Ellis Noack

Ellis Noack with the NSW Police Commissioner, Fred Hanson

Probably one of the best known players and later administrators of the game in Sydney during the 1950s, 70s & 80s.

There was no-one in Sydney who didn’t know or know of Ellis.

He came to Sydney in 1956 from Ariah Park, NSW to join the NSW Police Force and during his time in football played with:

  • Eastern Suburbs FC
  • St George FC
  • Newtown FC – as captain-coach
  • Southern Districts FC
  • South Sydney FC
  • Campbelltown FC
Ellis with the Police Team

And during the week in the season he played for the Police Football Club.

He amassed probably close to 500 senior games in his career and besides life member of the Sydney Football League and clubs, he was admitted to the Sydney Hall of Fame some years ago.


This is a short interview made during a function at the Alexandria Hotel in Sydney.


– 1914 Tamworth v Newtown Match

Australian Rules TitleFootball in one of the state’s largest regional centres, Tamworth, had an early start with Australian football followed by a very short history probably brought on with the advent of World War 1.

Australian football was no more than a novelty in the area when in June of the 1913 under the hand of O R Smith, some of the locals formed themselves into a club.  This was followed by a game against Queensland who travelled to Tamworth in September following their decision not to go on to Sydney for an interstate clash against NSW because of the smallpox outbreak at this time.

The following February the club held their first meeting with local electrician, Harry Ewins, the secretary.

In June 1914 the Tamworth club invited Sydney side, Newtown to play a game in their city in what was termed as the opening of the “opening of the Australian Rules Season.”

Dick Condon, a former Collingwood player, travelled with the Newtown team to umpire the match.

There was some type of a problem with the local council regarding the letting of it to the local Australian Football Group however the local Rugby League permitted the their adversaries the use of the No. 2 Ground in Tamworth.  Not to be outdone the Central Northern Rugby League then scheduled a match between Tamworth and Sydney club, Western Suburbs on the adjoining ground which understandably outdrew the Australian Football game and in fact considerably affected their gate, admission was one shilling ($5.60).  The CNRL advertised their game by saying the Western Suburbs game was the match of the season and that “the league is popular”.

Rugby Union still held sway in country NSW in 1914 but the Rugby League were steadily eating into their base.

The Tamworth Australian Football team included: Ben Boon (captain), F G Roberts, F Smith, Knox (2), Bell, Scott, Rodgers, Leathley, E Campbell, Yelland, Willis, Lawther, Ross, Fred & George Hombsch, Lee, McRitchie and Curran.  Emergencies were Winn, Harrington, Doyle, Smith and A. Read.  They did not appear to have any local teams as competitors and certainly no operational competition.  The captain, Ben Boon was a bank clerk.

The game was a very one sided affair.  The locals failed to combine and play well and were completely outclassed although a number of individuals performed quite well.

Newtown won 10-10 (70) to 0-5 (5).  The attendance was not mentioned.

There was no further football activity in the town until the 1970s when the North West Australian Rules Football Association was formed.  This folded with the more recent Tamworth Australian Football League now in full swing.





Scanning through the number of publications the Society has in their records, we have come across some humorous, stoic and some genuinely interesting bits of information:

In a 1972 Football Record it said “Wests Third Grade coach, Alan Sales, is talking with a much deeper voice these days.  No, he hasn’t got laryngitis, he’s just changed tailors.  The result is his short shorts are not as short as before.”

* * * * *

Also in 1972 popular Rugby League caller, Tiger Black, hosted a sports show on radio station 2KY of a Saturday Morning at 11:00am.  Clubs were rostered for one of their number to attend the satellite, Eastlakes Studios to be interviewed by the aging Tiger.  The show was sponsored by Tooheys and called the Toohey’s Sports Parade.

* * * * *

In 1919 the Newtown Football Club in Sydney released details of those club members who served in WWI.

They had sixty-one enlist of whom eleven were killed in battle.  Two were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal as well as the Military Medal while three were promoted in the field to Lieutenant.

* * * * *

In 1974, the strong Western Suburbs Licensed Club at Picken Oval, where our Society rooms are situated, advertised a Sunday Smorgasbord Lunch when games were played at the ground for $1.20 a head – casual dress.

* * * * *

NSW have hosted two All-States Carnivals.  The first was in 1914 and the opening game was played the day WWI was announced.  Needless to say, the seven day series was a flop and financially ruined the league, resulting in the resignation of the trustees who had care and management of the new Australian Football Ground at Alexandria – that was also lost.

The next was in 1933 also held at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  NSW fielded quite a handy side but could not match it with Victoria or Western Australia.

The carnival was not particularly well patronised, given that it was held deep  in the depression.  Admission to the outer was one shilling (ten cents) and 2/4½ (not too sure how that is represented in today’s currency, so I will call it, twenty five cents) to the stands.

One real plus for NSW was the selection of South Sydneys’, rover,  Jimmy Stiff (pictured) as best and fairest in the carnival.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather” Stiff said, describing how he felt when he learned of the award.

“As a matter of fact, I never gave it a thought.  There were so many good players from other states.”

The Hawthorn Football club showed definite interest in recruiting Stiff but he said he had a good home and job and that he was satisfied living in Sydney.

The rugby league also wanted Stiff and was almost talked into playing with South Sydney Rugby League side by their ace administrator, Cecil Blinkhorn.

“I thought it over hard” Stiff said, “but just as I was going to give it a flutter I remembered the ‘Rules carnival that was to be held here and I gave up the idea.”

In the next couple of years Stiff did play first grade rugby league for Souths and just to demonstrate what a great sportsman he was, Stiff was a regular first grade cricketer with the then Glebe Club which played in the Sydney competition.

Unfortunately, the daring and diminutive Stiff was killed in a road accident in 1937.  He was one of the first selected in the AFL NSW, Hall of Fame.

The image at the top of the story shows Jimmy Stiff at the base of the pack ready to dive on the ball in a carnival game against Tasmania at the SCG in 1933.