SNIPPETS OF INTEREST

Resented It
A brief exhibition of fisticuffs following a heated discussion at the New South Wales Australian Rules Umpires’ Association Meeting last night between Mr W Smith and Mr J Jackson.

Umpires present quickly separated the two men and calm was restored.  The skirmish was the outcome of debate on the question of keeping outsiders from the umpires’ dressing room.  Mr Smith, who was the custodian of the door at Erskineville on Saturday was accused by Mr Jackson of allowing people to enter the change room, a charge which he resented.  Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 – 1954), Thursday 17 September 1931, page 9

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Football in Lismore NSW
The first game of Australian football was recorded as being played on Saturday 20 June 1903 between “two local teams”.  No further information is given although in an earlier article a Mr T Mahon was reported to be the organiser.  Sunday Sun 21 June 1903 p.7.

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Careening Cove
In 1903 the North Shore Club played some matches at a ground on Careening Cove.  This is most likely now Milson Park.

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First Game – In 1903
Following the resuscitation of the game in Sydney, the first (practice) game was played on Centennial Park and described as: “A football ­match under Australian rules was played, at Centennial Park on Saturday (7 March) between Paddington and Redfern. There was a fair attendance, and considerable Interest was centred in the ­game.­ At the end of the final quarter the scores were: Paddington 4 goals 9 behinds Redfern 4 goals 7 behinds. Mr. W. Grayson acted as field umpire.”

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Red Goal Umpire Flags
‘It’s a gesture to Russia,’ said a North Shore footballer when goals were signalled with red flags at Trumper Park in the game between North Shore and Eastern Suburbs played on 2 August 1941.
The truth of the matter was, however, that the goal umpires flags had been lost and Rugby League ones, which normally flew from the top of the goal posts were borrowed from the caretaker and used in the match.

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Advertising the Game
On 24 May 1941 the VFL sent a strong representative side to Sydney to play NSW with the proceeds to go to the ‘patriotic fund’ (it was war time).  In an effort to bring the game to the attention of the public, the match was advertised on 20 boardings in and around the city as well as on the screen in 30 suburban picture theatres as well as in the press.  The stage was set for a most exciting match however around midday on the day of the game it poured with rain spoiling the attendance.  As compensation however the league had insured against rain and collected two hundred pounds in compensation.

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Politically Incorrect
Reading from a 1911 newspaper on Sydney football is a par. about East Sydney player, Herb Thomas:
“Herb Thomas’s luck Is dead out. He must have killed a Chow, or kissed a cross-eyed girl or somethlng. In 1909 he wrenched his ankle. In 1910 he strained the tendons of his knee, and split the webbing between his fingers, and when playing at his best he had the misfortune to have his nose broken last Saturday.”
The Sydney Sun 14 July 1911, page 11

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Jack Ashley
Who?  You might ask.  The following was taken from a 1910 copy of the Referee Sporting Newspaper about Jack Ashley, who played for Balmain, East Sydney and Port Adelaide.  He won the Magarey Medal in 1914 and represented both NSW and South Australia.

“Jack Ashley (who has ascended every, rung of the ladder), having played with a junior team In Balmain, and now playing with East Sydney was easily the best player on the ground. His place kicks average a wonderful range, and he drop kicks excellently, while he can use either foot in a telling punt.  His high marking Is characterised by cleverness and rare judgment, and to cap all he has a splendid temperament. That Sydney has produced a coming champion fit to rank among Australia’s best, few can have little doubt after seeing Jack Ashley play. He is credited with a 70 yards goal against North Shore, while against Sydney he steered one through from 60 yards.”
[A true champion – was he in Balmain’s Team of the Century?]

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NSW Try To Alter Rules of the Game
At the Australian Football Council annual meeting of 1924, the NSW delegate, Mr. A J Curran unsuccessfully moved the following motions on behalf of his state:

“That if a player is injured, he may be replaced by another” – lapsed for the want of a seconder

“That players who the umpires considers are guilty of rough play may be ordered from the field” lapsed for the want of a seconder

Isn’t it ironic that these two rules now part and parcel of the game.

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Australian Rules – no more
At the 1926 NSWAFL Annual General Meeting on a motion by J. F. McNeil, it was resolved that the word ‘rules’ previously used In conjunction with the word Australian Football to desígnate the title of the code be removed.

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Victor Trumper
Famous Australian cricketer, Victor Trumper, a playing member of the Sydney Club in the 1890s, represented the Metropolitan Area against a Northern Districts team at the Newcastle Cricket Ground when he was seventeen years of age.  The match was played in heavy rain under greasy conditions and Trumper is credited with kicking one goal in his team’s 2 goals to 1 win over their northern opponents.  When the game was resuscitated in Sydney in 1903, Trumper was co-secretary of the Paddington club.

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Players Numbers
An interesting tit-bit from 1887 “Our Melbourne cousins have arranged that each player taking part in important matches wear a number on his uniform, so that those possessed of programmes may recognise players who distinguish themselves.”

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A New Ground For The Newcastle City Club
In 1887 the Newcastle City Football Club moved to a new ground behind the Castlemaine Brewery which stood on the corner of Hunter and Woods Streets, Newcastle, where the Cambridge Hotel is now located.  It was reported that “the ground is perhaps the largest in the colony devoted to football, being 200 yards long and 150 broad (wide). Besides this it is perfectly level and eminently suited for the game.” [Newcastle Herald & Miner Advocate 20 April 1887 p.8] To add to this, in the club’s 1886 annual report presented only a few weeks before this statement, the secretary provided further details of the ground (which, by the way, no longer exists)  “with regards to the club’s ground, your committee has to report that it has been top dressed and sown with grass seed at a considerable expense. To do this, about 140 tons of loam and sods were carted and spread at cost of £40 (forty pounds and $4,900 in today’s money). By this expenditure it was thought that the ground would be in readiness for the coming season, and it is now a pleasing duty to report that owing to the magnificent ls of the past year, the most sanguine expactations have been more than fully realised.” [Newcastle Herald & Miner Advocate 5 April 1887 p.8]

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Wollongong
A team was reported to have been formed in Wollongong in 1886 and played a game there on May 22.

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To Beer Or Not To Beer
In 1940 the South Sydney Club decided to put on a nine gallon keg for players after training in an attempt to get them to attend.  It didn’t appear to make any difference to the numbers.  The club was coached by former Norwood player, A.J. Smith that year and finished in third place.

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St George Training
Because of the unfinished state of the new Erskineville Oval in 1940 as well as the uncompleted grandstand, the St George club shifted their training to Wolli Park, Tempe.

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Simple Way To Determine The Winner
In 1938 players L Higgs (South Sidney), R Loudon (St George) and Joe Phibbs (Newtownl tied for the honour of being judged the best and fairest player of the reserve grade in the Sydney competition.  After watching the three players in the seml-flnals the selectors awarded the Sanders trophy (medal) to Phibbs who was captain of the Newtown team.  Now how fairer could that be???

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Reggie the Rat
In an early 1969 Broken Hill Football League Budget (Record), we found the following hand written note scribbled on a page:
“I bet Reggie the Rat that Centrals would beat South next time they met.  The bet, 2 cherry ripes to one two bob chocolate – B Murphy.  (then underneath): I, W. B. McDonald accept.”

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Campbelltown & Sydney University Out in the Cold
In April 1959 a general meeting of the NSWAFL resolved 19 votes to 10 not to include Sydney University and Campbelltown in the reserve grade for the coming season.  There was no second division and the Metropolitan Australian National Football Assn had ceased to operate so there was no-where for them to go.  It would be until two years later that Sydney Uni was re-admitted, via the reserve grade and 17 years before an altogether different group moved to introduce Campbelltown into the Second Division in Sydney.

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Sir Joseph Banks Park
In 1903 the Redfern Club in their first year attempted to secure Sir Joseph Banks Park at Botany as their home ground.  It was a long way from the centre of activities but Redfern Park (formerly home of South Sydney Rugby League) was proving far too small for the Australian game.

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South Sydney
In 1911 the Redfern Club amalgamated with the Hansa Cigar Factory Club to become South Sydney and adopted the colours of red and green.

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Police Intervention at Match
in 1938 a NSW Police Inspector called the captains of Newtown and South Sydney Clubs together before their August match at Erskineville Oval.  He warned them and the umpires that if a repetition of the previous week’s violent play between the two occurred again the police would enter the ground and arrest any offender.  He said “if the league official (umpire) did not intend to stop that sort of play, the police would.”

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NO! to the SCG
In 1937 the NSW Football League applied to the NSW Rugby League, the winter lessees of the Sydney Cricket Ground for a date in August to play a match against the Melbourne Football Club.  The (newspaper) Labor Daily reported that the application had been turned down “We consider it better to have the opposition of a hockey fixture, than of the crack Australian Rules Club” said the secretary of the NSW Rugby League, Mr H R Miller, during the application process.

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1962
In 1962 clubs weekly submitted notes which were printed in the Football Record.  Some were interesting, others droned on about the previous week’s game.  All this was in the time when Sydney football received plenty of media coverage in the Sydney press, unlike today.

The University Club (there was only one) notes were, as ever, always cryptic.  In a game against North Shore, their author, ‘Tall Paul’, signed off with NORTHS TO LOSE.  It took a bit of reasoning to realise that this was a parody of the North Shore writer who would always sign off with the words, NORTHS TO WIN.

Again, it took us a while to what we think was the reason ‘Tall Paul’ also used these initials after his name: A.A.K, A.H.C & B.U.H.  Do you know?  All we could come up with was that the league always published the names of their officials in the Record.  Arthur Davey, the then treasurer, was a certified accountant and always had the following published after his name: B.Sc., A.A.S.A, A.C.I.S.  Was this another parody?

The University club, in their own satirical way, were forever fighting against the establishment.  In 1989 they had a jumper number 69½.  Yes, that number was sewn onto the back of the jumper and the number appeared on the teamsheet.  Does their wit still exist?

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Queer Turnout by Norths
In the last home and away game in 1929 four of the North Shore players were accused of turning out for the game in a ‘queer getup’;  They were described as “like dummies in an old clothing shop …. Joseph’s coat had nothing on those displayed on the arena.  The team boasted four players all with different coloured shorts, three players with duplicate numbers and two with incorrect numbers while another was without any distinguishing mark at all”.  They lost their game against the Sydney club.  (sounds more like a university club prank rather than a respected club of the league – ed.)

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Sydney University
In 1931 a team from Sydney University were defeated by a team representing Melbourne University 9-5 to 7-7.  We are unsure of the venue.

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Football in South America
Found the following in a 1932 Sydney Newspaper: “AUSTRALIAN football is not such a local game as some people imagine. It has been regularly played in the Argentine, whither many young Australians have gone; and a Spanish gentleman who was, whilst in Melbourne, an enthusiastic supporter of the Richmond club, introduced it in the land of the Hidalgos. He made overtures once for an Australian team to go to Spain to give exhibition matches. The match between Australians at Oxford and Cambridge has become an annual fixture. The game, however, puzzles the English papers, one of which published the results last year as ‘7 goals 1 1 beehives to 6 goals 1 3 beehives.’

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Umpires’ Association Act
In 1928 “a much desired addition to the proper staging of reserve grade games has been supplied by a generous act on the part of tile Umpires Association to provide boundary umpires free of charge for reserve grade grade.  The welcome annnouncement was made following a decision by the management committee of the league that paid boundary umpires would not be appointed. If the Umpires’ Association lives up to its promise it will have shown a spirit of practical co-operation which will deserve the appreciation of followers of the code.”

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North Shore
In 1926 North Shore changed their colours from those of Fitzroy (maroon & blue) to red and black hoops. (Evening News 13-3-1926)

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A Healthy Crowd
Research has found that the 1925 Sydney preliminary final produced a gate of $5,750.00, in today’s money, which was one of the best attendances at a local game for years. (Arrow 11-9-1925 p.3)

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1926 Player Rego Fees
In 1926 players with the Eastern Suburbs Club each player had to pay five shillings ($19 today) entrance fee (rego), and two shillilngs ($7.50) each week to be allowed ‘to play. If a player was three weeks behind in his payments, he was declared unfincial and his name removed from the training list. (sure!!!)

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Best & Fairest Medal
1926 was the first season the Sydney Best & Fairest Medal (Phelan Medal) was awarded.  It was first named after the donor, a Mr Ellis.  One newspaper reporter commented: “It is an absurd procedure to make it necessary for the umpire to say who played best in any game. He has as much as he can do to look after the game, much less to ascertain who is playing well. It is to be hoped that if any medal is given for this object next season that the donor will revise his conditions.”

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Five foot Two, Eyes of Blue
Stan Milton, after whom the Sydney Goalkicking award is named was only 1.57m in height.  In his career in Sydney football from 1919-1934, playing at full forward, he booted over 1200 goals in club games.

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No Half Time Break
In the 1924 National carnival in Hobart, NSW’s final game was against the VFL.  The weather was so bleak that it was described as ‘arctic’ and  “rain was pelting down with a breeze that “froze the onlookers to the bone”.  In fact it was so cold, that the players opted NOT to take a half time break!

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Football in Wellington NSW
From July 1904:- The Australian game of football has been introduced to Wellington this season, and at Seatown Park every Saturday expositions are given by at least two teams of eighteen players each. At present the players are almost wholly Victorians, but as the game becomes better known it will assuredly gain many playing recruits and enthusiastic followers, for it is scientific, exceedingly fast, and free from the unnecessary roughness that of late years has depreciated Rugby in the opinion of sportsmen.

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Waverley Oval Used in 1904
We thought you might be interested in what happened over 100 years ago and the fact that it is still in step with local Sydney footy today: “The qualifying round for the semi-finals of the Australian Rules Competition left North Shore, Balmain, West Sydney, and Sydney in the competition, and the games to-morrow will be between North Shore and West Sydney, at the Waverley Oval; and Balmain and Sydney at the Sydney Cricket Ground. (No. 2). Everything points to the final being fought out by North Shore and Balmain Clubs. The greatest interest is being shown by adherents of the game in the two matches to-morrow. For the purpose of assisting the Waverley Oval improvement fund, a collection will be made at that ground.”

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1905 Junior Club Colours
In 1905 a junior competition was conducted in Sydney called, The Young Australian Association.   The following schools adopted these colours Kegworth [near Leichhardt] (royal blue, gold band), Petersham (royal blue, dark hose), North Shore (maroon), Maritonians (red and green), Newtown Juniors (red and white), Redfern Juniors (black and gold), St. Vincent’s (blue and white). Eastern Suburbs (purple and gold), Balmain ‘A’ and ‘B’ (red and blue).   The colours of Dulwich Hill [school] and the St. Peter’s Church of England [unknown which one] teams were not stated.

The previous year, Fifty-eight schools took part in the public schools competition this season, with Petersham going through without defeat. They won the gold medals presented by the League, the oak and shield outright, and also a trip to Melbourne where they played the champion school of Victoria, which they won.

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Balmain – Gone
An early 1926 newspaper reported that the Sydney and Balmain clubs would amalgamate. Sydney (later Sydney Naval), the 1925 premiers, and “a dandy sextette in Dudley, Lock, McCance, McColville, Nugent and Miner” , who did splendid work for the ‘Seagulls’ (Balmain) during past seasons, make things look promising for the ‘Redlegs.'(Sydney FC).

As in most amalgamations, one consumes the other.   Any future reference to Balmain was never made.

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The formation of the Eastern Suburbs Football Club
In the district football (Australian Rules) in 1926, two well-known clubs in Paddington and East Sydney have joined forces, and were now known as Eastern Suburbs. The new club’s headquarters are at Hampden Oval, Paddington. Their colours are red, white, and blue.   In 1970 the club changed its name to East Sydney.

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Tch Tch

Found this in a 1925 Sydney Newspaper:
AN UNDESIRABLE PRACTICE. – On Saturday, during the three-quarter interval, in the Paddington v Sydney match, I was astounded to notice that certain players were drinking liquor. It was actually taken on the ground by an attendant. Now this practice should be immediately stopped. It does the game no good, whatever stimulus it may provide the players. The proper place to attain stamina is at training during the week; not at an improvised bar on the ground during the match. I inquired from an official if this was the practice,   and he assured me it was. It’s a menace to the game.

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Jumpers or Waistcoats?

In 1922 a local newspaper made the following observation of our game: Another regrettable feature was the uniforming of Paddington and Sydney. They wore all sorts of jerseys, and some even played in waistcoats! The League will have to resort to drastic measures to preserve the popularity of the game.

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North Sydney Oval

In an audacious move in 1921 the NSW Australian Football League made an offer of five hundred pounds (an unbelievable $37,500 in today’s money) plus 20 % of the gate for the winter lease of North Sydney Oval.   Their offer tipped out the long term Rugby League tenants, North Sydney, who offered one hundred pounds plus 10% of the gate.   Needless to say they weren’t happy and the situation was reverse the next season.   This proved to be a stupid financial decision by the league, unless they had a unknown financial backer for the project (which is probably unlikely).

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Talented Juniors

Noticed in a 1921 Sydney newspaper that Jack Hayes (capt.), Fred Davies, Doug Ayres and George Jenner were all named in the NSW Schoolboys team that played in Victoria in September of that year.   Jack Hayes and Doug Ayres went on to play with Footscray while Freddy Davies played and later captained Fitzroy and George Jenner won a Phelan Medal in Sydney.

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South Africa
Not so much a NSW thing however in August 1904, the Secretary of the NSW Football League, H Chesney Harte, received a telegram from South Africa stating that the Natal Colony defeated Transvaal by 22 points at Durban on 22 August “in magnificent match in the presence of a splendid attendance.”

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Breaking the Ice

In 1907 a Combined Sydney team toured the Riverina playing matches at Hay, Narrandera, Coolamon and Wagga.   They did not have much success but won their game at Narrandera.   However following the match it was that cold that they had to break the ice before they could get a bath, and the ground was described like a cement cricket pitch.

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No Bell

There was no bell at the Moore Park match between Railway and Sydney on 15 May 1920, and the time keeper had to yell out ‘time’. The umpire failed to hear, though some of the players did and knocked off. While these were leaving the ground Shannon, of Sydney kicked a goal, and it went down on the card.

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From the Australian National Football Council Meeting Minutes, 1919

A suggestion by N.S.W. that a substitute be allowed to take the place of a player injured in the first or second quarter of a. match was rejected.   How times change.

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Players Get Jumper Numbers

A newspaper report in 1913 told of South Sydney players getting numbers on their jumpers for the first time.   It also said the club would travel to Wollongong on a June Monday (obviously a public holiday) to play a South Coast eighteen. (We didnt know a South Coast eighteen existed)

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Report in the Barrier Miner Newspaper

We thought you would be interested in this short snippet from the Barrier Miner Newspaper (Broken Hill) on the 1911 Carnival game between NSW & South Australia:

“Dick Head is claimed by Adelaide football enthusiasts to be the best centre man in Australia, but he met his match in Vincent, of New South Wales, on Wednesday. Vincent gave a fine exposition of the manly game”

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Black Arm Bands
The tradition of wearing black arm bands in sympathy of a recently passed colleague or family member of a colleague goes back a long way in Australian football.   In 1904 in a game between Balmain and Sydney, players were noted as wearing crepe (paper) bands in remembrance of a recently departed club official.

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Refreshments

In the mid thirties, the Sydney Club said the use of sherry and squash be discontinued and O.T. (now what could that be?) be substituted and oranges only be available at Three Quarter Time.

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State Team Selections
On 20 August 1910 NSW played Queensland at Erskineville Oval.   The local team was published in the newspaper on the prior Thursday with the following addendum, “Players unable to take part in the match should communicate with the Secretary at the Sports Club, Hunter Street tonight.”

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Boundary Throw In
Did you know when boundary umpires were first introduced, and this depended on the competition you played in, but was generally in the first and second decade of the last century, they punched the ball back into play..

We came across and article which said: “Boundary umpires should throw, and not punch the ball in, because it is accurate and much quicker” The Arrow Newspaper, 30 July, 1910 Page 4.

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Out of 1890
Taken from the Evening News newspaper from 4 July 1890.   You couldn’t say it now, although it does praise the players of their natural ability:

1890-07-04 Evening News part printed

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A chook on the field
In 1890 NSW played two games against Tasmania on the SCG.   In the first it was noted that one of the groundsman’s fowls had wandered onto the field from his adjacent house.   The groundsman was Ned Gregory a former Australian player who had been caretaker at the ground for many years and was credited with conceiving and designing the first ornate scoreboard which served the game of cricket at the SCG for many years.

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Wests & Ashfield Old Boys
1919 was the first year following WWI that the league re-introduced the reserve grade competition.   Both Western Suburbs and Ashfield (school) Old Boys were two of the teams participating in the competition.   Others included Paddington, Taxation Department, Newtown and South Sydney.

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1920 Schools
In 19 schools participated in the PSSSA weekly competitions in Sydney.   The previous season, one year after WWI, the number was 12.   The league appointed six players as school coaches.

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From 1906 football publication regarding schools football
On the Penshurst Cricket Ground, we are informed, that in the absence of goal-posts the umpire has to put up with make shifts.   As sapling are plentiful in the vicinity it would not be a bad idea to cut down a few and put them in position, so as to avoid “unpleasantness”.

In the same year the burning question at the end of the home and away matches was whether the league would “play boundary umpires in the finals?”   Boundary umpires were not a normal part of the game in those days and club officials very much wanted these officials appointed.

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Hedger Kicks a Mile
A man who is responsible for much of the continuity of football in Sydney both in the 1880s and then again with the resurgence of it in Sydney in 1903, Harry Hedger, MBE, held a drop kicking record in NSW, probably in the late 19th century, 79 yards, thats just   over 72 metres.   Not a bad effort.

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Game at Parkes
In April 1911, Newtown and the Sydney YMCA club travelled to Parkes where they played an exhibition match.

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The Price of Footballs
In 1918 the price of a new Sherrin football was fifteen and sixpence, $1.55

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Effects of World War I
Jim Phelan, writing in the Referee Newspaper in April 1918, reported that but for the soldiers from other state who resided in camps near to Sydney who played in the competition, the game would not have been able to operate.   Some of these soldiers were also umpires who not only boosted the umpiring fraternity but enhanced the quality of umpiring in Sydney as well.

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Rep Team Gets Jumpers
In August 1921 a team was selected to play Queensland at Erskineville Oval.   The team was listed in the newspaper with the addendum “guernseys will be provided.”   (One would hope so).

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For Hes a Jolly Good Fellow
In Agust 1944 veteran umpire Bill Hunkin has an unusual distinction.Following an exhibition game between Newtown and RAAF clubs played at Lithgow, the players surrounded the 52 year old Hunkin and sung For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow.   Hunkin said he was taken completely by surprise and it was certainly the first time in his career that he had incurred such a sense of comradeship on the football field.   Newtown won the game 11.10 to 11.8 and Bill Hunkin’s umpiring was quoted as “a superb exhibition with remarkable understanding”.   Maybe his age had something to do with it.eferred to as ‘North Sydney’ won the game 5.6 (36) to 4.7 (31).

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Lost Cigarettes
On Sunday August 11, the ground announcer at Trumper Park informed the crowd, allegedly 12,000 strong, that a packet of cigarettes had been found and the owner should report to the press box for its retrieval.   Over 200 made their way to the league officials seeking the packet of smokes

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North Shore and North Sydney Oval
North Shore FC, then playing in a strip of maroon and blue, played their second game on North Sydney Oval against the Sydney Club on 4 May 1912 before an amazing crowd of 3,000 people – and this was before the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.   North, who, the following season began to be referred to as ‘North Sydney’ won the game 5.6 (36) to 4.7 (31).

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Late Starts
Late start in any sports is a no-no and this was particularly so in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in football in Sydney.   A lot to do with these late starts was the six day working week.   Saturday then was just another working day and   players had to forego lunch, start early of have a sympathetic boss to get away on time.

In 1912 the East Sydney team had to forfeit to Newtown At the Australian Football Ground but because they failed to must enough numbers.   However there was more to it.

The game should have started at 3:00pm and because of the shortage Easts delayed the start by ten minutes (the limit) because they only had 15 men.   There was a further delay when not enough boundary umpires were on hand.   No-one was to know that a tram car on its way to Botany had derailed in Elizabeth Street which delayed traffic for over an hour.     Umpire Les Pitcher bounced the ball in the absence of the East Sydney team who refused to take the field with a diminished lineup, Newtown kicked a goal and they were declared the winners.

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Three Games On One Day
Wow three games on one day.   This was a big move back in 1911 when the practice first began.   Today its the norm but back then there was a bit of a benchmark at Erskineville Oval when the league played an under age game between Newtown IIs and Northern Districts (Ryde) at 11:00am;   Newtown v East Sydney at 1:00pm followed by another first grade game between YMCA and Sydney teams at 3:00pm.   Play was due to finish at 5:00pm.

In those days quarters were shorter so they could afford to start a three-game day at 11:00am.   The main reason for two first grade games at the one venue was MONEY.   The league could charge a gate which in this case attracted the largest crowd for the season.   Other first grade games for that round were played on Moore Park and Alexandria Park where gates could not be charged.

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Goulburn’s First Team?
A club was formed to play under Victorian rules was reported formed in Goulburn in mid July 1889.   The report said that upwards of 20 had signified their intention of playing.

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Magnanimous Gesture
In June 1888 a combined Sydney side played the visiting Melbourne FC team.   Noted in a Sydney newspaper as one of the best for Sydney wa saying was a H C Elliott.   The following week Mr Elliott wrote to the paper saying that “he desires it to be stated that he did not distinguish himself at all against the Melbourne team and for the greater part of the match he did not touch the ball.”   He said that he thought “the reporter mistook him for Sydney player, Billy Butler, and has no desire to get the credit of Mr Butler’s excellent play!!”   Had he known that someone was reading this 125 years later he might have let sleeping dogs lie.   I know I would have.

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First Game on SCG
The first game of football under any code was between the newly formed Australian football clubs, Sydney and East Sydney on 18 June 1881.

The first interstate (then intercolonial) game on the ground was between NSW and Victoria played under the Victorian rules of football on 6 August 1881.

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No Boundary Umpires
Things were tough in 1923 with a complaint after one of the opening rounds about there being no boundary umpires at any first grade games.   The report continued: “It is too much for the central umpire and slows down the game.”   This prompted the payment of boundary umpires and the proposition that goal umpires should also be appointed independently.   Up to around this period these men were club appointments.

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Tramways Competition
For the most of the twentieth century trams were a common scene and mode of public transport in Sydney with depots all over town.   Even the site where the Sydney Opera House is located housed a tram depot, it was known as Fort Macqaurie. (tram depots are places where tram carriages were housed and repaired).

In February 1927 a meeting was held at the Waverley Tram Depot (now a bus depot) where the Tramways Branch of the NSW Australian Football League was formed.

Several officials of the the new association were elected.   They came from the following depots: Fort Macquarie, Waverley, Ultimo, Rozelle, Newtown, Tempe, Rushcutters Bay, North Sydney and Dowling Street.

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Team Named By Design?
In 1878 football in Sydney was virtually known but interest was such that a a team ‘Old Victorians’ was got up to play a team of ‘All Comers’.   The players in the latter waere listed in the Sydney Morning Herald of the day in no particular order but it has been noted that the following players were shown consecutively, ‘Neal (and) Down’.   This leads to speculation whether this listing was contrived or not.

* * * * *

Enlistments in World War I
By May 1916 the clubs participating in the league had these numbers enlist to fight overseas:
East Sydney 61, Newtown 49, Paddington 43, Sydney 25, South Sydney 17 and Balmain 12.   Added to this, with one single exception, all league officials had at least one son fighting at the front and the numbers continued to climb.

In addition, the North Shore Club lost the whole of its compliment, with few exceptions, enlisting in the first few months of the conflict.   This resulted in Norths going into recession for the duration of the war.

It was also reported that 71 players from the Broken Hill Football League had signed on an as at six months before, 45 players from the Riverina had enlisted for the conflict.

In the same year, central umpires received five shillings per (50 cents) game.

* * * * *

The Resurgence of the Game in Sydney
Unknown to many, the game in Sydney was started in 1880 but through bad management and other factors it eventually failed and disintegrated in at the end of the 1894 season

Directly, the need to resurrect Australian Football in Sydney in 1903 became so great that several enthusiasts travelled separately to Melbourne in an effort to seek assistance from the VFL.

As a result, Fitzroy and a reluctant Collingwood Clubs agreed to visit Sydney in May 1903 where they played a competition match at the SCG and this was the catalyst that again kick started the game in the nation’s biggest city.

More importantly these two clubs paid their own way and expenses for the trip, each   estimated at three – four hundred pounds ($6-800), and left the gate receipts of six hundred pounds ($1,200) from the 20,000 strong crowd in a material endeavour to firmly establishment of the code in Sydney.

* * * * *

Which Club Has Not Suffered From This?
Noted in the North Shore Club’s notes in a copy of the 1940 Football Record:
“Special attention should be given to the paying of annual subscriptions, and all players are notified that the Committee require every player to be financial by the end of this month – May 1940 – or else they will find themselves ineligible for selection” (yes, sure).

These days the new online player payments offer a way out of this scenario.

* * * * *

A Letter From the Front
During World War I many, many Sydney players joined the forces to fight the enemy overseas.

In 1915, Arnold Webster, a South Sydney player wrote to the then president of the NSWAFL, E W Butler.

Webster said he had been at the Australians landing at Gallipoli and gave a thrilling account of the exploit.   Writing from Alexandria, where he had been invalided, following injury, he also said he saw the former secretary of the South Sydney Club, Cyril Hughes at the Gallipoli landing.

When he was taking some rest in the hospital at Alexandria he went to a concert in the YMCA tent and found a South Sydney timekeeper, Harry Bennett, running the show!!!

* * * * *

First Game at Manly
Competition leader, Sydney were beaten by second placed, Newtown 8.10 to 7.12 in a close encounter at Manly Oval on the corner of Sydney Road and Belgrave Street, Manly.

It is fair to say that because this game had been fixtured at the start of the season, there was some friction when officials tried to shift it to Erskineville Oval, sensing a big crowd.

However they were pleasantly surprised when five hundred locals gathered for the game with the number growing by a further three hundred by the time the ball was bounced.   Nothing came of the match although it was muted a team would enter the competition in the next season.

* * * * *

North Shore
In 1939 the North Shore Club change their jumper design to their now familiar, black jumper with a red sash.

* * * * *

Mid Week Games in the Domain
In the late 1940s mid week games were played on Sydney’s Domain, behind the NSW State Parliament House of a lunchtime.   Some midday sport is still played there by office workers but since the Cahill Expressway divided the park in about 1956 lunchtime activity has been limited to sports using smaller grounds.

Eastern Suburbs legends, Roy Hayes and his captain-coach, former Carlton FC premiership player, Clinton Wines, organised matches from 1947 “to further popularise the code” and in response to midweek rugby league games also being played on the ground.

A 1947 report says that a crowd of more than 500 witnessed a lunch time game in July of that year.   Others Sydney first grade players, including international cricketer, Keith Miller took part in the activities.

* * * * *

Armless Goal Umpire
In 1939, crowds watching matches at Newcastle No. 2 Sportsground would have witnessed an unusual sight.   A Mr E Saunders was one of goal umpires that year and he carried out his duties with only one arm.   That was OK if a point was scored but in terms of him waving two flags for a goal he had invented an apparatus which held two flags so close together that with a single movement the two flags parted and for all intents it appeared that the flags were being signalled by a person with two limbs.

* * * * *

The War Upsets Interstate Game
The NSW Football League had arranged to play a game against Queensland in Sydney on 30 September 1939, following the season however the Queensland league wrote to inform the locals that “owing to several of their players being called up for military service, and others being unable to obtain leave at this critical time,” they could not send a team.

* * * * *

Umpires
In late April 1920 a group of men who regularly umpired the matches of the league got together to form an Association.   Dave Harrod was elected president, F C Harrison the secretary/treasurer.   Committee included Leo Harry and Les Errington.   Charlie Murray was appointed delegate to the league.   The objects of the Association were to create a link between the umpires and the league.

* * * * *

Norths Forfeit Semi
In 1912 the North Shore Club battled their way through the season to finish on 9 wins and 5 losses, the same result as East Sydney.   According to contemporary doctrine, the Northsiders would have easily qualified for the finals by percentage in this situation.

However, in those days, percentage was used only to separate teams tied on first, second and third place, not fourth.   Why? probably because the administrators   considered teams in that position should be given the opportunity to grade themselves on the field.

North Shore were premiers in 1909 but had slumped badly by 1911 only winning three of their thirteen games which left them second from the bottom.

Then, early in 1912 when a €œwell known Tasmanian player € travelled to Sydney by steamer seeking work.   He arrived in the early hours of the morning where he was accosted by five North Shore players waiting for him at the gangplank where they talked into playing for their club.   This was the start of their team rebuild.

* * * * *

3,000 Attend Game
As the season progressed things were going pretty well for the club especially when their match against the Sydney team drew 3,000 people to North Sydney Oval, No. 2 (which is in St Leonards Park, Miller Street)  –   and remember, there was no harbour bridge.   In fact the team was on fire!   By mid June it was on top of the ladder, victorious in their first two games, losing the next against Paddington, then winning their next four!   They had beaten the eventual premiers, Sydney and were considered serious contenders for the premiership trophy, the Rawson Cup.

* * * * *

District Football
This was the year that the NSW Football League first introduced ‘electoral football’, beginning 1913.   It meant that the names of clubs had to reflect the electorate or district where they were domiciled.   Names that represented ‘nothing or no-where’, like Railway or Training College (clubs of the day), had to go.   This edict however did not affect the North Shore club because their name did intimate the region in which they were located.

This ‘district’ scheme had been adopted by cricket and rugby union in Sydney some years before.

As the season continued North suffered a series of minor injuries, nothing serious but it sidelined several of their players, a situation which could have influenced their form when they lost the next four consecutive games, some against teams that they had defeated earlier in the year.

Coming up to the finals they had a win over the Railways team, then an unexpected postponement of their round 13 match against Newtown due to the death of the mother of now Hall of Fame Member, Ralph Robertson, North Shore’s captain.

In their last home and away match they recorded a six goal win over the sixth place South Sydney team, the game being postponed a week earlier because of the weather.

* * * * *

Protest
Then, towards the end of the season, East Sydney lodged two protests resulting from their 20 July encounter against Paddington.   Firstly they said that in the second quarter, a point was given when it was clearly a goal and in addition to that, the timekeepers wrongly called Time for the finish of game at a stage when the umpire had blown time off.

The first protest was dismissed.   However the league resolved that the second incident was of some consequence requiring the match to be replayed.

East Sydney won the replayed game on 27 July, the same date as the postponed and rescheduled North Shore v Newtown match.   The Newtown players however failed to appear giving the match and the points to North Shore by forfeit.

This meant that both North Shore and East Sydney finished fourth on thirty six competition points, the former recording a higher percentage.   As we have said though, percentage did not apply to teams that tied for fourth place.   They faced a play-off.

* * * * *

Another Protest
HOWEVER, it didn’t all finish there.   Paddington lodged a protest from their replayed game against East Sydney.  They maintained that one of the quarters was short.   The protest was not upheld.

Then, incredibly enough, came a five week break between the home and away games and the finals for representative football to be played.   This included games against East Fremantle, Geelong (which the NSW team won), Riverina and Queensland.   It was not uncommon in those days, but certainly unusual, for disruptions like these to intrude on the competition.

North Shore thought that they would use the break to play games in the Riverina against Wagga, Ganmain and Narrandera, more than likely in an effort to maintain the momentum of their competition form.   There is no evidence though of this tour occurring.

The qualifying game (play off – they had a different finals system then) between North Shore v East Sydney was to take place on 24 August. However in the week prior to the match, North Shore officials informed the League that they would have to forfeit the game because they were unable to put a team on the field.   Their leader, Ralph Robertson, had his arm in a sling as a result of a bicycle accident and five members of the side had decided to take a holiday in Tasmania.

There was a second grade competition which was generally referred to as The Association and administered by a separate committee in that period.   Most first grade clubs had a team in this division but one that didn’t was, North Shore.   A Northern Districts team participated in the Association but this was not related to the latter, it was centred around the Ryde District.

So really the club had no option;   They simply had no backup.

This allowed East Sydney to breeze into the finals but their triumph was short lived after they were easily defeated in the first final, 11.14 to 2.3.

* * * * *

Minor Premiership Decided By A Vote
In 1920 the result of one of the last H & A games in the season was in dispute.   If Newtown had won, they would have won the minor premiership however only one goal umpire agreed with the scoreboard of 8-9 to 8-7.   The other goal umpire had the result as a tie at 8.8 apiece.

Newtown claimed the game but Balmain protested the result.   If the protest had been upheld the game would have had to be replayed and because of the league’s commitment to a number of interstate fixtures after the finals it would throw their plans into confusion.

The matter went to a meeting of the league where the goal umpire who scored a result admitted that he may have made a mistake.   Citing this as a possible error, the league unanimously carried a motion that Newtown be awarded the match – and as a consequence, the minor premiership.

* * * * *

Most Clubs
Kevin Allen, father of former Norths and Easts players, Ian and Kevin (jnr), just about holds the record for the number of Sydney clubs he played for.   Kevin Senior played for North Shore, Eastern Suburbs, Sydney Naval, Balmain, Wests and St George.

The only one who can match this is Ellis Noack who played for Eastern Suburbs, St George, Newtown, Southern Districts, South Sydney and Campbelltown.

Are there any other takers?

* * * * *

Gore Hill Oval
In 1953 negotiations took place for the development of Gore Hill Park into a major playing field.   A committee was formed comprising representatives of the Willoughby Council, NSW Cricket Assn., NSW Rugby Union and the NSWAFL.

Plans were prepared and it was found that to enclose the area and provide a grandstand, with dressing facilities, would cost approximately fifteen thousand pounds.   The Council intimated that any sporting body or bodies willing to advance the finance would be provided with a 12.5 year year lease, with the option of renewal, in return for a nominal rent.

After careful consideration, the Cricket Assn and Rugby Union withdrew from the negotiations on the score of the large amount of finance required.

The league reported that the ground was “ideally situated for transport, near St Leonards Railway Station and has already had several thousand pounds spent on it in connection with drainage and sewerage.”

By early the next year, the league was still pondering the position and with a view to becoming “identified with the ground” and   had made a tender for its use during the 1954 season, in its current state, with the idea of playing a few first grade games thereon and the rest to be utilised by the juniors.   What did happen in 1954?

* * * * *

Long Service on the Gate
Prior to about 1980, the league conducted the gate at each premier league match.   They also paid the gateman and paid local Councils for the hire of the grounds.

In most cases there was no accurate monitoring the number who attended games and the takings at each venue so over the years various gatemen probably got away with hundreds of pounds.

In 1958 the league recognized one of their gatemen: Jack Mann.   He had been working on the gate for 26 consecutive years, sometimes without shelter, as in the case of Picken Oval.   Remarkably, he took over from his father-in-law who had acted in a similar capacity for twenty years be him!!!

* * * * *

Umpire Didn’t Hear the Siren
We often hear of umpires not hearing the siren to end the game and it has happened in finals in Sydney on a number of occasions.   One such time was the
1956 grand final at Trumper Park between Eastern Suburbs and Western Suburbs.

Alf Penno - 1948East’s coach, Alf Penno, pictured, took the opportunity shortly after the match to write down what happened, just in case there were any repercussions.

“When the final siren sounded, Easts were seven points in Front.   Tony Buck, at full back, was in possession of the ball and running out of the goal square [at the eastern end]. The siren could not be heard because of crowd noise, but Tony, seeing the crowd running onto the ground – he was the only player facing the grandstand – assumed the game to be over.   He threw the ball in the air, for joy;   It was swooped on by a Wests player who promptly kicked a goal.   The umpire, who hadn’t heard the siren signalled ‘all clear’.   I grabbed the umpy [Wally Craig – there was only one umpire then] and yelled him into ending the game.   The result, Easts by one point, 10.12 (72) to 9.17 (71)”

* * * * *

No Footy Gear During the War
We probably have no grasp of not having football boots to play in or not being able to pop up to the local store to purchase a pair of some shorts.

But in 1943 when interstate servicemen moved through Sydney at a great rate the availability of footy gear was very poor.   So much so that when a strong contingent from Ingleburn Army Camp defeated the Eastern Suburbs Club, they played in army boots so the league decided to start a fund “entirely devoted to the purchase of sporting equipment for the men of the A.I.F. encamped at the Showground.”

* * * * *

Attire entirely inappropriate!
In 1923 the Sydney (or rather the NSW) League was on a roll.   They had defeated Victoria, yes, the VFL, then knocked off the Melbourne Club in Sydney but on August 11 were brought down to earth with a thud when Carlton cleaned them up 18.16 to 11.6 at the old Erskineville Oval before an estimated crowd of 10,000.

The loss was all part of football but what did peeve the supporters were the jumpers the South Sydney club wore in the early game.   Souths only played in the reserves that year and although leading the ten team competition were condemned for their attire, so much so that one newspaper said “Authorities in the junior league should take steps to remedy such a condition of affairs.   If they are inert of powerless in the matter, then the New South League, who pay for the umpires, should instruct the latter that no player take the field except in his registered costume.”

So, that’s where it all started?   It wouldn’t happen today.

Incidentally, South Sydney defeated second placed Newtown in the game, 5-6 (36) to 4-5 (30).

* * * * *

Jack Armstrong
In 1964, one of the real characters of the Sydney competition, Jack Armstrong, not only umpired the grand final but also at least one interstate match between NSW and Queensland.

Jack started his football with South Sydney in 1945 after moving from Coolamon with his family.   In the fifties he captained and coached the mighty Newtown side, then Liverpool before taking up the whistle.   He represented NSW on several occasions however   did not umpire after 1965.

In his forties Jack coached the South Sydney side in 1967-8 and 71.

* * * * *

No Medals

In 1946 following the austerity during the war, the league has trouble in procuring medals for the competitions’ best & fairest so winners receive “suitably inscribed trophies”.

* * * * *

Goulburn
In 1905 the NSW Football League receives news that a club to play the Australian game had been formed at Goulburn.

An exhibition game of Australian Football was played on 2 August on the RAS showground between Sydney and Wagga teams.This was the first time for many years since the Australian game had been played on the ground.There was a large attendance.Wagga won 11-12 to 9-17.

* * * * *

Grounds
Sydney Sports Ground [located where the AFL(NSWACT) offices and carpark are] and Mascot Park [on the corner of O’Riorodan and Coward Streets Mascot] added as a venues in the 1949 Sydney Competition.

A weeks notice was given that the Sports Ground would not be available for the finals due to top dressing.Semi finals were then transferred to Erskineville Oval and Mascot Park, Preliminary to Henson Park and grand final to the Sydney showground.This all added to the increase in ground costs.

Big crowds attended games at the Sport Ground.Only the Illawarra club failed to play on it.

* * * * *

Wollongong
In 1948, Bob Watkins, a businessman from Wollongong, and a former South Australian, arranges an end of season game on Monday October 3, at the Wollongong Showground.Funds raised to the proposed police boys club in that city.Newtown play Sydney in the main game whilst early events include running races and kicking competitions.

* * * * *

A Big Job For Umpires
In 1919 Moore Park was a venue for games.   The oval was directly opposite the Bat & Ball Hotel on the south eastern corner of Cleveland and South Dowling Streets.   There were complaints that umpires had to do the timekeeping AND goal umpiring.   We can only hope they got paid sufficient to justify the work.

The league accepted a motion in the same year to apply a 10/6 (ten and six or $1.60) affiliation fee per club plus 2/6 (two and six or 25 cents per match for umpires fees.   How times change!

* * * * *

Sydney Umpires   Officiate In Riverina
In 1920 the then Culcairn District Football Assocation requested Sydney umpires to officiate in their competition.   Then, the league were already supplying four umpires each week to the South West District   Football League in the Riverina and considered additional umpires to the region would be a particular drag on Sydney football resources.   Nevertheless, the NSW Football League, acceded to the request.

* * * * *

The Word ‘Rules’ Is Not Part Of The Title
In March 1912 the controlling body for the game in the state, the NSW Football League officially eliminated the word “Rules” from the title of the code.   It said “in future it intends, in describing the game, to use only the word “Australian.”     In keeping with this alteration the new ground [the league’s own ground at Alexandria] has been called “The Australian Football Ground” and the newly formed second grade association has been given the title of “The New South Wales Australian Football Association, Second Grade.”   The governing body, however, has overlooked one matter which gives them the appearance of being inconsistent – the adjective has not yet been added to their own title, which now ought read “The New South Wales Australian Football League,” and addition which would completely distinguish it from the local governing body of the British Association game [Soccer], viz., “The New South Wales Football Association.”

* * * * *

When Cars Were In Short Supply
On August 15, 1931 the VFA team played NSW at the SCG before a crowd of 8,608.   On the same day in Melbourne the VFL hosted a South Australian representative team before a crowd of 36,000 at the MCG.

Sydney officials were a bit light on for transport and put out an appeal in the Football Record for people with cars to make them available to drive the Victorian players around the Sydney beaches.

* * * * *

The Metropolitan National Football Association
This was what we would know as a second division operating independently in Sydney.   In 1940 the competition had A, B & C grades.

‘A’ grade was open age, ‘B’ grade was Under 18 and ‘C’ grade Under 16.   Clubs that participated in that year were St Peters, Alexandria, Rosebery, Railways, Lauriston Park and Teachers College.

They used Erskineville Oval, Moore Park No. 1 & 2 – there were two grounds then on Moore Park, Lauriston Park (Mascot),
Kensington Oval and L’Strange Park, Mascot.

The competition folded in the early 1950s.

* * * * *

North Shore Change Guernsey
In 1937 the North Shore club changed their jumper from maroon to scarlet with a black V.   South Sydney altered theirs from a green jumper with one red horizontal bar to one with a red V and red trim.   It was said they had “decidely workman like set of numbers.”

* * * * *

When Players Shorts Were Short
In 1946, still deep in the grip of austerity from WWII, families and others could only purchase items with Commonwealth Government issued coupons.   This included virtually everything: clothing, food, shoes etc.

That year the league had to purchase shorts for their representative players and the League Secretary, Ken Ferguson, put out a call for more coupons for the NSW team to wear in the All-States carnival.   In May he was 100 coupons short.

* * * * *

Is It In The Rules?
Umpire Bill Quinn sought police protection following an incident at Erskineville Oval in early August 1945.

It was a close game between RAAF (then in the premier league) and Newtown with the former winning 8-10 to 8-9.

The Newtown player refused to take the field because of their perceived bias against them by Quinn.   The RAAF players were in position and after 10 minutes without any appearance of their opposition, Quinn bounced the ball.   RAAF quickly kicked a goal and the Newtown players immediately rushed on to the field and following a parley between all parties the match was restarted.

Still, the Newtown players were not happy.   (Why would you bother? – ed.)

* * * * *

The Rules Change Slowly
In 1946 the rules of the game were changed to introduce another ‘reserve’ players.   The numbers still remained at 18 on the field but each team could include two reserves.   These players could only replace a player and there was no interchange.   Once a player came off, he stayed off.   This remained the case right through until the 1970s when the interchange rule was included in the rules.   The NSW Football League incorporated the change for the start of the 1946 season.

* * * * *

An Early Second Division
In 1927 ‘the Junior League’ in Sydney started an open age competition.

The competition commenced on 4 June with Teachers’ College, South Sydney, Paddington and Newtown all fielding teams.

* * * * *

Three Points for a Poster
In 1924, at a meeting of the Australian Football Council in Hobart, state delegates voted on a motion to alter the scoring in football.   The motion, which proposed five points for a goal, three if the ball hit the goal post and two for a behind, was lost.

* * * * *

Kyogle
Australian football probably wasn’t the flavour of the month around the north coast of NSW in the early days but we have unearthed some information which shows that it was in fact played there in 1907 – once at least:

“A football match was played at Kyogle on 1 June, under Australian Rules.   I think I am quite safe in saying that Kyogle is the most northerly point in New South Wales which the Australian game has reached.

The visitors came from the Ettrick (where? – a little village north of Casino) district, and the play was quite good enough to please the onlookers, who numbered several hundred, and most of whom were men who played rugby football.   The visitors eventually ran out winners by 36 points to 22.   The most prominent performers were H and W Wade, Van Lorwick, Howard and Winter for the winners and J Ogilvery, V Allen, Millard, Groves, Germain, Graham and Forrest for Kyogle.   Other games are to follow in the near future, as every adult in the district is an enthusiastic Australian.”

* * * * *

Frank Dixon
The now deceased former NSW and South Sydney captain and coach, Frank Dixon, held a record which probably will never be beaten.

In 1929 he played for the South Sydney Rugby League club in their reserve grade grand final and immediately after he raced over from the (then) Sydney Sports Ground – a ground, long since gone, approximately where the AFL(NSW/ACT) Offices are located, to Erskineville Oval and played in the Sydney AFL first grade second semi final for South Sydney against Newtown.   They lost and he was not named as one of the best.

* * * * *

Rough Finals
Up until recent years, Sydney has been renowned for some pretty rough finals.   None as much as the first semi in 1914.

We reproduce an article on the game:

“1914 – South Sydney v Paddington
This 1914 semi final was played with ill-feeling from the start but in the third quarter matter got quite beyond the control of the umpire, famous ex-Collingwood rover, Dick Condon.

In the earlier stages, several Paddington players had been penalised for rough play and at half time South Sydney supporters urged their team to ‘even-up’.   One Paddington player, who was flattened several times, finally retaliated and half the South Sydney team set upon him.   Escaping to the pavilion, the player was attacked by spectators, and a full-scale riot then broke out.   Police were called for, and a taxi load arrived to quell the disturbance.   The last quarter was comparatively calm, only one Paddington man being knocked out, some minutes before the finish”

(A taxi load of police!!   Who paid? )

The Sydney Morning Herald said of the game “there was a strong tendency to transgress the rules throughout and during the third quarter play several players became mixed up in fisticuffs.”

* * * * *

Not Uni Players!!
A few years ago we received a letter from a former Sydney University player now residing in Bathurst.

He said in 1963 the club played a game at Erskineville Oval after which they retired to a local hotel where former captain, Peter Malouf “stood on his head and drank a glass of beer while a team-mate held his legs.   A good trick which I had not seen before and I’ve never seen again.   Can today’s footballers do that?”

* * * * *

Don’t Ever Say Footy in Sydney Was Not Open Minded
Here is a copy of an advertisement from the April 25 issue of the 1931 Sydney Football Record for the Plaza Theatre in George Street (long since gone).

It is advertising the latest film from the USA featuring Norma Shearer (who?) in a 79 minute comedy/drama about a dowdy housewife who dotes on her self-centered husband but divorces him when his mistress shows up at their home one day to break up their marriage.

Double click the image to read the ad.

* * * * *

No Rubber
In 1943, in the midst of WWII, rubber was in such short supply that footballs could not be purchased over the counter.   There were no rubber bladders.   In Victoria, the VFL and schools were using up old stocks in an effort to make the balls last longer.

In fact the previous year, Ian MacKay, who was a prisoner of war in Stalag 18A, Germany, sent a letter to the Collingwood FC secretary requesting some gear so the Australians incarcerated there could enjoy some familiar activity.   The club secretary, Frank Wraith managed to scrounge together one football and three guernseys which he forwarded on.   Twelve months later he received a thank you note saying that the gift gave the Aussies great joy.

* * * * *

Umpires’ Strike
During the period that football has been played in Sydney the umpires association has actually taken strike action on a couple of occasions.   In 1933 they struck for more pay.   They demanded one pound five shillings ($2.50) for central umpires – 1st grade, fifteen shillings ($1.50) for reserve grade umpires, ten shillings for boundary umpires ($1) – only first grade had boundary umpires and 12/6 (twelve shillings and sixpence – $1.25) for goal umpires.

Now those amounts may not sound much but this was in the middle of the depression and they are relative to what they receive today.

* * * * *

Pre-Teal Cup
The first occasion an interstate junior match was played in Sydney was in 1909.

The newspaper quotes:
“For the first time in the history of the game the junior talent of Queensland and New South Wales will try conclusiions.   The game will be a curtain raiser to the South Melbourne – New South Wales game.   The following team will represent the Sydney Young Australians:   Marshall, Watson, Kirwan, Allman, Phelan (Paddington), Stevens, Ratcliffe, Cole (Crummoyne), Page, Mack (Sydney), Blackburn, Provan (Newtown), McLaren Kinninmont (Balmain), G Priestley, Mitchell (Y.M.C.A), Reid (Marrickville), Billington (Ryde), Emergencies: Mahoney (Paddington), Trevitt (Ryde), Heap (Sydney).   Umpire: Mr H Hall.

This game should be of much interest, as on the junior talent depends the future hopes of success of New South Wales and Queensland in inter-state games with their more experienced rivals.   The Queensland Young Australians are deserving of every credit for their initial action in this direction.

The Young Australians will welcome their comrades from Queensland at the Grand View Hotel, Oxford Street, tomorrow night.   It is hoped a good muster of local Young Australians will put in an appearance.”

The term ‘Young Australians’ was the name of competition in which they played in Sydney.   Our research indicates that the boys were aged betweeen 15-17.

* * * * *

Illawarra or St George?
In 1906-7 a team playing out of Bexley Oval, calling themselves, Illawarra, competed in the competition’s reserve grade.   In mid August they held a successful function at the Hurstville Hall where fifty couple enjoyed themselves until 5:00am.

The club had a membership of 42 members and were mentored by George Hawk of Hurstville, the club secretary.

Member   clubs of the Reserve Grade (Sydney Football Assn) in 1907 included Illawarra, St Leonards, South Sydney & Sydney

The Illawarra club were travelling so well in 1907 that it was suggested they would apply to compete in first grade come 1908, but didn’t.

* * * * *

Randwick in the League?
In 1915 it was planned for clubs representing Western Suburbs and Randwick to participate in the competition however WWI put paid to that.   John O’Hanlon, a 21 year old clerk who resided at 4 Stephen Street, Randwick, was the organiser of the proposed Randwick side.   He had learned the game in Hay, Western NSW before moving to Sydney.

Randwick had to wait until the late 1940s before another bunch of enthusiasts fielded a side, this time in the Metropolitan Australian Football Association (Second Division) where they had an open age team and at least one junior side.   They folded in the early 1950s then an Under 17 team under the name of Randwick popped up in 1964 to play in the Western Suburbs Junior Competition.

* * * * *

Club Colours in 1907
Here are the colours of the clubs that participated in the first grade (or league) competition in 1907:

SYDNEY
Dark blue jersey, dark blue knickers (shorts), Scarlet hose (socks) & scarlet cap.

EAST SYDNEY
Dark blue and gold hoops jersey, dark blue knickers, dark blue and gold hose.

NORTH SHORE
Maroon jersey, dark blue knickers, maroon hose.

REDFERN
Yellow and black jersey, dark blue knickers, yellow and black hose.

PADDINGTON
Blue and white striped jersey, dark blue knickers, dark blue hose.

NEWTOWN
Red and white jersey, dungaree knickers, red and white hose.

Y.M.C.A.
Red and black jersey, white knickers, red and black hose.

BALMAIN
Navy blue jersey with red sash, dark blue knickers, rad and blue hooped hose.

They certainly loved blue shorts.

* * * * *

Football In South Africa
Before the first world war the game was played to some reasonable extent in South Africa. We have already mentioned a former secretary and in perusing a Sydney Football Publication in 1907 we found the following item:

“A very interesting letter was received at the end of last season (1906) from South Africa regarding the progress of the Australian game there.   Files of local papers giving the result of the final for the Premiership between Pretoria and Durban teams which drew a very large crowd, have also been received.”

It is believed the discovery of gold then the Boer war encouraged Australians to travel to South Africa where they played the game.

* * * * *

Killed Having a Kick to Kick
Newtown, player from 1912-13 & 14, Jim Munro, wrote to his mates from the Western Front in 1918.

 “Sometimes when we are out of the line (away from the fighting and having a rest) we have a game with other units.   Its fairly hard work, placed as we are, but we can’t resist having a game.   We were having kick for kick one day in a paddock just behind the line when Fritz (the Germans) sent a big 9.2 (ordinance) over and blew the man and the ball to pieces.”

* * * * *

Except from NSW Football League Minutes of 13 October 1919

Recommendation to the Australasian Football Council.


The NSW AFL passed the following amendments to change the laws of the game at the December 27 Meeting of the Australian Football Council:-

1. That a substitute, or substitutes, be allowed for a player, or players, injured up to the end of the second quarter of play such substitute, or substitutes, to be nominated as reserve players before the commencement of the game and to be on the ground previous to the starting of the second quarter of play.

                      Proposed by H. Ryall, seconded by E.W.Butler

2. That a cross-bar be placed at a height of ten (10) feet on the goal posts and goals shall be scored only when the ball is kicked between the goal post spaces over the bar.   If the ball be kicked, or passed, through below the bar such to count as a point only.

Proposed by E.W. Butler seconded by D. Bullas.

Suggested amendments for throwing the ball and reducing the number of players were not looked upon with favour by the meeting.

* * * * *

Easts Force To Wear Old Guernseys
In early 1943, the Eastern Suburbs Club, as they were known then, ordered new jumpers however these bright red tops failed to arrive on time with wartime restrictions getting the blame.   The club was then required to wear an old red, white and blue set which hadn’t seen the light of day since 1938. The Daily Telegraph saw the incident as humorous and enhanced their article on the matter with the attached illustration.

* * * * *

Events During WWII
In 1941 owing to the rationing of paper used for newspapers there was a reduced coverage of the game in the press and as well the Football Record could not be published each week.

In early 1942 the North Shore Club advised the league that ‘all of their players’ from the previous season had joined the services and the club could not field a team.   They withdrew from the competition until the end of hostilities.   North Shore’s place was taken by a team made up of RAAF personnel who were stationed in and around Sydney.   The talent was so good in the side that they finished runner up for two consecutive seasons.

Despite the loss of the North Shore Club from the competition, the league still used North Sydney Oval, on occasions.   On July 4 1943 they hosted a game between the Army and RAAF, both teams containing players from the top leagues around Australia. In fact, it was said that the Army team “contained one of the best line-up of players ever to take the field in Sydney. ”

Over 4,000 squeezed into the ground to watch but the game which was given little publicity due to the 33,000 at the Sydney Sports Ground (an enclosed arena about where the AFLNSWACT Offices and carpark are located at Moore Park) who watched a gridiron game between servicemen from the United States Army and Navy.

* * * * *

Club at Parramatta
A meeting was held on Thursday 13 July 1961 at the Parramatta Town Hall to establish a club in the District.   Ron Cameron was elected president, Kevin Little, Secretary and Peter Clarke the tresasurer.   R Reid, R Lambert, K Brogden and K Dawes formed the remainder of the committee.   The club adopted the colours of pale blue and white which was shown on the jumpers in panels.

The team was scheduled to play a combined Newcastle team on Trumper Park on 2 September 1961, the day prior to the Sydney grand final.

* * * * *

Grand Final Broadcast on Radio
For the first and probably only time, highlights of the 1970 Sydney Grand Final at Trumper Park was broadcast on commercial Radio Station 2GB on Sunday October 4.

This was preceded on the previous day by a three quarter hour open line discussion on Australian Football which included interviews with rival captains, the preliminary final umpire and the league secretary, Lionel Beale.

On the day of the match broadcast the station had their ‘commentator’, Ray Warren, at the game to broadcast a resume of the scores each 10 minutes.   He also did this at each of the quarter breaks.   At the end of the game he gave a full round up of scores and goalkickers and best players etc.

* * * * *

Football on the South Coast?
In May 1878 a football club was formed in Wollongong which resolved to play under the Victorian rules.Their officials considered that this might lead to the formation of other clubs on the South Coast and at the same time encouraged some Sydney clubs to reject football under Rugby rules.Nothing further was heard from this team.

Then in June 1887 it was announced that a club had been formed in Kiama where again nothing more was heard of the venture.   This pseudo team though had joined other real teams in the southern and western districts of Albury, Wagga, Binalong, Deniliquin, Hay, Bowral, Junee, Narrandera, Corowra, Wilcannia, Silverton (silver was not discovered at Broken Hill until 1883) and Bourke.

At the same time the game was firing in the Newcastle District with several clubs in Maitland, one at Wallsend, Newcastle City, Lambton, Hamilton, Cook’s Hill, Summer Hill and two at Grafton.

* * * * *

Who Is The Egg?
In researching officials from the various clubs in Sydney, we were able to gain an electronic copy of Sydney University €™s list.   It was far from complete and the recent seasons were more up to date than those of years ago. However the list included an abstract entry when it came to listing the club’s 2000 Best & Fairest winner.   It simply said: ‘The Egg’ (Anyone know his name)?

It could only happen at Sydney University.

* * * * *

Paddington
Mr P B Hodgson was elected secretary of the Paddington Club in 1907.   He had previous experience as the secretary of the Australian Football association in South Africa.

* * * * *

Manly
A club was formed at Manly in April 1907 which made an application to the league to participate in the first grade competition.   The league president, Albert Nash, was in the chair before a large attendance at the Steyne Hotel, Manly on 5 April for the purpose of forming a club to play in the Sydney competition.   A Mr Morris was elected president, F Gilbertson Jnr the secretary and his father F Gilbertson Snr as treasurer.   Their application to participate in the first grade was declined because, it was said, that “the season’s fixtures and grounds had been arranged.”   They were advised to apply again in 1908.   This did not eventuate.

* * * * *

Snowy Davies
Eastern Suburbs player, Freddy (Snowy) Davies, who learned his football at Double Bay Primary School, was selected to represent NSW at the 1927 All-States Carnival in Melbourne.   Several VFL clubs approached most NSW players to sign with them.   All but Fred Davies apparently did and it was reported that he had signed up with North Melbourne.     This turned out to be untrue.

In 1929 however Fred turned out with the Fitzroy Club where he stayed for several seasons.   In 1934 he was appointed club captain before he returned to Sydney where he played with the St George Club where he coached in 1936-37.

* * * * *

North Shore
In 1932 the players paid five shillings (50 cents)   for their registration fees.   As a fund raiser, the club raffled a lottery ticket at one of their games which was won by Bluey Swinborne and a call went out for anyone finding player Ron Treloar’s wallet which contained, money, private papers and his ‘boat ticket’.   This was just before the harbour bridge opened and nearly everyone who lived north of the harbour had a boat ticket.   They also announced that “26 lads (age group unknown) are playing at Anderson Park which was situated midway between Milson’s Point and Neutral Bay, right on the waters edge.”

* * * * *

Olds Park
Noted in an edition of the 1966 Football Record:
“St George Club has offered a little bit of advice for teams playing on their new home ground, Olds Park.

Don’t dilly-dally after the game – go straight to the showers.

A hot water system has been installed in the dressing rooms but only allows a certain amount of hot water before it becomes deathly cold.

Any player who sits around sipping beer and discussing the fortunes of the game before having a shower will receive no sympathy from this column if his shower is cold in future.”

A couple of weeks later someone made a comment in the Record about the ground itself:

“I get very cranky when beaten teams come crying about the state of Olds Park.

They whinge that St George have a tremendous advantage on the new Olds Park Ground.   Some people are too quick to condemn the ground after their team has been beaten and several have even suggested football should not be played there.

We know the ground is still in a very raw state.

But don’t you think the code in Sydney is lucky to have such a ground to play on when grounds are so scarce in this day and age?

And also, it is about time everybody realised that club bickering and petty jealousies are not going to get us anywhere.

For Australian Rules to move in this City we have got to have teamwork, all pull together, instead of people from within trying to pull the code down.”
(St George played Sydney University at home the week previous but they were not prone to complaining)

* * * * *

Picken Oval Opening
This article was taken from the Football Record dated 13 July 1957.   To qualify the comments, Picken Oval, was owned by leading Sydney Trotting trainer, Billy Picken.   He had a training trotting track constructed around the outside of the ground and that was the area’s primary use – before football.

On Sunday, 21st July, Western Suburbs will open their new headquarters at Picken Oval.   They play St George.   At half-time of the main match, trotting races will be conducted and possibly a track event between the Reserve and Senior games.

The Oval is within easy walking distance of Campsie Railway Station and arrangements will be made to direct patrons from the station.

For more detailed information ring Mr John Stewart – UL 1279.   (This Mr Stewart is the father of current History Society Committee Secretary, Greg Stewart)

* * * * *

Eastern Suburbs Club
On the Kings   Birthday Weekend in 1946, the Eastern Suburbs Club travelled by train to Narrandera arriving there at 12 noon on the Saturday.

Following a civic reception at the Town Hall they played a strong South West Districts Representative Team and which they defeated 8.10 to 6.14.   This was the first time since 1907 that a visiting team had defeated their league side.

The following day Easts played the Narrandera Imperials on the Sports Ground winning 9.14 to 5.10.   Leo Weatherall won the best player trophy in the game v the South West League while Doug Edgeworth and Vic McGuinness shared the best player award in the match against the Narrandera side.

* * * * *

New Coach for Bankstown Juniors
In 1957 the Liverpool Club advertised in a local paper for a coach of the Bankstown Junior Club.   An application for the position was received from a Mr J McGlinchey of Dundee Scotland.   He was to arrive in Australia shortly after the his application was forwarded and it was expected that he would be put in touch with officials of the Bankstown Soccer Club!

* * * * *

Umpiring in 1927
Here’s one from Sydney Football in 1927:
“For the first time in the history of the game in this state an innovation is being tried in the matter of the appointment of umpires.   Instead of the old practice, where the umpire was selected by the representatives of the clubs, his appointment is now in the hands of an independent tribunal.   The League has appointed as the first tribunal three men well known in the game in this State, and whose qualifications to carry out the work cannot be questioned.   These men are Messrs. C S Armstrong, the former Newtown player and state selector, C W Pedler, formerly captain of Eastern Suburbs and representative teams and Goldie Thomas, a stalwart of the East Sydney Club.

With the absolute freedom from Club control, umpires should be in a better position to give service to the game.   It is the umpire who makes or mars the game and at no time should be countenance any unseemly sections on the field.   The independent board has previously been in force in Western Australia and Tasmania and has this season been adopted by the Victorian Association.”

* * * * *

Also from 1927
There is a guide in the 1927 Football Records telling patrons how to get to games, now remember, this was in 1927.


WHERE OUR GAME IS PLAYED (in 1927)

Hampden Oval
(now Trumper Park)
King Street tram to Glenmore Road or Fiveways bus from Railway.

Marrickville Oval (then Western Suburbs FC’s home ground)
Addison Road or Canterbury trams from George Street Sydney to the Oval.

North Sydney Oval No. 1
Boat to Milsons Point.   Tram to the ground

Erskineville Oval
Henderson Road.   Erskineville or Alexandria tram.   Train to Erskineville Station.

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