A Short History of Touch in Townsville
The Townsville Touch Football Association was formed in 1974 and provided a social competition for ex-league players over the age of 25 years, to participate in. This fast-growing sport, which was a popular variant of their sport, was the early beginnings of the sport of Touch Football in Townsville. The Castle Hill Touch Association commenced in 1975 and by popular demand provided a competition for open age players. Both associations operated with a very healthy rivalry existing between the two, which still continues today with some of the 'old guard players' staying true to the two associations' original colours.
As the popularity of the sport in Townsville grew and the numbers increased, the need for part-time paid administration became necessary. At a special general meeting held on December 12, 1988, the two associations amalgamated and became the Townsville-Castle Hill Touch Association Inc. This amalgamation led to the introduction of paid part-time administration that quickly led to paid full-time administration. Something very few centres within the North Queensland region can boast.
In April 2017 the organisation commenced a re-branding project, which resulted in the creation of the "Townsville Touch Football" brand. The brand incorporates the traditional aspects of both previous associations and provides a simplified image for promoting the sport and the organisation across the Townsville district and beyond. The organisation now operates under the trading name of "Townsville Touch Football" (TTF) while remaining incorporated as the Townsville-Castle Hill Touch Association Inc. (TCHTA Inc.).
The Way We Play
The game of touch football in those early days was vastly different to the game we have today. In the early days players could only be male and had to be over 25 years old to play. It was played on a full size football field, no shoes were worn and there were eight (8) players on the field. The game commenced with a kick-off and, similar to in Rugby League, there was a 'marker'.
Over the years and to meet the changing demands of the sport, the game has changed dramatically. The game is now '6-a-side', kicking is no longer allowed and the 'marker' has been removed; all of which has resulted in a faster and more exciting game.
From these humble beginnings, the sport of Touch in Townsville has grown to now include regular competitions that can be enjoyed by all players, both male and female, and from the junior player (boys and girls 6 to 16) through to the veteran player (ladies' and men's over 30, 35 and 40). However, our highest profile competition still remains the club-based Premier Men's and Women's Open competitions, traditionally contested each year during the winter season, from end of February to the middle of August, at Queens Park.
The Home of Touch Football
1993 saw the erection of TCHTA's own lights at Queens Park, which lit the top four fields to competition standard. 1996 saw the building of a clubhouse facility, and in 2006/07 the erection of lights on the lower fields has meant that all eight fields are now lit to competition and championships standard. The vision that Queens Park be the home of Touch Football in Townsville has now become a reality.
The organisation is very fortunate to have the ongoing support of the Townsville City Council, which is a great supporter of all sports in the Townsville area. The financial support from both the Townsville City Council and the QLD Government Department of Sport & Recreation has enabled the development of the facility to what it is today.
Before the amalgamation, both associations had always been very competitive at a regional level and competed at all North Queensland Touch Association championships. This has continued to this day and where possible Townvsille Touch Football always endeavours to field two or more teams in all open divisions at NQTA championships.
Townsville Touch Football teams and officials have continued their dominance at North Queensland Championships. This regularly sees a high percentage of North Queensland players and officials coming from our centre. Many of these players and officials go on to represent at both state, national and international level.