– 1904 Continued

The Maroons

There is more interesting data about football in Sydney in 1904.  Space did not allow us to publish it in its entirety in the last issue.


“MELBOURNE DEFEAT ESSENDON IN AN INTERESTING GAME On a Wet Ground at the SCG — 6000 People Present

The Adverse Weather Committee decided at 11 o’clock that the game Melbourne v Essendon must be played. As the rain was then falling in torrents at the SCG, with every prospect of continuing, many  thought the game would be not worth looking at.  At 1 o’clock a change took place, and by 2 the sun was shining and the rain had cleared off.”


So reported the local media with the VFL playing this round 4 clash in Sydney in a further effort to re-establish the game in there.

In local football, North Shore, or the Maroons, as they were known then, were easily the best side in the competition winning the flag over Balmain 5-13 to 2-8 after a season without defeat.  The previous year the club finished runner-up.

In July North Shore played the strong Melbourne School side, Wesley College when they toured Sydney.  Wesley easily won all their games leading up to the Shore match including a game on 12 July  against a team of teachers 29-19  to 6-4 at the SCG.  [1]

Then, there was so much rain though on the scheduled date of the North Shore encounter it was put over until the following Wednesday and on this occasion one of the spectators was the NSW Govenor, Sir Harry Rawson.  North Shore won 9-10 to 6-17 before a good mid week crowd. [2]

A month later on 13 August North Shore took on the strong Albury Imperials side also at the SCG and won 8-6 to 7-10 before a poor crowd estimated at 500 people.   Albury was at that stage, also undefeated in their local competition and strongly fancied their chances. [3}

In first grade, the Alexandria club were absorbed into the nearby Redfern side.

1904 though was a satisfying season for the league.  We have mentioned in a previous article the schools that participated in the regular weekly schools competition.  One of the organisers was Albert Nash, president of the NSWFL.  He told a meeting that 57 Sydney public schools were involved. [4]

The Catholic Primary Schools’ Association also held a competition involving the following schools :— St Patrick’s (Church Hill), St. Mary’s (City), Sacred Heart (Darlinghurst), St. Francis’ (Paddington), St. Charles (Waverley), St. Francis (City), St. Benedict’s (George Street), St. Vincent’s (Redfern), St. James (Forest Lodge), St. Augustine’s (East Balmain), St. Joseph’s (Balmain) and St. Mary’s (North Shore). Bro. Bonaventure, of St. Francis, acted as hon. sec. of the Association. [5]

The Reserve grade was conducted as a separate competition and not by the League.  It was known as the NSW Football Association and involved Hawkesbury Ag College, South Sydney, Darlinghurst, St Leonards, Sydney A and Balmain A teams.

The final was played at Richmond on the Hawkesbury Ag College ground where they defeated the young South Sydney team 6-10 to 1-8 but not without incident:

1907 Premiership Ladder

“Sir, — I read in your issue of last night a letter from Mr. Millard on the final match for the above, between Hawkesbery College and South Sydney, and would like to make a few remarks concerning the game. There was never a match won more on its merits. The College were leading by 31 points when the South Sydney team complained that it was too dark to continue, and started to walk off the field. The umpire agreed in my presence to go on with the game, but the South Sydney sportsmen kept arguing with him till it became too dark. The College timekeeper, when play ceased, made one and a half min. short of full time, and the South Sydney timekeeper then said there were three minutes to go, but since I think he has stretched It a bit. As the Australian rules are trying to get a footing in New South Wales it is a pity some thorough sportsmen cannot, be induced to play the game in place of some of the players who would call themselves such. It Is also a pity that when a team is fairly and badly beaten they cannot take their defeat In the proper spirit. — Yours. &c.,

K. C. HARPER, Hawkesbury College, Rlchmond, Aug. 30, ’04.” [6]

A month earlier the Hawkesbury side had received a “drubbing”at the hands of the the visiting Wesley College when the latter visited their Richmond ground.  The final score Wesley 14-11 to 2-6. [7]

[1]   Australian Star 13 July 1904, page 2
[2]   Australian Star 14 July 1904, page 2
[3]   Sydney Morning Herald 15 August 1904, page 4
[4]  Sydney Sportsman, Wednesday 28 September 1904, page 7
[5]  ibit

[6]   Australian Star, Friday 2 September 1904, page 2
[7]   Australian Star, Friday 8 July 1904, page 2

Stan Day

Following months of searching we are slowly drilling down to the names on a 1932 NSW State photo which the Society inherited some time ago.

The image was taken at the MCG prior to a game against the VFL.

We were able to identify the majority of players by comparing the photo with both club and league images taken around the same time but there were four names with whom we had trouble.

An article in the local Broken Hill newspaper provided some joy in one being identified then after we sent an article and the photograph to the Narrandera Argus we had the son of one of the players in the team, Stan Day, who played for Narrandera at the time able to identify his father.

Stan Day 4A smallSth Melbourne Letter Stan Day 6AEssendon Letter Stan Day - Carlton thumbnailCarlton Letter

Not only that but he sent us some very historical letters Stan received from Essendon, South Melbourne and Carlton clubs asking him to go to Melbourne and try out for their senior sides.

Additionally there is a letter (not included here) from the secretary of the local league providing some info.

The information Stan’s son, Geoff, sent in opens another chapter on how VFL clubs of the day recruited players from areas distant to Melbourne.

Stan never did move to Melbourne but remained in Narrandera until his death, playing with the local side for many years as their star ruckman.

JOHN HARDY – THE DYNAMO

In 1950 a 1.76m, 66kg industrial chemist moved from Melbourne to Sydney through his employment.

He was John Hardy, the 22 year old son of Charlie Hardy, a veteran of 250 VFL games with North Melbourne and Essendon, including two premierships.

Charlie, who was shorter and lighter than his son went on to coach at Essendon then St Kilda.

However our subject, John Hardy, played with Calton but, apparently because of his size, could only managed four games nevertheless his efforts saw him win the seconds B & F for the club in 1949.

The young Hardy earned the nickname, Mighty Mouse, and in 1950, the Cricket Immortal, Keith Miller, who himself had  represented the VFL and later he played with Sydney Naval then incidentally, many years after, took on the role of Chief Commissioner of the NSWAFL, wrote an article about John in the Sydney Sporting Life.

We have attached this very descriptive piece about John, the 1951 Phelan Medal winner playing with North Shore, in two parts.  It is very interesting reading.  Click the magnifying glass over the page after opening each link.

John later coached North Shore and was then elected president where he also reported on ABC TV for the game locally.  In his time he was a well known personality in Sydney football but is most recognized as the driving force in the formation of the North Shore-Warringah Junior Football Association in 1969.

The photo shows John in an older style North Shore jumper.

John Hardy Part I

John Hardy Part II