Codes Unite

Co-operation smallAfter the resuscitation of the game in Sydney in 1903, administrators of the Australian became quite concerned that players disqualified in one code could cross and play with another, be that Australian, rugby or under British rules (to use the term of the day now known as soccer).

So the following year they arranged a conference between officials from the three codes to discuss the matter with the ensuing result:

“On the Initiation of the N.S.W. Football League (Australian Rules), a meeting of delegates from the N.S.W League (Australian Rules), the N.S.W. Association (British Rules – soccer), and the Metropolitan Rugby Union, (Rugby League had not then been introduced in Australia) was held at the Sports Depot (NSW Sports Club) Hunter Street on Friday, to consider tho subject of reciprocity in disqualification.  It has been considered for sometime that it is desirable that disqualification by one executive should carry disqualification by all. The delegates meeting fully endorsed this view and unanimously  agreed to record to their various executives the following :

  1. That in the event of any player being disqualified, the N.S.W. Football League (Australian Rules), the Metropolitan Rugby Union, or the N.S.W. Football Association – (British Rules), the disqualification shall be endorsed by tho remaining bodies.
  2. That no application from a disqualified player be entertained by any of the three bodies until the disqualification is removed by the body disqualifying.  That this shall not be retrospective except in the case of disqualification for life.

As disqualification is not enforced except for a serious offence, it should help to keep, up the tone of football if the penalty is recognised by all the bodies. The action of the League in taking the Initiative in ‘this matter Is to be commended.”

It has to make you wonder how long these rules existed for and how committed the three bodies were in their application.  Which one defaulted first?

This is the first time we have read of any such rule and today it certainly would be an eye opener for readers in states other than NSW and Queensland where Australian football reigns supreme.

By 1904 Rugby Union was a massive winter sport in NSW and it was only with the introduction of Rugby League in 1908 that ‘Rugby’ lost its strangle hold on the men and boys of these two states.


1944-07-01 Sydney Football Record front page 1 smallSociety officials have completed another painstaking chore by loading Sydney football records onto the website for the war years, 1941-44.

So far sixty of these publications have been loaded.  Some are four page editions, one or two single page efforts while the remainder are mostly of twelve pages.

Because of a shortage of paper during the war some of the Records were cut down to one sheet of paper folded to present four pages.  This unique contribution was enough to maintain a regular communication on the local competition to players and supporters.

In other years a one page effort had to suffice for a month and this occurred on two occasions in that season.  These gave the teams lists and not much more.

Those were the days (and carried on well into the 1990s) when volunteers who worked in the city, came into the league office then housed in the NSW Sports Club in Hunter Street, and helped the Honorary League Secretary and/or Record Editor to compile and staple the publication to ready them for sale at grounds the following weekend.  We know that a few of these reached our troops in the South Pacific as we imagine some also were sent on to the European theatre.

It is fascinating to read the names of the players who participated in Sydney during that period.  Many were top line interstate players who played in the VFL, SANFL  and WAFL including Phonse Kyne, captain of Collingwood, Alby Morrison a former captain of Footscray and Bill Morris who would go on to win a Brownlow Medal.

Terry Moriarty, winner of the 1943 Sandover Medal played in Sydney as did someone who would go on to be inducted in the AFL’s Hall of Fame from WA, Jack Sheedy.  There were many, many more.

From what we were told, these boys simply turned up at a ground seeking a game.  Maybe a quarter in the seconds would convince the coach of the player’s ability and he was taken off the field and put straight into the firsts.  Because of their situation in the military, many could not train.

It must have been great football and wonderful for the fans, many of whom were military personnel themselves.

Check this graph out which shows a spark in attendances at Sydney football during the war, Chart of Sydney Ground Gate Takings 1930-50 smallmost particularly when Sunday football was introduced.  To separate the grounds, the solitary green line above the ongoing graph is the takings at Trumper Park of a Sunday.  Click to enlarge.

Shortly the Society will post the 1939-40 and 45 Football Records on the site.  They have all of the former but only a handful of 1945 publications.  If anyone has any early editions in their family football treasurers we would very much appreciate copies which could then be added to a most absorbing list of Football Record many of which are available for everyone to peruse on the net.


The home of the NSW Australian Football League from early in the twentieth century until around 1960, the NSW Sports Club, has gone into voluntary administration.

1945 NSWAFL Annual General Meeting_0002 smallBefore the league gained the impetus to purchase their own premises at Regent Street, Chippendale, they had rooms at the Hunter Street (Sydney) club where they did their business and held meetings.

The Sports Club, established in 1896, was the home for many sports in NSW and served its purpose well.

Officials would normally meet at 8:00pm with most gatherings lasting until 11:00pm then they would have to find their way home.  In those daysNSW Sports Club small most of the clubs were within a reasonable distance and so travel was mainly be tram until the mid-twenties when the early part of the railway city circle was opened which afforded club delegates from clubs like St George and to a certain extent, Newtown, to get home much quicker.

The demise of the club is certainly a shame but obviously the patronage was not there.  It is unlikely too that those in the league who attended these meetings are still with us.

There is no news as to the eventual disposal of this very valuable property which no doubt would have some type of heritage order on it.

Our image shows a post World War II league annual meeting starting just after 8:00pm.