A number of members took advantage of attending the Society’s Christmas party at the Magpie Sports Club yesterday. They were joined by Simon Wilson and Jonathan Drennan from AFLNSWACT.
One of the attendees was former umpire, Jim McSweeney who at 84 officiated in his final match this year in a Masters Carnival. There were several other former umpires at the function including Chris Huon and Bill Allen.
A number of other members gave their apologies however they missed a great function where the atmosphere was keen and a number of old football stories were told.
Members will be pleased to know that this year’s journal, Time On, is currently being prepared and will be posted out prior to Christmas. The issue includes many interesting stories of former happenings in the sport over the past 130 or so seasons and is a great read.
Before the Sydney Swans became the focal point of football in Sydney, newspapers gave coverage of the game and the Sydney competition reasonably good exposure, so much so that it enables us to write stories like this.
Initially newspapers would send a representative to each senior game and quite often a photographer. Later, part time reporters from AAP and other news agencies would cover the games which saved papers the cost of sending individual journalists out to various sporting events in Sydney.
Going through some 1948 newspapers we came across this article in the Sydney Truth by a reporter who was obviously very upset at the facilities available for those reporting on our game:
Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954), Sunday 23 May 1948, page 17
“WHY ‘RULERS CANT RULE
Australian Rules teams played good games on four Sydney ovals yesterday. The attendance at each ground was small.
League officials often express surprise that the game does not become more popular in N.S.W. Truth (Newspaper) can tell them why.
No encouragement whatever is given to those who would give the game publicity, and they are many. No facilities are made available to the Press, and often there is not even a form upon which they can write their copy. Phones, supposed to be reserved served for the Press are used by S.P. bookies, punters in search of results, and amorous youths trying to make appointments with girl friends. The result is that a lot of copy misses out. This year the committee is offering £1 to a supporter who happens to buy a programme which bears a certain number. These programmes cost six pence each, and often do not contain the names of more than four players who actually take the field. Under these circumstances, the programmes would be dear at one penny.
The spectators are left in the air; and have no method of ascertaining who is playing and who is not. Boys are employed to keep the score. More often than not the figures shown are wrong, and even if they are right the youthful scorekeepers stand in front of the board and so prevent it being read. The scores are often removed from the board before the final bell has stopped ringing.
If the League wants the game to progress it must, first of all, consider the public. Without support the game is not worth two bob, and, whether they believe it or not, at present the average follower of the game is annoyed and rapidly becoming disgusted. Scores in all games yesterday South Sydney 15-17 (107) beat St, George 13-14 (92); North Shore 16-17 (113) beat University 4-9 (33); Newtown 20-23 (143) beat Balmain 8-9 (57); Eastern Suburbs 12-18 (90) beat Western Suburbs 10-15 (75).”
1948 saw the introduction of three new clubs into the Sydney competition: Balmain, Sydney University and Western Suburbs and they are all still there, with the same name. The only change in these three is Balmain’s colours.
Sadly three from that era have gone and another has combined with another Sydney Club. St George and North Shore are two that remain from that era.
We have located an interesting article published in the Sydney Sun on 16 May 1948 which relates Sydney University’s first win. Although there was a team from the University formed in 1888, it only played about three games and was mostly put together to play a couple of games in Melbourne, particularly against the University of Melbourne.
During the past ten months or so we have written a number of stories on the year 1947 but we found there is more to be said.
In that year the NSW Football League (NSWANFL) played TWELVE representative matches – four of which were played on consecutive days over respective weekends (see green shade). Three of these games were played in Sydney and the other in Broken Hill; all were against different opponents. Of course the respective NSW teams that played on the both days of these same weekends were made up of different players.
Now if you have ever been involved with representative football or even club football, putting a team on the field requires a fair amount of planning, commitment and work. The team which travelled to Tasmania comprised of players from Sydney, Broken Hill, Riverina and Albury.
Now granted 1947 was a year of a national carnival, played in Hobart (shaded in yellow) which made up four of the games, but nevertheless the other matches required players, managers, trainers, jumpers, shorts and socks and the list goes on.
In one of our earlier posts about 1947 we mentioned that the league secretary of the time, Ken Ferguson, made a public appeal for ‘clothing coupons’ in order to purchase player ‘clothing.’ Remember, this was just two years after the finish of WWII and the general public were still operating under the coupon system for food and clothing etc.
When the NSW Carnival team returned from Hobart, as if they didn’t have enough football, the league arranged for this side to play “The Rest” on the following weekend.
‘The Rest’ were made up from players not chosen in the NSW Carnival contingent but were Sydney players selected in the other NSW teams whilst the main team was in Tasmania.
So from a competition of seven Sydney clubs a total of 66 players were involved in representative football during that year. A further six were selected from clubs outside the metropolitan area.
Here are the matches:
East Fremantle FC
You can see by the last score that the better players in the Sydney competition were chosen for the main NSW team.
All NSW games from 1881-1947, together with all their details, players, umpires and scores are listed here.
Ref. NSWAFL 1947 annual report NSWAFFL 1947 Football Records Metropolitan and Broken Hill newspapers of the day
You will be pleased to see that this site is back on line after nearly 10 weeks of problems.
It all started when the site’s Security Certificate expired and was not renewed. If you look at the URL on the top line you will see https:// etc. The ‘S’ (for security) is what was missing.
Initially we had no idea of what happened but gradually pieced together the issue. We were told by a firm in London that because we had no permanent address and no phone number (the land line was only used for the internet at our Croydon Park Offices and it was found cheaper and faster to use a SIM card) we needed a letter from a solicitor or accountant to verify our existence and authenticity. We did all this but nothing happened.
We had changed internet hosts late last year and the mix up was involved with that although the present host said we would have been notified of the expiry and the need to renew. We couldn’t find the communication.
Anyhow today we contacted our present hosting company who, upon payment of $198.00, immediately issued a security certificate for two years.
Our programmer, Ryan Viotiskis, has been working all day to fix the broken links in the site, of which many people have complained over the past few weeks. The only thing now is that the site doesn’t work too well in the web browser, Firefox which Ryan is currently working on.
You can always use a different browser if you are having getting about the site.
If you find a broken link or a link that does not bring up what you want, please let us know and we will fix it.
We still have a lot of catching up to do with new data on the site and will be loaded over the next few days.
We hope everyone of our regular readers are happy with this news, because I know we are.
A newsletter went out to members late last week and in it we announced the Society’s Annual Christmas Party at Magpie Sports, Croydon Park on Tuesday, 11 December commencing at 12 noon. If you are in the vicinity, drop it and see us and join the frivolity.
On Tuesday this week two high level employees from the AFLNSWACT made a visit to the History Society offices at Croydon Park; they were Simon Wilson, Regional Manager, Sydney Harbour and Illawarra and Jonathan Drennan, State Manager, Media & Communications.
Both spoke at length about recent developments and changes with the league and the goals the organisation has within the foreseeable future. The duo also showed a great deal of interest in the operation of the Society and were at pains to demonstrate their appreciation and admiration they and the staff at the league has for the work the History Society have undertaken.
Jonathan told those on the committee who were in attendance that the work the Society undertakes in the recording of history of the game in NSW is more than likely unique in Australia. He also said other major sports were beginning to realise the importance of their history with a number establishing fulltime archival departments within their organisations.
Simon confirmed that a memorandum of understanding between the league and the society will be drawn up so that the relationship and responsibilities are more easily identified and lines of communication firmly established.
Image shows from left: Jonothan Drennan, Society President, Ian Granland and Simon Wilson