Backchat with Urunga Football Club Vice-President, Roger McCabe

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Urunga resident and Vice-President of the Urunga Football Club Roger McCabe, is an advocate for “healthy living and community spirit” and certainly ‘walks the walk’.  His tireless involvement in a swag of local sporting clubs and school initiatives saw Roger rightly awarded with a nomination for this year’s local “Citizen of the Year”.  Roger’s family first settled in the Bellingen Valley in 1863 and he now has 4 children all of whom have attended or are currently attending Urunga Public School, a tradition which dates back to the 1880’s, so we guess you could call him a ‘true local’.  This week Roger is presiding over another year of soccer ‘sign-ups’ at the Urunga Football Club, but did manage to take some time out from his frenetic schedule to chat with Rod.


What was it like being nominated for “Citizen of the Year”?
Being nominated for “Citizen of the Year” on Australia Day was a great honour. It is nice to get recognition for the many hours put in but the motivation for volunteering does not stem from a desire to get self acclaim. I have 4 children and I want them to experience growing up in a strong community atmosphere. I am also keen to set a good example to my own children and others in regards to the benefits of healthy living and community spirit.


As the Vice President of the Urunga Football Club- it must be about to heat up for you with the start of a new season.  How do our local kids get involved?
Urunga Football Club is one of the smallest clubs on the North Coast yet we consistently perform well above our weight with our senior teams having a formidable reputation.

Another winter season of football is fast approaching and the committee is busy trying to get teams organised and coaches appointed. Our club welcomes all previous and any new players to come and join us this season for another exciting year of football. Coaching and refereeing courses will be supported by our club for those interested in applying and senior players who coach junior teams will have their fees subsidised.

Registrations are now open and can be done online. Players can register by going to and by following the links. If anyone has any difficulties they can contact our registrar Mandy on 0401199202 and she will be more than happy to help. Remember that this year the government is contributing $100.00 to any child involved in an organised sport through the Active Kids voucher system.


You are also co-ordinator of the Urunga Public School Kitchen Garden Club? What does this involve?
The school kitchen vegetable garden was set up with government funding in 2007 and a paid co-ordinator was employed for the first 18 months. Since then I have volunteered my time and money into the project to keep it running. The garden has proved to be very popular with the students over the years who come voluntarily in their lunch break to help pick, prepare and serve a meal that we cook based on a vegetable or fruit that is in season. I have had some excellent support from parents Ashley Pollard and Melissa Treptow as well as my father and the schools Community Liason Officer Jenny Luxon, however we are always looking for new helpers so please contact the school if you can lend a hand.


Tell me about your involvement with Bellinger Valley Little Athletics?
My children have been members of the Urunga Bellinger Valley Little Athletics Club since 2013. I have been marking out the track and Vice President for the last 3 years. Our season runs from October until April and while the emphasis is on the children achieving their personal best, there is also the opportunity for them to compete at zone, regional, state and national level. At the start of each season we have a 2 week free trial period for anyone interested in joining. Di Knobloch is our fantastic President and she works tirelessly for the club.

Anything else you are involved with or would like to tell us?
I’m Vice President of Bellinger Valley Swim Club which is a great local club that encourages our kids to swim to the best of their ability. We hold our meets on Friday nights from 6-7pm throughout the summer. Being in the club gives the kids the opportunity to swim at multiple carnivals throughout the year plus the opportunity to get extra coaching. Jo Hodgson is amazing and works extremely hard for the club, anyone interested can contact her on ( 0419 442 089).

To round things off, I also sit on the Urunga Recreation Reserve Committee as a delegate representing the Urunga Junior Football Club. This committee resides over the use of the the Urunga fields and their management.


Your best memory of childhood was?
Camping with my family and Urunga at Xmas time when the town filled with people and excitement.


Your best sporting moment was?
Surfing at the river mouth almost every day with mates during the 80’s.


What would you like to be remembered for?
Just being remembered would be a win.


What are you reading right now?
The form guide ( don’t tell my wife). I plan to dust off the classics again when I’m finished with the volunteering.


What are you listening to right now?
Bit of a sucker for Indy folk, James Vincent McMorrow is chiming in right now.


What really annoys you?
People who take our amazing country for granted.
And people who complain about a sporting body but won’t join the committee.


The best lesson your parents taught you?
To be generous. To be able to laugh at yourself and to appreciate the environment.


The last big belly laugh you had was?
Everyday as a nurse with my colleagues.


What project are you currently working on?
Recruiting players to come to Urunga Football Club and filling in the verandah to accommodate my large family- in my spare time.


How do you relax?
Red wine and watching the EPL.  Birdwatching, surfing (esp’ with my son) and gardening.


Favourite restaurant in the Bellingen Shire?
Ocean View Hotel


The previous career you wish you could forget?
Warehouse worker: Packing baskets into cardboard boxes.


In the Movie Rogergate, who would play you?
Roger Gate. The guy who opens the door to kids playing sport.



Bellingen Shire is a secret Australian hamlet along the Waterfall Way on the NSW mid-north coast. This region is popular for its unique landscape where the Great Dividing Range almost touches the sea. It boasts a diverse history and proud indigenous culture, and is home to an eclectic and supportive community of farmers, alternative lifestylers, tree-changers, and families who have called this region home for generations. Interesting in so many ways and with so much to offer, it’s no wonder visitors return time & time again, while other never leave… Check out the Bellingen Accommodation directory and Where to Eat in Bellingen Shire.



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