– Tas Carroll – schoolteacher

We have often written that people in sport and more particularly in our case, football, who are lost in the throng of the many who make up football clubs, leagues and groups.

In their time their names “are up in lights” and many became most prominent players or most influential officials or perhaps an outstanding umpire.

And yet when they withdraw or are lost to the code, their names and qualities are almost gone forever.

Sometimes there is a medal or trophy named after them so you can say their names may live on.  But who questions the name on the medal that was perhaps won by a player from your club?  Who knows about him or her for that fact?  Who knows what impact that person had on the game in their particular discipline?

Of course this is the case right around Australia.  It is the “xxx’ or “xyz” medal but who gives a tinkers cuss who “xzy” was?  We could go on about this forever and while times change the circumstances really do not but the memory of their influence or impact naturally enough fades or has faded into the distant past.

And what of those who want to or do change the names of these trophies.? They have no respect for the past.

In Sydney Australian Football there was such a man who led the push.  He was a school teacher and probably one of three who spread the game across the city and at the time who went to extraordinary lengths to promote his students into the game of Australian Football.

We have written about Rupert Browne, and of course there was H.G. (Bunny) Shepherd and Tas Carroll.  Or to be more precise, Tasman Stanley Shepherd.

Tas. (as he was known to his many friends) was born at Stanley in Tasmania in 1902.  After school he went into a career of teaching.  By 1928 he was living at Sandy Bay then two years later along with his wife he was Lillis, he had moved to his long time residence of 36 Kimberley Road, Hurstville.

Strangely, he did not get involved with the then newly formed St George Club however he began teaching at Leichhardt Tech where he promoted the game and coached teams from his school in the fledgling (Australian) football schools competition.

By 1931 he had been transferred to Hurstville Central Technical School and was appointed co-manager of the NSW PSSSA (Public Schools Amateur Athletic Assn) Australian Football Team which even then included future St George players in Don Menzies, Steve Duff and the 1939 Sanders Medalist (Sydney Reserve Grade B & F), Albert Butcher.

Tas went on to become intensely involved with schools football in Sydney and like Rupert Browne and H G Shepherd, became mentors to young men who would go on to play senior football in NSW with a percentage moving into the VFL.

Despite his commitment to the game he was never elected a life member of the NSW Football League although his two colleagues, Browne and Shepherd were.  Also he missed on the ANFC’s Merit Award, and honour bestowed upon a person for his or her outstanding commitment to football in the state.

Regardless, his loyalty to the game, particularly in the schools remained consistent through to about 1960.  In these latter years he was the honorary schools secretary when he was listed as a teacher at the South Hurstville School.

There are many men in Australia who owe their involvement and in some way so too do the St George Club who were the recipient of these players , including a former outstanding club president in Sid Felstead.

Tas’s daughter, Patsy who also became a schoolteacher, was another who the St George Club benefited from his involvement.  She turned out to be the club’s publicity officer, writing in the St George Leader as well as the Football Record for a number of years.

Tas died in 1992, aged 90, his death unnoticed by the Australian Football community of the time.

 

Unfortunately we have no image of Tas.

First Sub Junior Association in Sydney

South Sydney 1911-22 smallSouth Sydney was formed when the Redfern Club changed their name in 1911.  Redfern was a founding club of the reformed league of 1903 and their best effort in the early days was runner-up in 1906.

The club slowly followed the shift in population moving south and when the league purchased the old Rosebery Racecourse in Botany Road, also in 1911, and they began to use that as a home ground, as opposed to their previous venue of Redfern Park.  The club also found many Sydney inhabitants moved to the model suburb of Rosebery when land became available from 1912 onwards.  Some of these were footballers.

South Sydney won the competition in 1914 but World War I decimated their numbers and they fell on hard times to the extent that by 1917 they were out of the competition.

There was a revival following the war and in 1920 they were back, but playing in the reserve grade competition.

Nearly all of their players were locals and their enthusiasm saw lots of success, winning the competition in 1923.

By 1925 they had returned to the senior competition and from 1926, were regulars in the final four.  They had a good club, good players and were well administered.

During the late 1920s someone had the idea of forming a junior competition in the district and by 1927 it had five clubs: Botany, Lauriston Park, Rosebery, Daceyville and Gardeners Road.  It helped that Rupert Browne (pictured), the sportsmaster at Gardeners Road school, an institution which, believe itRupert Browne or not, boasted 1800 students in 1918, was also a football supporter and ensured that his school fielded regular teams in schools competitions and founded what became an absolute nursery for the South Sydney club in the 1930s -50s.  For many years Browne was a vice president of the South Sydney Club.  The school produced many footballers, not only for Souths, but for most clubs throughout Sydney.

The secretary of the new and unique association was George Headford.  Born at Waterloo in Sydney in 1900 he had no specific ties to Australian football apart from a short stint as South Sydney club secretary, but was a keen and enthusiastic promoter of the code and his small Association.

He lived in Rose Street Botany and was probably one of many responsible for the club in the same suburb.  The Association fielded an open age competition and at least one junior division.  They played at Waterloo Oval, Alexandria Park and Rosebery Park or to use its correct name: Turruwul Park.

The Association continued into the early 1930s but some clubs fell by the way side and those that were left joined the Metropolitan Australian Football Association with the Rosebery club continuing into the 1950s.  By 1936 Headford had moved to Maroubra and out of the main path of the game in the area at the time.  His departure probably contributed to the demise of the junior Association.

This district association proved a great fillip for the South Sydney club but with other football codes vying for players and it probably having little administrative support the competition faded into obscurity and eventually so too did the South Sydney Club in the mid 1970s.

A junior competition was reformed in the district in the mid 1950s when Rugby League did not have a junior association.  It went well but probably because of lack of personnel, when one person did everything in the small clubs, it too, went by the way side.

Rosebery Football Club

Between 1923 – 1953, what we would know as a second division, The Metropolitan Australian National Football Association, operated in Sydney.

We have written before about this competition before, however in the past few days, documents have come to light which shed more details on the Association but more particularly on one of the participants, the Rosebery Football Club.

Rosebery is a southern suburb of Sydney, near Mascot, and land was first released there in 1912 on which it was intended to build a ‘model suburb’.

Initially the vast majority of the houses were built of that dark brick so common of the houses of the day.

Many dwellings were constructed between 1912-20 in the numerous streets which make up the suburb and most of the children would have attended the Gardeners Road Public School which is located on the corner of Gardeners and Botany Roads, Rosebery.  At one stage around that period the school population boasted 1800 students.

Rupert Browne, a teacher and sports master at the school from 1911-50, promoted Australian football and was responsible for many young men taking on the game and playing for clubs throughout Sydney.

Besides junior teams, the Rosebery Football Club fielded an A grade in the Metropolitan Association for most of its existence, apart from WWII when manpower was scarce.

Rosebery A Grade Premiers 1928 small1937 Rosebery Football Club - 1st Grade small 1939 Rosebery Football Club - 1st Grade thumbnail

 

We now have several images of the club’s premiership teams from the 1920s and 1930s.

Jack Hayes, a former junior of the club, who went on to play with Footscray and later coached St George, coached the club’s premiership sides of 1937 & 39.  For those who remember, the familiar faces of long term NSWAFL Secretary, Ken Ferguson and South Sydney official, Alby Young, appear in the 1928 photograph.

In the material we have been given are the 1946 and 1947 annual reports which give a glimpse of football of that level in those days.  You can peruse these documents by clicking either of the years.

They make for a very interesting read, particularly an expense item in 1946 for ‘sherry’ which was often given to players during the breaks on a cold day.

1919 Schoolboys Tour

Rupert BrowneWay back in 1919, only months after the Great War finished, Sydney school sports officials arranged with their Victorian counterparts for an interstate visit by a combined schools team after the finish of the season.  This was seen as the continuation of an interstate interchange in school football started between the two in 1905.

In July of 1919, the VFL agreed to pay forty pounds, estimated with inflation today at $2893.00, to assist with NSW costs.  The boys would be billeted with the number restricted to 20 and they not be over the age of 16 years.

The lads were selected from the following public schools: Ashfield, Burwood, Double Bay and Gardeners Road.  They left by Express train at Central on 28 August and at that stage were looking at spending up to two weeks in the Melbourne capital.

The group was under the management of Rupert Browne (pictured), sports master of the Gardeners Road School and a Mr Stutchbury from the Schools Amateur Athletics Association.

They played three games against combined Victorian State Schools and won the lot:

 

Date

NSW

Schools Score

Victorian

Schools Score

Venue

30 August

8-8 (56)

7-8  (50)

Amateur Sports Ground

6 Sept

3-5 (23)

1-10 (16)

Collingwood
Cricket Ground

9 Sept

5-7 (37)

5-6  (36)

Amateur Sports Ground

 

Following their first match the boys were taken to Punt Road Oval, where they saw the Richmond v St Kilda game.

In between their interstate contests, the NSW boys travelled to Geelong on 2 September where they played and were defeated by the Geelong High School side, 7-11 (53) to 7-4 (48).  And then, with not much rest, the following day the team played a game against Melbourne High School where they suffered their second defeat on tour, 6-12 (48) to 3-15 (33).

In between all this, on 4 September they were entertained by the Collingwood Football Club and the following day the VFL put on a picnic for the boys at Heidelburg.

After an exhaustive but very enjoyable time away the contingent returned to Sydney on 10 September.

But this did not finish their interstate commitments.

In late September 1919, the combined team of Victorian State Schoolboys travelled to Sydney to play a reciprocal match against their Sydney Metropolitan opponents.  The VFL paid their train fare.

Because it was late in the season a venue was very difficult to procure with officials searching near and far for a ground on which to play.  They eventually had to settle for the Sydney Domain (behind NSW Parliament House) but the Victorians fared no better in the match and were soundly beaten by NSW 10-18 (78) to 4-6 (30).

Those who represented the Metropolitan Schools included: Chipperfield, Kell, Armstrong, Curry, Lording and King (Ashfield PS), Sherwood, Rogers, Harris, Spencer and Martin (Burwood PS), George McCure (Double Bay PS), Orme, Paul Flynn, Burns, Walker, Les Stiff and Yates (Gardeners Road PS), Owen and Mackay were the reserves.

The only one of any note who went on in senior football was Paul Flynn.  He represented the state in 1925 and won Sydney’s goalkicking award in 1928 playing for South Sydney.

Trophies and Awards

As the reputation of the History Society becomes more prominent, the existence of awards, trophies, medals and other material from past years is slowly emerging.

Recently the Society received a note from Rob Powers, the grandson of R H Powers, a former state representative and captain on the Sydney Club during the twenties.

Mr Powers presented photographs of the medal his grandfather won in 1926 playing for Sydney.  It was for the best and fairest in the Sydney competition and at the time called, The Ellis Trophy.  The name was changed to the Provan Trophy and in 1936, the Phelan Medal, in recognition of the service Jim Phelan provided the NSW football community during his lifetime.

1926 was the first occasion the award was made and followed closely on the heels of the VFL which established the Brownlow Medal in 1924.  It was created and named in honour of Charles Brownlow, a former Geelong footballer (1880-1891), club secretary (1885-1923) and VFL president (1918-19).

Mr Powers said he came across the medal whilst cleaning out the estate of his late parents.

More recently a NSWAFL Life Membership Medal which was awarded to Rupert Browne in 1932 has surfaced.  Mr Browne was a school teacher and sports master at the Rupert Browne smallGardeners Road Public School, Mascot from 1911-1950.

Together with two other Sydney teachers, he was responsible for putting hundreds of young boys through the game, most of whom went on to play with the South Sydney Club but others filtered out to different clubs within the city.  Many, many of these boys represented the state and at least one, Frank Gascoigne, won the Phelan Medal, the competition’s best and fairest.

He died in 1953, aged 66 after being hit by a car in suburban Sydney.  Certainly a cruel way to take a man who had given so much to the code.  As a mark of respect to the memory of Mr Browne, former students erected memorial gates at the school, which still stand today.

So these medals and trophies are out there but neither of these two mentioned are in the Society’s possession.  We would be pleased to hear from other readers who might know of the existence of similar awards.

SCHOOLBOYS FOOTY – new photo

1922 NSW Schoolboys Team 2 smallEver thought about where our footballers came from years ago?  I mean what junior football did they participate in.

In Sydney, junior club football was almost non-existent until about 1923 when the Metropolitan Australian National Football Association was formed.  And even then the lowest grade was Under 16.

Previous to this there was a junior league in Sydney but the age group was more for boys 18 or 19.  A Young Australian Association also existed for some time up to the first war, but again, the age group was not for minors.

Ironically, football was played quite extensively at schools during the first decade of the twentieth century in Sydney.  The NSW league even had a fulltime school football organiser.

In 1906 a schools competition in Sydney had one A Division group comprising Petersham, Fort Street, Pyrmont, Waverley and Kogarah, the first two teams to give the others handicaps while 37 schools made up the remaining seven groups in B Division .

Eight Catholic schools participated.

Petersham Superior School won the final game that year against Double Bay for the schools premiership and also the right to travel to Melbourne in an all expenses paid trip to play for the schools championship on the MCG.  Their headmaster however, Mr James Rickard waived their claim which permitted the winners of a match between Double Bay and Fort Street to go.

The following year the Young Australian competition reported that 29 teams participated in their competition.  New teams include: Ryde, Nth Annandale, Bexley and a second St Leonards.

A Grade consisted of Ryde, Nth Shore, Kegworth, Paddington, Kegworth B, Sydney B, St Leonards, Illawarra (Hustville), Drummoyne, Petersham, YMCA, Newtown, Balmain, Eastern Suburbs and Northern Suburbs.

The B Grade included Newtown, Kegworth, Summer Hill, Sydney, Balmain A., Summer Hill and Bexley all playing of a Friday afternoon.

In 1909 the secretary of the PSAAA committee, Mr Garden suggested that rather than send a single school team to Melbourne each year, maybe it would be more stimulating to send a representative side.

As a consequence a schoolboys team comprised of: W. Stafford, F. Crozier, E. Cullen-Ward, R. Smith, B. O’Grady, S. Russell (Fort St); A Stenhouse, L. Dunbar, J. Kelly (Petersham), Ron Swan (Ryde), Arthur Emanuel, & Bede (Erskineville), J. Adams (Double Bay); Walker, John Iler, Thompson & George Thew, Gordon, (Burwood).  Emergencies: Ernie Messenger (Double Bay), Dean (Ryde), Hadden (Hurstville) & Stan Morehouse (Erskineville) was chosen.

They had no chance against a team representing the public schools of Victoria.  The match was played on the MCC Ground on 24 September, prior to the VFL final and it was a very one sided affair, the home boys winning by no fewer than 116 points.  The Victorian boys were heavier and bigger than the visitors.  Final scores: Victoria 17.14 (116) NSW 1.6 (12).

In 1912, under the control of Mr G Perry of Burwood Superior School, announced he would have six teams in the competition. “It was,” he said, “intended to reduce the age of the players in the Young Australian League to 18 years, so that boys at school, and those who have just left school, but who are too youthful for the association team, may enter it’s ranks.”

The war however changed everything with school and junior football.

Eventually it was left to people like Rupert Browne, a teacher of the Gardeners Road Public School at Mascot (formerly of Kegworth school in Sydney) who in April 1914 suggested the concept of introducing an under 16 competition in Sydney schools.

Gardeners Road school in those days was an intermediate high school or in contemporary terms a junior high school.  They also offered advanced education at night and by 1918 had a school population of 1800 students.

PSSA or PSAAA (as it was called in those days) have nurtured many young footballers in their state teams over the years.  These are the best primary schoolboys who play annually in a national carnival at a venue around Australia.

Strangely not a high percentage of these boys over the years, have gone on to play top level football.  Some don’t even go on at all.

The interstate schoolboy carnivals began in 1921 after NSW separately played Victoria and Queensland in school football in the years immediately after WWI.

The first carnival was held in Brisbane where the Victorian side went through undefeated.

Initially the NSW team was drawn from schools like, Paddington, Newtown, Double Bay, Glenmore Road (Paddington), Kogarah, Hurstville, Coolamon, Narrandera, Newcastle and Gardeners Road.

NSW won the 1923 and 1924 national PSAAA.  Both years the side contained some great local talent.  Some of whom would go on to represent the state at a senior level and Gardeners_Rd_School_1925 smallat least two, a Double Bay and Gardeners Road boys, played in the VFL.  One captained Fitzroy.

This photo on the right shows the NSW schoolboys team in 1925 in their visit to Brisbane.  They are wearing jumpers from the Gardeners Road Public School and amongst their number includes Stan Lloyd who played 117 games with and captained St Kilda, Lionel Hastie, who played 13 games with the strong Fitzroy Club in 1931, Stan Powditch winner of three NSW Football League’s leading goalkicking award in  the 1930s and of course little Jimmy Stiff, who won the best player award in the 1933 Sydney All-States National Carnival.

We have all the names of these boys but aligning them with a face is most difficult.

By 1926 the Sydney Schools competition had split into two divisions, Northern, which included Lane Cove, Artarmon, Willoughby, Gordon, Chatswood, Hornsby, Lindfield, Naremburn, Crows Nest, Neutral Bay & Mosman schools.  The other was called Metropolitan which included: Gardiners Road, Glenmore Road, Double Bay, Epping, Erskineville, Newtown.

One item I dragged out of the archives from August 1926 you might like is the following:

“The Victorian Central Schools defeated Metropolis (Sydney Metro) at Chatswood Oval yesterday by 70 to 44. Caravagh (2) Jimmy Stiff (2) Reed, Burge and Smith were the goalscorers for the local team.”

But, it all changes.

HOW GOOD WAS JIMMY STIFF – ONE TOUGH NUT?

Jimmy Stiff is a member of the Sydney Hall of Fame but is one of those past players who’s name means little to contemporary football followers of the game.

Nevertheless, he was a true champion.

Jim lived at Mascot and attended the Gardeners Road School.  While there and under the tutelage of teacher-mentor, Rupert Browne, he, like many members of his family, began to play Australian Football.

At an early age he was selected in the NSW schoolboys team where he excelled.  Then, at 17, while playing with the South Sydney Club, he was chosen to represent NSW.  In and out of the reserves, in 1930 he came equal third in the Phelan Medal and  also runner up in the Sanders Medal (reserves B & F) in then the following year at age 20, he was named as the best player in the state’s match against Victoria on the SCG.

Then in 1933, again playing for NSW, Jim won the best player at the All-States Carnival held in Sydney over 10 days – against all the stars from other states.  At 1.6m and 64.5kg he was a dynamo but erratic in his attitude towards football.

The several approaches by VFL clubs were rebutted and it appears that the handsome young Jim was happy living and playing in Sydney where he worked as a tool maker.

His coach of the time (who went on to coach NSW for five years after the war) and another member of the Hall of Fame, Frank Dixon, cited Stiff as the best footballer he had ever seen.  Maybe his opinion had a touch of bias but others of the period, from different clubs who saw Stiff play, also shared his opinion.

Not only was he a good footballer he also played first grade cricket in the Sydney competition with the Glebe club and between 1935-37 Stiff played 18 first grade games for the South Sydney Rugby League side and, it is said, was unlucky not to be selected in the 1937-38 Kangaroos tour of England.  This was a marvellous feat in the time of the great depression when there would have been great competition for a place in the rugby league team where the match payments could have meant the difference between eating or going without.

It is a pity he was not selected because the fearless young Stiff was killed in a motor cycle accident in Botany Road, Botany in December of 1937 prematurely ending the life of a leading Sydney sportsman.

Ironically, Stiff was followed as South Sydney’s first rover by his brother, Micky (Malcolm) who, after living in his brother’s shadow, went onto play over 200 games with the club and represent the state on numerous occasions.