What a ripper of a day! I couldn’t be happier because our beloved Collingwood Football Club just clinched the Grand Final victory and I’m still buzzing. To celebrate this monumental win, I’ve whipped up a special treat that’s as iconic as the black and white stripes themselves! But before we go there, I want to explain why I am a Collingwood supporter….


In 1990, my dad Dennis Gowing, aware of the post 80’s recession, the ever-changing economic market, and in remission from bladder cancer diagnosed in 1988, bought the old Grace Darling Hotel – the birthplace of the Collingwood Football Club. And so, on September 24 of that year, at just 24 years old, I became the licensee of this iconic bluestone pub in the heartland of Collingwood.


‘To me, Collingwood will always be the potholes in Gipps St, boot factories and grimy terraces, dancing at the Town Hall, the cable trams, John Wren, Jock McHale and the great players.’
-Lou Richards, former Collingwood footballer


The Grace Darling Hotel, standing tall since its construction in 1854, holds a special place in my heart as the former co-owner of the Collingwood Football Club’s birthplace. This two-storey marvel, built with bluestone and rendered brickwork adorned with sandstone window surrounds, not only boasts historical and architectural significance but also serves as a testament to the rich heritage of Victoria, honouring the Northumberland heroine, Grace Darling herself.

However, its importance goes far beyond its architectural beauty. The Grace Darling Hotel holds a unique historical significance as the very venue where the Collingwood Football Club was conceived during an inaugural committee meeting in 1892. It was within the hallowed walls, in the depths of the cellar of this establishment that a momentous decision was made to form a football club, one that would go on to play a vital role in the newly established Victorian Football League. In those days, the utilisation of a hotel for such pivotal purposes was not uncommon, as these establishments served as vital hubs for social and community gatherings in the early days of Melbourne when other venues and institutions were scarce.

For me, the Collingwood Football Club represents more than just a sports team; it’s a part of my personal history intertwined with this historic hotel. The year 1990 marked a significant turning point when the Collingwood Football Club secured victory in the Grand Final. It was a momentous occasion, one that felt like a blessing and heralded a new era for this iconic landmark. However, it was also a bittersweet time for my family. My father, Dennis Gowing, had been battling cancer for an extended period, and on December 6, 1991, he succumbed to the illness.

Following my father’s passing, my beloved brother, Chris Gowing, and I took on the responsibility of jointly owning and operating the Grace Darling Hotel for the next seven years. During this time, we poured our hearts and souls into preserving the legacy of this historic establishment. Our efforts were rewarded with industry accolades, including the prestigious 3AW’s Pub of the Year award and a coveted Chefs Hat from The Age Good Food Guide.

The Grace Darling Hotel has been a witness to the evolution of not just a football club but also the lives of those who have been fortunate enough to be a part of its story. It’s a place where history, sports, and personal memories intersect, reminding us of the enduring power of community and the significance of our shared past.

Now for the recipes – and these aren’t your ordinary meat pies! These are hearty, homemade beauties that are sure to satisfy your hunger as we revel in the glory of our team’s triumph. We even dusted off an electric pie maker to do the job right, which I highly recommend. And to make them extra special, I’ve included a dollop of my famous Black Betty Bam in the gravy. It’s time to savour the taste of victory with every delicious bite. Go Pies! Grab your apron, put on your Magpies scarf and let’s dive into this recipe that’s bursting with flavour – and a jolly good dose of pride.

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Footy Meat Pies

  • Author: Samantha Gowing


Units Scale

For the filling
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
500g beef mince
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Gravox

For the pastry
2 sheets frozen Pampas shortcrust pastry, thawed
2 sheets frozen Pampas puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, whisked

For the gravy
3 tsp butter
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
A dollop of tomato sauce
1 tsp Black Betty Bam
Salt, to taste


For the gravy

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
  2. Whisk in the cornflour until well combined.
  3. Add the stock and red wine, then simmer to reduce and thicken.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce and Black Betty Bam, and season with salt to taste.

For the filling

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the finely chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and sauté for an additional 3 minutes until the onions and garlic caramelise.
  4. Add the beef mince and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for approximately 10 minutes or until it’s browned and cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle the mince with Gravox and stir to coat.
  6. Pour in 250ml of red wine and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
  7. Add the tomato and Worcestershire sauces, and season with salt and white pepper.
  8. Simmer the mixture, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until it thickens. Remove from heat, cover, and let it cool for 30 minutes.

For the Pies

  1. Preheat your pie maker.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, cut 8 large circles from the shortcrust pastry sheets and 8 circles from the puff pastry sheets.
  3. Press 4 shortcrust pastry circles into the pie holes.
  4. Spoon the mince mixture over the pastry base until it’s level.
  5. Top each pie with a puff pastry sheet and brush with the whisked egg.
  6. Close the pie maker and cook for 10 minutes or until the pastry turns golden brown.


The Grace Darling

Beef & Black Betty Bam Pie



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