Wagga sport icon Warren Smith has an ambitious idea to show off the city's wealth of memorabilia

ENTHUSIAST: Warren Smith with former Australian opening batsman Michael Slater's first one-day international shirt. Picture: Ken Grimson
ENTHUSIAST: Warren Smith with former Australian opening batsman Michael Slater's first one-day international shirt. Picture: Ken Grimson

ONE of Wagga’s leading sport identities has called on the city to embrace the concept of a building a new downtown sporting hall of fame to show off its riches of memorabilia.

Warren Smith also supports the idea of the centre incorporating interactive experiences that could pit youngsters against Wagga’s many sport legends, or let them simply throw balls about, like kids do.

While respecting the current hall of fame in Wagga City Council’s Botanic Gardens site, Mr Smith said a bigger and better facility in the Bolton Park sports precinct had the potential to be a tourism magnet and create an iconic attraction like Junee’s licorice and chocolate factory and Holbrook’s submarine.

“I know people from around Australia would come,” said Mr Smith, who also recently suggested a statue be erected in a public area to honour champion jockey Scobie Breasley.

“I know it’s a major thing, but we need to get the city back to what it was, the City of Good Sports,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said he had a passion for memorabilia, and knew of others who were prepared to loan rare and unique items, including historic cricket bats signed by Australian, English and West Indian players and football jumpers autographed by rugby league and Australian football legends.

He said he knew of one person who had a St George football jersey signed by Dragons heroes Johnny Raper, Reg Gasnier and Graeme Langlands

“People have approached me wanting to donate this stuff, but there is no place to put it,” Mr Smith said.

“And how much stuff is up in attics or hidden away in garages? I want to see it all displayed.”

Mr Smith said he had the ideas and was prepared to help, but the proposal needed to be taken up by the city council or private enterprise that had business expertise or the ability to attract government grants.

“I have a passion for Wagga, but I can’t do it myself,” Mr Smith said.

“We have to put something in motion.”