 10
1934 Tigers' Centenary flag Sat 10-May-52 p. 12.
1935 Magpies fight back Mon 12-May-52 p. 9
1936 Magpies' 11th pennant Tue 13-May-52 p. 8
1937 Geelong wins classic Wed 14-May-52 p. 9
1938 Carlton comes back Thu 15-May-52 p. 8
1939 Demons' new machine Fri 16-May-52 p. 8
1940 Demons again masters Sat 17-May-52 p. 12
1941 Demons' hat-trick Mon 19-May-52 p. 7
1942 Dons in front Tue 20-May-52 p. 8
1943 Steam-roller Tigers Wed 21-May-52 p. 9
1944 Maroons, at last Thu 22-May-52 p. 8
1945 Blues' miracle flag Fri 23-May-52 p. 8
1946 Came the Dons Sat 24-May-52 p. 12
1947 Blues 44 seconds win Tue 27-May-52 p. 8
1948 Demons have revenge Thu 29-May-52 p. 9
1949 Essendon's recovery Sat 31-May-52 p. 12
1950 The Dons again Tue 03-Jun-52 p. 8
1951 Geelong's jubilee flag Thu 05-Jun-52 p. 8
General Articles
Greatest forward riddle Sat 07-Jun-52 p. 12
When neither side could win Tue 10-Jun-52 p. 9
That magic score-20 goals Thu 12-Jun-52 p. 9
When defence was on top Sat 14-Jun-52 p. 12
Carnival Football
1908 Birth of carnival football Tue 17-Jun-52 p. 8
1911 S.A. carnival champions Thu 19-Jun-52 p. 11.
1914 Carnival in war's shadow Sat 21-Jun-52 p. 12.
1921-4 Short-lived champions Tue 24-Jun-52 p. 10
1927-30 Victoria's Clean Sweep Thu 26-Jun-52 p. 10
1933-37 Victoria hard pressed Sat 28-Jun-52 p. 10

The Book

Argus 8-Sep-1952 p1
Argus 8-Sep-1952 p1
The Argus combined the articles together, with an improved layout and extra material (such as team photos), and published a magazine entitled ‘Let’s Look at Football’. The book quickly sold out and required reprinting.

Image A complete copy of ‘Let’s Look at Football’ is available online at the State Library of Victoria Website

State Library Copy of Magazine:]


Over the following years (1953-56) the Argus created similar magazines, but unlike ‘Let’s Look at Football’, their content was not serialised in the newspaper before they were published.

Footy and the Clubs that Made it
Footy and the Clubs that Made it
VFL Premiers: Full History of the Finals
VFL Premiers: Full History of the Finals
Football Headlines 1955
Football Headlines 1955
Talking Football With the Stars 1955
Talking Football With the Stars 1955
The Footy Story 1956
The Footy Story 1956

Hugh Buggy is a worthy member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

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2. What goes on? Hugh Buggy to be our chief football writer. (1951, March 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from accessed 02-Oct-2013