Picnic For The Queenslanders

We found an interesting par. at the bottom of a report of a NSW v Queensland game played in June 1886.

What took our fancy was the reference to a rock carving at Middle Head and wonder if it still remains?

A very enjoy able day was spent by the Queensland football team on Sunday. The New South Wales Association ten dered them a picnic and a sail round the harbor. After visiting Lane Cove and viewing its beauties, they proceeded to Middle Harbor, where luncheon was prepared in a recherche manner, the principal chef, Mr. Booth and his assistant, Mr. Neilson, coming in for great praise. After the inner man had been satisfied, McClerkin, of West Sydney, showed his ability as an artist by carving the name of Queensland on a rock, over which the two rival captains, Messrs. Gibson and Goer, broke a bottle of champagne, christening the rock in honor of the visitors. The Queenslanders were then taken to Watson’s Bay to see the Gap, and returned to Circular Quay shortly before 6 o’clock thoroughly well satisfied with their day’s outing.”

Source: Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), Monday 21 June 1886, page 3

West Sydney was a club participating in the then NSW Football Association
T. Booth was a Waratah FC player
R. Neilson was the East Sydney FC secretary

The Many Moves of the League Administration

Over the years the League have moved their administration offices to a number of venues around Sydney.

In 1886 during the period when football was first played in Sydney under the name of the NSW Football Association, rooms were offered at 233 Castlereagh Street Sydney.  This was a tobacconist shop owned by former Carlton footballer, Billy Goer and local Sydney player Billy Butler.  Goer, a former Carlton captain was residing and playing football in Sydney at the time.

NSW Sports Club smallThe place with the longest tenure as a headquarters for football in Sydney was at the now closed NSW Sports Club, on the corner in Hunter Street shown in the image.

A number of sports called this place home.  It is thought the league had an office the building from around the time of the resurrection of the game in 1903 to 1964 when the shifted to a newly constructed single storey brick building (since demolished) at Trumper Park, Paddington. It was also used as the canteen but had plenty of room for storage and upon the appointment of a fulltime secretary, an office for him there.

Apparently this was only a temporary stay for within weeks they moved to rented office at 307 Sussex Street, Sydney and then into their newly acquired building at 64 1965 Regent Street smallRegent Street, Chippendale.  The board held their first meeting there in January 1, 1965. shown here>>>

Despite renovations and additions, in 1980 a new broom in the league moved them to the top floor at the Newtown Rules Club, a licensed facility at 303 Cleveland Street, Redfern and sold off the Chippendale address.  They stayed at Cleveland Street until the club ceased to function in about 1985.  Then they moved on to offices in the back of the Bill O’Reilly Stand at the SCG with entry through the now Fox Studios.  These offices also housed the Sydney Swans FC administration.

Here they remained until the early 1990s when they moved to temporary premises in the then Showground, then into offices at the ANZ Stadium Homebush.

After a couple of years they shifted to newly constructed rooms in the rear of one of the grandstands of the Sydney Football Stadium.  This stay was for about five years before they moved on to the offices they now leased at level 1, Sheridan Building, Moore Park Road, Moore Park.  It is part of the SCG complex.

So, its been a long journey.

South Adelaide Football Club Tour

In 1884, only a few years after the, NSW Football Association (a forerunner to the NSW Aust Football League), South Australian Club, South Adelaide, which were formed in 1876, toured the Eastern States and played a series of matches in Sydney.

They stayed for two weeks and played in five games and team included most of the players who would go on to be premiers in South Australia the following season.

Their first, in Newcastle had to be abandoned because of the state of the ground following tumultuous rain so in an impromptu match on Thursday 26 June at the SCG, they played local club, Waratah.  This was the only club to change its allegiance from rugby to the Victorian game during those very early years of the formation of the game in Sydney.

A crowd described as meagre attended the match where the South Australian club ran over the top of Waratah, 10-8 to 1-1.  In those days behinds, although displayed, were not counted in a teams score, goals counted with a value of one point and as well,  matches were not played in four quarters, but two halves.  South Adelaide kicked 9 goals in the second term.

The following Saturday also on the SCG, they drew their game with NSW 3-15 to 3-9.  The tramway department arranged for additional trams to run at frequent intervals to the ground during the afternoon in an expectation of a large crowd.  Only 1500 turned up to watch the match.

During the afternoon the City Temperance band kindly volunteered their services and “performed some choice selections of music which were greatly appreciated by the occupants of the grand stand.”

On Tuesday before a crowd estimated at only 100, South Adelaide defeated East Sydney by one goal, but because of their inaccurate kicking, they kicked twenty one (uncounted) behinds while East failed to score however were noted as registering three behinds.

Two days later their scheduled game against the Sydney club was postponed, again because of the weather, and on Saturday 5 July at the SCG they easily defeated a defiant NSW team 9-8 to 5-7.

The Sydney Club wanted their share of glory and challenged South Adelaide to a game on the following Monday – the day of their departure from the city!

     Billy Goer

Sydney fared better than East however the captain of the Sydney team, George Crisp, complained that several members of his team failed to follow his direction in the game and the committee of the Association indicated that if it re-occurred they would “name the delinquents.”

A strange comment coming from Crisp who along with Billy Goer, former Carlton Vice Captain, did not play.  The fact that the game had to be played early because of the scheduled departure of the South Australian team by rail in the afternoon could well have accounted for their late non-appearance.

Following the game, some members of the Sydney club drove the opposition team to the (then) Redfern rail head (Central Station was not opened until 1906 ) by a four horse drawn bus where, after “after the usual shaking of hands, three lusty cheers were given as the train moved away.”