Recently we found details of a game of football played at Collector in 1936 between a Collector/Goulburn combined team and Metropolitan Aust Football Assn Team, Rosebery (a suburb near Mascot). You can view that report here.
However further research finds a further game played much earlier at Goulburn between the then newly formed Goulburn Imperials and the Sydney Football Club.
“First Football Match in Goulburn On Saturday last the members of the Sydney Football Club and numbers of their supporters journeyed to Goulburn to try conclusions with the newly-formed club at Goulburn named the Imperials.
This was the first match ever played in Goulburn under the Australian rules, the district hitherto being a very big stronghold of Rugby, but after the match played on Saturday a very large number have decided to play the Australian game in the future, and which speaks well for the career of the local club.
The match was played on the Olympic Ground, which was located between the Goulburn Paceway and Garoorigang, in the presence of about 1000 spectators. There was a very big gathering of the fair sex at the match.
Joe Arnold captained the Sydney team, and W. Sandford led the Goulburn. The Sydneys scored 4 goals to 1 in the first quarter. The Goulburn team for the rest of the game played splendidly, especially in the third quarter, when the Sydney players seemed disorganised. However, in the last quarter Sydney played more together, and scored a couple of goals. Goulburn, as a team, played splendidly, considering it was their first game, and they have the makings of a good team. *Crisp (3), Clausen (2), Murrell, Hodgkinson and Poole for the Goulburn and Noonan (3), Potter, Jessop, Shipton, Giles, the Brothers Arnold, Sullivan (2), for Sydney, all played well. The College boys, Sandford, Jessop, Noonan, and Potter tried hard to evert defeat. The final result was: Sydney 8 goals 20 behinds Goulburn, 6 goals 8 behinds. Mr. Murray umpired the match in his usual impartial way. In the evening the Sydney boys were entertained at a splendid banquet at the Oddfellows Hall in Auburn Street,
Mr. Siegel in the chair. After justice had been done to the excellent spread various toasts were gone through with musical honours. Messrs. Alexander, M. Sullivan, Ashton, Dick, Jessop, Sandford and others gave assistance with songs and recitations. The Sydneys returned to town on Monday morning, everyone being thoroughly pleased with his outing in the country.”
Another game or two was played in Goulburn over the next couple of years but interest petered out. A club however, was formally organised at Goulburn in June 1905. *George Crisp, recognized as one of the founders of the game in Sydney was still playing with the Sydney Club in 1892. He probably played with the combined side on that day to help out.
Former Sydney Swans captain and Team of the Century member Dennis Carroll was selected on a half-back flank in the NSW Greatest Team.
He was one of four Carrolls on the NSW Greatest List who played VFL/AFL.
His father Laurie, better known as Dooley, played eleven games at St Kilda from 1948-49.
His uncle Tom, who was nicknamed “Turkey Tom” by the late Lou Richards on account of running a rafter of turkeys on the family farm, won a Coleman medal playing for Carlton in 1961.
His cousin, Wayne, aka “Christmas”, played at South Melbourne/Sydney Swans from 1980-85 playing 56 games and kicking 57 goals. He won the VFL Mark of the Year award in 1984.
The Carrolls originally hail from Ganmain situated between Wagga and Narrandera in the Riverina where members of the family have farmed since “Grandpa” Larry Carroll and his wife and nine kids took up land selection in the district in the early 1900s.
The Carrolls all came together on the one day when they took on the Rest of Ganmain to raise funds for the swimming pool at the village of Ganmain on 6 October 1968.
The senior team consisted of twenty Carrolls plus an emergency. “Dooley” and Tom were selected together in the first ruck. Their brothers Joe, Bill, Tony, Brian (aka Mickey) and Kevin were also in the team.
The coach was the Catholic Bishop of Wagga Francis Carroll, known as “Father Frank”, who at 38 years of age was then the youngest bishop in Australia. He was named on the half-forward flank but only played a cameo role in the game.
In the schoolboys team were Dennis and his brothers Chris, Stephen, Colin and Scott, along with many cousins which included Wayne and Greg!
“It was my first game of football. I was so excited to play. I was seven years of age at the time”, Dennis recalled. “I couldn’t believe I had so many uncles and cousins”.
Like all the Carrolls, Dennis has had various nicknames bestowed upon him, including “Boofy”, “DC” and “Dan”, and at one stage “Washington” but the one that has stuck is DC.
“DC” went to South Melbourne under zoning in 1981 and went on to play 219 games and kick 117 goals for the Bloods. He started as a winger but later developed into a fine defender. Dennis was the Swans captain from 1986-92 when he retired. He later coached the Reserves to a grand final in 1995 only to be beaten by North Melbourne under Rodney Eade.
Dennis played in the original NSW State of Origin team at the Bicentennial carnival in Adelaide in 1988 when he was vice-captain to Terry Daniher. He also played three games for Victoria between 1984-86.
He is now employed as Head of People Development at the Sydney Swans Football Club.
His father, Laurie, an absolute champion, played in seven premierships for Ganmain (1946, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1956 and 1957). He was captain-coach of the victorious 1951 team that had an epic win over Whitton by five points with Keith “Swampy” Gumbleton (father of North Melbourne premiership defender Frank Gumbleton) kicking the winning goal in the dying moments of the game.
“Dooley” was regarded as one of, if not the best, high mark in the South West League” (Wagga Daily Advertiser, 8 November, 1958).
In his last season at Ganmain in 1957 “Dooley” was equal best and fairest with captain-coach Mick Grambeau, the hardman ruckman who had come from North Melbourne in 1956. Eight of the players in that premiership team were Carrolls.
Grambeau was the highest paid player in Australia at the time on a package of £65 per week that included a job, match payments, a house, and a milking cow. All of Ganmain turned out for a street parade on a half-day holiday on his arrival in the town followed by a dance in the local hall. (Sun-News Pictorial, 26 March 1956).
In 1958 “Dooley” went to coach Collingullie in the Central Riverina league for three seasons. Later, he was chairman of selectors at the Lockhart footy club for many years.
He was voted best player for NSW at the 1950 ANFC Carnival in Brisbane.
“Turkey Tom” Carroll first made a strong impression as a forward in Ganmain’s 1956 and 1957 premiership teams. He then booted 103 goals in 1960 to head the league goal-kicking list and won the club best and fairest for the second successive season.
He was eagerly sought by VFL clubs Essendon and Footscray before electing to go to Carlton in 1961. He kicked 5 goals on debut against champion St Kilda and then-Victorian full-back Verdun Howell who was retrospectively awarded a Brownlow medal for the 1959 season.
Tom kicked 54 goals for the season to top the VFL goalkicking list. He also played in Carlton’s grand final team in 1962. He was Carlton’s leading goal-kicker in each of his three seasons at the Blues. But th lure of home was too strong and he returned to Ganmain as captain-coach in 1964.
Upon his return, he led the Maroons to a premiership win over Griffith by two points. His late goal, his 102nd goal for the season, proved to be the winning goal. He was voted best-on-the-ground.
Tom also played in the famous South West league representative team that won the Victorian country championship in the televised final against the Hampden league at Narrandera. The first-ever win by a NSW-based league.
Ganmain repeated the feat the next season with a convincing 38 point victory over Griffith. Tom again topped the league goal-kicking with 90 goals. He coached the club again in 1966 but they were eliminated in the preliminary final by eventual premier Narrandera.
After two more seasons as a player with Ganmain, Tom finished his playing career as captain-coach of neighbouring club, Grong Grong Matong in 1968-69.
Dennis recalls spending most of his school-holidays on the farm with uncle Tom during this period. “He was a big influence on me. He taught me to kick properly, and to kick on my left foot. I remember going to games at Matong in his new royal blue Ford Falcon GTHO”.
Wayne “Christmas” Carroll started playing seniors with Ganmain in 1976 under legendary Riverina coach the late Greg Leech and played a key role in winning the club’s last-ever premiership as a stand-alone club in the South West DFL.
He transferred to Queanbeyan in the ACT in 1977 and played in their premiership. He re-joined brother, “Jock” (Greg), at Mangoplah-Cookardinia United in 1978 then playing in the Farrer league, then went to South in 1980 after playing senior games on permit in 1979.
Upon returning to the Riverina in 1986, “Christmas” took over as captain-coach of Turvey Park in Wagga and led the Bulldogs to four premierships in a row, 1987-1990.
“Christmas” represented NSW in 1979 under Alan Jeans and then again from 1986 to 1990.
The Hawkins clan are an exceptional footballing family from Finley in southern NSW.
Four members of the family were on the selection list for the NSW Greatest Team.
Current Geelong power forward Tom Hawkins, who was named an All-Australian for the second time in 2019, was selected on the interchange bench in the NSW Greatest Team.
His father, Jack, was in serious contention for a back pocket berth but was edged out by dual premiership players Chris Lethbridge (Sydney YMCA/Fitzroy) and Ross Henshaw (North Albury/North Melbourne).
Jack’s brothers, Michael and Robb, who both played in the VFL for Geelong, were also on the list.
Since being drafted under the father-son rule by Geelong in 2006, Tom Hawkins has played 254 games for the Cats. In his football career to date he has won two premierships (2009 & 2011), seven leading goal-kicking awards, a club best and fairest (2012), and booted 550 goals (at the end round 22, 2019).
Hawkins was born and raised in Finley and went to the local high school before moving south to be a boarder at Melbourne Grammar, a school his father also attended. He played his early football for Finley in the Murray League as well as when returning home for school holidays.
“Away from the farm, I loved playing sport – I played football and cricket for Finley. There used to be social tennis on Monday night, and I enjoyed that. My parents encouraged us to be involved in sport”, he told Country Style (1 May 2018).
Tom’s father, “Jumping” Jack Hawkins was a cult-figure at Geelong where he played from 1973 to 1981 accumulating 182 games and kicking twenty goals. He also represented Victoria.
He was renowned for his vertical leaping to take marks on the last line of defence. He was the school high jump champion. Hence his nickname, “Jumping Jack”.
Jack suffered a serious knee injury in 1982 which resulted in his retirement from football in 1983.
He went home to the farm but could only play only one game for the local side due to the debilitating knee injury. He did however play in a premiership team for Finley in 1971 with his brother Michael. They beat Deniliquin in the grand final under journeyman country football coach Wally Mumford.
Jack later became president of the Finley Football Club from 1987-89 and then served on the MFL executive from 1990 including the last nine years as president until he stepped down at the end of last season.
He said he needed more time to relax and time to see both of his sons play football.
“I’ve been trying to balance out Murray league duties and watch Charlie playing for Finley as well as travelling to Geelong to watch Tom”, he told the Southern Riverina Weekly (3 January 2018).
Michael played two senior games on match permits with Geelong in 1973 when Finley had byes. He replaced the injured Ian “Bluey” Hampshire as first ruck.
He continued to play for Finley and was a key member of the 1981-82 premierships under ex Fitzroy player Mark Newton. He was also a regular Murray league representative in NSW State and country championship fixtures. Michael was recently inducted into the Finley Football Club Hall of Fame.
Robb Hawkins also went to Geelong under zoning but after not playing a senior game he went to South Adelaide in the SANFL in 1979 where he carved out a niche career of 115 games, two best and fairest awards, and state selection in 1981.
He returned to Geelong in 1984 but only played three games. He went to Sydney in 1984 but injuries curtailed his career at the highest level.
Robb returned home to the farm and to play for Finley. He led the club to the 1988 premiership. He has had three stints coaching the club as well as coaching juniors and a member of the match committee.
The father of the Hawkins brothers, Wynne, played for near neighbours and arch rivals, Tocumwal. He sought a clearance from Toc. when he moved to a farm near to Finley. It was denied and he never played again. He was aged in his mid-twenties.
One of the most interesting concerns the coach of the NSW Greatest Team and legendary St Kilda & Hawthorn premiership coach Allan Jeans.
Jeans was recruited to St Kilda from Finley in 1955, but he was originally a Tocumwal player. He was enticed to play for Finley in 1952 by a good offer to play and work in a local pub when the 1951 Toc. coach Bert DeAbbel went to coach Finley and run the Albion Hotel. Tocumwal refused the clearance and Jeans stood out of football for a year. He was cleared to Finley the next year.
Finley has been a rich source of players for the VFL/AFL. Other players on the NSW Greatest Team list from Finley are David Murphy (Sydney Swans), Peter Baldwin (Geelong), Damian Sexton (St Kilda), Bert Taylor (Melbourne), Darren Jackson (Geelong), Shane Crawford (Hawthorn) and Mark Whiley (GWS & Carlton).
However, it is the Hawkins that name is the most strongly linked with Finley and they have all contributed significantly to the Finley FC, the Murray League and the game in NSW.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: David Murphy (Sydney), Hamish Bull (Deniliquin), Mick Taylor & Mark O’Bryan (champions and stalwarts of the Finley Football Club) and the Tocumwal Football Club) for information and feedback. Author – Rod Gillett
Committeeman, Ian Wright came across an interesting newspaper article regarding the formation of the Liverpool Club in Sydney in 1949.
Not a lot of descriptions of how and where clubs like this started are publically available so this goes to show the value of providing reports of proceedings to the local media, in particular, newspapers. The digital age cannot provide such history.
The report in the “Biz”, a local rag circulating in the Fairfield area in Sydney not only provides an account of events but also gives us a copy of the advertisement placed in the same newspaper together a preliminary article the week before the meeting.
The report says:
“AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL
CLUB FORMED IN LIVERPOOL
Over 40 enthusiastic followers and players of the Australian Rules Football code attended an inaugural meeting held the home of Mr C. Williamson in Northumberland Street, Liverpool, last Monday night. It was decided to form a club to be called Liverpool Australian Rules Football Club and to affiliate with the head body. The matter of guernseys is creating some difficulty, as manufacturers stated that it will be two years before they could supply a set. However, the club will probably overcome this problem.
A practice match will be held on Bigge Park Sunday next at 10 a.m., and all players interested are invited to have a run. Already fifteen players have notified their intention of playing. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mrs. C. Williamson and her daughters served a very dainty supper.
The first general meeting will be held in the R.S.L. Clubrooms, Liverpool, on April 7, at 7.30 p.m.” Biz (Fairfield, NSW : 1928 – 1972), Thursday 31 March 1949, page 6
And despite several name and club colour changes, the Liverpool Club is still in existence, now 70 years old. It played its early games at Woodward Park, located in Hoxton Park Road, then later at Liverpool Showground and eventually to Rosedale Park (as it then known), Warwick Farm from 1955. They were initially known as The Rangers.
A baker, Cliff Williamson, was the first president of the club while former St George premiership player, Keith Wilcoxen took on the secretary’s role and bank manager, Austin Prigg settled in as treasurer. Leo Sullivan was the captain coach.
We thought you might like to read a comment about football in Sydney in 1925 from a sporting newspaper of the time:
The N.S.W. player is a hero. He plays the game for honour, and in some cases pays a weekly fee to his club for the honour of playing. If he is injured in the course of the game, what does he receive? The same as if his club won the premiership. Even less than that— absolutely nothing. There is no insurance, because the controllers of the game have been too busy looking after the ‘gates’ to give the matter consideration.
One club insured its players last year, why not do the same again this year. That appears to be in order, but it was only through the personal exertion of an energetic club secretary, that a policy was obtained. This season the story was different. Insurance companies said ‘Yes, providing all the teams insure their members.’ Here again the League should give a helping hand – the club secretaries being responsible for the collection of the insurance money each week, fortnight or month, as the case may be.
‘The conduct of the affairs of the N.S.W. Australian Football League has been left to three or four officers, and the time is now ripe to remove the drones and place in their stead, a bunch of live-wire workers, all striving for the one object, first and foremost, the furtherance of the Australian Rules Code in N.S.W.’ [Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 – 1933), Friday 17 July 1925, page 12]
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” 
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.
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. 
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.
Referee Newspaper, 14 June 1888, page 6 Balmain Observer & Western Subs Advertiser, 26 May 1888, p.5  Referee Newspaper, 13 March 1910 page 11
The following was taken from an article written in the Sydney Mail in April, 1888. It briefly describes the Sydney University Australian Football Club which unfortunately, only survived for two seasons.
The University only had a limited number of students at the time but increased significantly after John Henry Challis bequeathed a sum of £200,000 in 1889 and seven new professorships were created.
Be that as it may, the 1888 annual meeting of the University Football Club, playing under Australian rules, was held on Monday night, 16 April 1888 at Miithorp’s Hotel. (Milthorp’s Hotel was on the corner of York and King Streets, Sydney) Mr. F. Challands occupied the chair.
Quoting from the annual report which stated “that the club was only formed on July 7, 1887, late last year, when other clubs were closing the season.
The club could not claim to have done much more than make a start. Three matches were played, but, as the number of members was small, it had to depend in a degree on tho assistance given by the Sydney, East Sydney, Waratah and West Sydney clubs. Members should go into regular practice in order that they might be prepared to accept an invitation from tho Melbourne University this season.”
A further report on the meeting continued: “The balance sheet was of a satisfactory nature. The report and balance-sheet were adopted. Letters were received from his Excellency the Governor and Dr. Brownless according their patronage to the club. Tho following office-bearers were elected : Patron, his Excellency the Governor; president, the Chancellor (Sir William Manning) ; vice-presidents, Dr. Maclaurin and Dr. Brownless ; hon. secretary, Mr. M. M. Ryan; assistant hon. secretary, Mr. H. Davis; hon. treasurer, Mr. F. E. Wood: committee, Messrs. R. Kidston, W.J.W. Richardson, Cock, Waters, and T. Challands ; auditors, Messrs. J. P. Leahy and Fitzsimons; delegate to . the association, Mr. W. J. W. Richardson. ”
Ref. Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 – 1912), Saturday 21 April 1888, page 865
David Green, (pictured) a former St George player who was runner-up in the 1964 Phelan Medal, has written a trilogy on the history of the St George Australian Football Club.
He has spent years researching his subject and interviewed hundreds of former players and officials, not only from St George but other clubs as well as league officials, some dating back to times in WWII.
These three books, each of which are dedicated to a period from the club’s official 1929 beginnings in the senior division, are printed in an A4 format with sensational hard glossy cover and back.
For a real footy fan they are a must for their library. The information they contain is interesting and at times reveals part of history of the game, not only for the club, but also the NSW Football League, unknown before today.
Each are about 50mm thick and contain about 700 pages or so of text and images, 2100 pages in all. Should you purchase a set you will be absorbed with the information they contain.
To obtain your suite, call David on 07 33950784 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, he will advise you of the cost and the best way to go about placing your order.
Now I can tell you that because of the size and content of these books he only had a limited number printed. Most of these are already gone so if you are keen, be early to get your copies. They come recommended.
In a not so organised act in July 1930, league officials called all games off on a particular Saturday with almost no notice to players and fans.
At Trumper Park, the reserve grade (only two games per day then) were ready to take to the field when they were told that the games would not be played. This was the first time in 20 years that such a decision had been made.
Worst still, this was in the days of admission charges at Sydney games, and quite a number of supporters had paid their entry fee which of course they demanded back.
Also at Trumper Park, a North Shore official put on a real turn against the decision asking “if the League considered his club a team of sugar babies!!”
Normally they had a wet weather sub-committee in place for such occasions but because none had been appointed that season, the decision was left to both the league secretary and treasurer.
The secretary, Alex McWhinney (pictured), said the grounds were in a “frightful condition and totally unsuitable for football with sheets of water over both (and the only venues of) Erskineville Oval and Trumper Park.”
What did stump club officials was the fact that following the abandonment of the game, both Sydney and North Shore clubs had their players participate in a scratch match on the ground with the umpires providing their services free of charge.
Of course now the postponement of games due to wet weather is common throughout NSW and Queensland in all sports, not just Australian Football.
In late July 1929, a number of the Eastern Suburbs Football Club players refused to take their place in the team at Erskineville Oval in a match against South Sydney.
The game was originally scheduled for Trumper Park but the South Sydney club thought they could secure a bigger gate if the game was moved to Erskineville.
At that stage, South Sydney was sitting in second place with five wins and three losses, while Eastern Suburbs was in fifth spot with four wins and four losses. East had won their first round encounter against the Rabbits and naturally enough, were reluctant to give their opponents any perceived advantage in the match.
South Sydney put the proposal to change the venue to a meeting of the League on July 22 which voted 9-2 in favour.
On the day, only seven from East’s eighteen took the field, the remainder of the team was made up of reserve grade players, all of whom had backed-up.
Two of East’s stars, Stan Milton (pictured), after whom the Sydney Football Goalkicking Award is named and Fred Davies, who later went on to captain Fitzroy, were among those who stood out.
With a scheduled 3.00pm start, it was not until 15 minutes before that it was certain that East would field a team. Sam Organ, Kean, Sanders, Hyland, Stoppelbein, Nicholas and Lindsay Kelton were the only senior players who made up the first grade team that day.
It turns out that the decision not to play was not without warning. It had been made in the week prior to the match and this decision was conveyed to the League Secretary by the president and secretary of the club. It stated that their team would not take the field against South Sydney unless the game was played at the originally scheduled venue of Trumper Park.
In anticipation of no game the League had made arrangements for patrons to be reimbursed their entry fee.
The decision by the players was not a popular one with the public and League officials besieged with complaints and seeking information as to what action could be taken against the recalcitrant players.
At a subsequent meeting of the League, Eastern Suburbs FC officials said they had arranged a meeting with all their players over the matter. It was pointed out however, that the club had fulfilled its obligation and did field a team in the match.
The League however refused to select any of the subject Eastern Suburbs players to play for NSW against the visiting Perth FC team the following week.
At their club meeting an amicable agreement had been arrived at and a guarantee given that no further trouble would be found from these players.
This result was placed before a League meeting where the offending players were pardoned after they had expressed regret for their action and had promised not to offend in a like manner again.
Whether as a result of this decision or not, Arch Kerr, a former League Secretary, submitted his resignation at that meeting from all positions on the League, accusing those in charge of the league of “apathy and mismanagement”.
It was later ascertained that Kerr’s resignation was due to the parlous financial position the League had found itself in. At the meeting it was revealed that the League was one hundred and sixty pounds ($11,860 in today’s money) in debt with the incumbent secretary informing the league that he had been unable to convene a quorum of the management committee for over a month.