Monkeys at the Football

In 1930 at a time when NSW had their team participating at a national carnival in Adelaide, Western Australian Club, Subiaco embarked on an eastern states tour.

They travelled to Melbourne where they were beaten by a Victorian eighteen 15-16 to 8-11 before 10,600 fans who braved the cold August Melbourne weather where the game was played amid mud and rain.

Then onto Sydney where they played what was described as a charity match against a Metropolitan eighteen at Erskineville Oval.  The proceeds from the game was split between the Actors’ Federation Distress Fund and the NSW Football League.

The match was held on a Wednesday so the crowd was described as ‘fair’.

Subiaco won the game fairly easily, 15-10 (100) to 6-6 (42) but the most interesting part of the day was the half time entertainment.

Because money was being raised for people in the entertainment industry who had fallen on hard times, many in the crowd were in fact from the acting and theatre profession.

Leo Cracknell who was a greyhound trainer, turned vaudeville act had his performing dogs do tricks and stunts on the ground to please the crowd.  The most interesting part of this was that his greyhound dogs were mounted by monkeys who were acting as jockeys in races and other activities in what turned out to be a most interesting day.

We have been able to get hold of an image of the dogs complete with monkey jockeys.

But it doesn’t stop there.  On their way back to Melbourne, the Subiaco team played a Wagga Combination at Bolton Park.  Everything was going well until a storm encircled the town and lightning struck a pine tree near the densest part of the crowd causing it to burst into flames.  It was only through an incredible hail storm which followed that the fire was able to be extinguished.

Needless to say the game was called off in the third quarter.