– Birchgrove Oval

The earliest game the Balmain Club participated in was a scratch match with teams chosen by the captain and vice captain on Church-hill, Balmain  The game was witness by a large crowd “who thoroughly enjoyed it” [1]

The first Balmain club was formed on Wednesday 9 May 1888 at a meeting held at Dick’s Hotel in Beattie Street Balmain.  Further meetings were held to appoint a committee and set the rules.[2]

Then on 30 June they played their first match against the “2nd Sydney (club) team” at Moore Park which they won eight goals to nil.  [then behinds were not counted in the team’s total score and goals were worth only one point]

The following year the secretary, Bill Fordham advertised a practice match on St Thomas’Ground, Darling Road West on Saturday 4 May but little more was heard of the club.

A Balmain club became part of the resurrected NSW Football League in 1903 and participated until 1909, they were nicknamed ‘The Seaguls’.  It was during this period that they and the Australian Football League, regularly used Birchgrove Oval for matches however whether by design or not, the game failed to be part of the game’s venues after Balmain fell over in 1910. [3]

It would appear that Australian Football has never been played on that ground in an official capacity since 1909, despite the resurrection of the club.

[1] Referee Newspaper, 14 June 1888, page 6
[2] Balmain Observer & Western Subs Advertiser, 26 May 1888, p.5
[3] Referee Newspaper, 13 March 1910 page 11

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