– N.S.W. Made Mincemeat of Famous St Kilda

1945 NSW Team v St KildaNSW made mincemeat of Famous St Kilda.  Well thats what the news headlines said following the game.

In September 1945, the Second World War had just about finished and while residents of Sydney as well as the interstate servicemen based there had their footy needs well met during the conflict through some top line players who were participating in the competition, officials saw a need for an interstate fixture;  one with perhaps a touch of glamour and competitiveness that could attract a crowd and a gate ($$).

The NSW Football League had received invitations from both Queensland and Canberra Leagues to visit that year but they declined both because, they said “of travel and accommodation difficulties” but more particularly because such matches were “a bit premature.”

In the preceding two weeks, 54,000 and 46,000 people had witnessed the two VFL semi-final matches in Melbourne so there was a sense of a nation beginning to return to football normality.

Subsequently, late in the season the NSWAFL tendered an invitation to the St Kilda Football Club to visit Sydney and play a series of games.  They accepted and in fact extended their visit to a 10 day stay beginning September 14.  On the same weekend as their match against NSW, Hawthorn played a game in Albury.  So maybe more than two VFL clubs participated in exhibition matches away from their home base?

During their stay St Kilda club officials estimated that their party would spend £1,500 ($103,000 today) which included £358 in accommodation and £370 in travel.  They considered the remainder would just be spent in other areas by those in the contingent.

Of all the VFL clubs who had played in Sydney since 1881, St Kilda was not one so this visit would be a first – and last.  In 1945 the Saints finished at the bottom of the twelve team competition.

Their schedule in Sydney included three games; two against NSW and a midweek fixture against a Combined Services outfit.

The first was against NSW then the game against a NSW Services Team (combined military personnel) both of which were played at Erskineville Oval.  Unfortunately the NSW League could not secure a ground for their second of their two match (or third St Kilda game) contest. We imagine the reasons being, 1) because the period was a ground changeover to summer sport, and 2) perhaps the military still occupied many of the city and suburban grounds.

League officials went to extraordinary lengths to hire a ground for this game.  They even tried to procure Cumberland Oval at Parramatta but the attempt failed.  It is interesting to note that Parramatta in the days of WWII could almost be classified as ‘country’ with no Australian football at all played in the area.  Other grounds that were tried included Henson Park as well as Marrickville and Lidcombe Ovals.

Nevertheless and as a fine gesture, the St Kilda club donated 70% of the £163 net gate from their only NSW match to the League.

In a strange twist of fate, St Kilda included the 24 year old energetic Sam Loxton in their team.  Loxton was recruited by the Saints in 1942 and played with them up until 1945 when following his promotion to the rank of sergeant in the Australian Army, he was transferred to Sydney.  There, he was immediately appointed captain of the Eastern Suburbs Club.  During the season however when on leave in Melbourne, Loxton played in the round 11 clash against North Melbourne much to the delight of their fans.

The ‘Serviceman’s Rule’ of the time permitted those in the military to turnout with their parent club if they be registered in another state, circumstances muchSam Loxton akin to Loxton’s.

Strangely this talented footballer/cricketer was ‘dropped’ from the NSW team a week out from the game then immediately selected at full forward for St Kilda.  A fact not lost on the media.   Sam failed to kick a goal in the game although as an aside, he won the NSWAFL leading goalkicking award for 1945 booting 71 goals.

Loxton went on to play cricket for Victoria and later Australia.  He was also a member of Don Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’ that toured England in 1948.

St Kilda also a boasted a former local in their lineup in Reg Garvin.  A past Newtown player and ex-junior who was recruited by the Saints in 1937.  Garvin captained and coached St Kilda for two seasons during his 1937-46 career with the club.

Also in the Saints lineup was Billy Wells who tragically injured his spine when a troop train he was on was attacked in Egypt in 1941.  Doctors said he would never walk again and yet amazingly when he to Australia he again took up with North Melbourne and then onto St Kilda for the 1944-45 seasons.

Action in the NSW v St Kilda match Two of the bigger St Kilda players were vice captain Sid Snell and Col Williamson, both members of the Victorian Police Force.  Snell had represented Victoria on two occasions and also excelled as a sprinter, winning the Maryborough Gift in 1938.

Williamson played 165 games for the Saints in a ten year career, coaching them in 1952-53.

The day of the match contained boisterous weather and conditions that mitigated against a good display of football and yet it was said 8,000 attended the game.  Fifty three year old local umpire, Bill Hunkin, had control.

Reg GarvinThe match didn’t start well for St Kilda.  They were down by 22 points at the first change and it wasn’t until the second term that saw them produce a more competitive effort allowing them to take the lead at half time by the narrowest of margins.

In the third term it was all NSW.  They booted 4-6 to the Saints nil.  Although assisted by a stiff breeze in the final quarter, St Kilda again made no impression on the scoreboard.  They were beaten 10-18 (78) to 4-24 (48), with many of their behinds being kicked only metres from the line.

The NSW team was made up mostly of service personnel, many of whom only came together on the morning of the match; they played strong hard football.  All in the team participated for their respective Sydney clubs with a number however based at distant camps so attending training was out of the question.

St Kilda’s team too contained several servicemen all of whom were members of their club.  It is likely that several of these were more than likely stationed in Sydney or surrounds at the time of the game.  They included: Eric Comeford, Geoff Driver, Terry O’Brien, Bill Phillips and Bob Wilkie.

Given that these players along with Loxton PLUS their seconds coach, Jack Brenchley who at 34 had the role of coach of the team during their NSW tour, all played for St Kilda in this game certainly questions of the depth of the team.

The subsequent midweek fixture against Combined Services saw a closer 7-17 (59) to 7-10 (59) win to the Saints with captain for the match, Reg Garvin getting them in front minutes before the end with a 40 metre drop kick goal.  Then another by Bob Wilkie seconds before the end of the game sealed the victory.

At this stage the only NSW players we have been able to identify are:

Stan W Taylor  – capt (South Sydney – Norwood)

Jim Cracknell (Sydney Naval)

Reg Parker (Newtown)

Ray Jones (Sydney Naval)

Adrian Dullard (St George – Melbourne)

Evan Rees (South Sydney – Footscray)

Jack Thompson (RAAF)

Basil O’Halloran (St George)

J. Martin (RAAF)

Joe Hughes (Newtown)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1914 World Football Tour

1917 Jim Smith - ex St Kilda small“Jim Smith, a former captain of St. Kilda, has conceived the idea of taking two teams of footballers round the world.”  He was the first VFL player to play 100 games who later umpired but then returned to the Saints to coach the side in 1909, 1915 and to the finals in 1918.

So reported the Referee Sporting Newspaper in 1914 about his proposed tour. The scheme also appeared in other national papers but on this occasion Mr Smith gave a detailed report of his plan to delegates of the Australian National Football Council at their 1914 meeting immediately prior to the Sydney national carnival.

Mr. Smith’s idea was to form a company, with a capital of £9,000, (in today’s terms $971,241.22, with inflation) to finance the project.

But this was in 1914, just before the announcement of the first world war.

His idea involved a party of 45, who would serve as two teams which would leave Australia in January, 1915, for Vancouver, Canada. It was intended they would then work their way down the west coast of the US to San Francisco in time for the World Fair which was held in conjunction with the opening of the Panama Canal. Then they would travel across America, and onto England and France.

It was estimated the £9,000 would have provided cover for all expenses, but that, by playing 25 matches, Smith estimated the tour would have realised a substantial profit.

He stated that he had about £1,000 had already been subscribed in Melbourne by mid-1914 and that the balance of the capital would be ‘readily subscribed’. It was suggested that shareholders be invited at £1 per share. Further, it was anticipated that in view of the fact that the accomplishment of the project would yield a ‘big advertisement’ of the project, ‘there would be no difficulty in obtaining the necessary money’.

The proposal allegedly had the approval of leading officials of the Australasian Football Council (then the peak body of football in Australia), who saw in the project an opportunity to advertise the Australian game throughout the world.

Smith gave the following budget:

EXPENDITURE ITEM

DETAILS

TOTALS – £

TODAY’S MONEY $

Fares 45 x £70 3150.00 348,391.00
Allowances (payment) 43 x £2 per week 1800.00 199,080.00
Accommodation 45 x 12 weeks @ £3 each 1620.00 179.172.00
Incidentals incl advertising 1530.00 169,218.00
GRAND TOTAL   £8,100.00 $895,864.00

 

Smith said “it would only be necessary for teams to get a £350 ($38,710) gate at each of the 25 matches or an average attendance of 3,000 paying one shilling ($5.50) and 2,000 at two shillings ($11.00) entry” – a fairly optimistic assumption.

Apart what appeared in the subscription area as income, Smith proposed income would be derived from the 25 proposed matches with ‘the right to sell pictures’ (assumed as photographs), no other details were listed to pay for the trip. Although Smith did say the weekly payments to the players could be reduced to £2 which would save £900. Australian soldiers in WWI received just over £2 a week.

Some donations towards a fund had already been promised, and it was said, those interested would “shortly meet, to elect, officials.”

But then the First World War intervened. And Jim died in 1948, aged 71 never realising his dream although the Argus said of him “in 1917 just prior to the outbreak of the war he almost completed arrangements; in fact, the financial matter, which was the big difficulty, had been satisfactorily settled for the touring of the world with two teams of Australian footballers, but, of course, the war stopped further progress, and he had perforce to abandon the scheme.” So the idea may not have been as far fetched as we might imagine.

Strangely enough this is not the first time there was talk of a football world tour.  In the 1880s it was suggested a team tour England but this, like Smith’s was nothing more than talk.  And not let us forget the Galahs 1967 tour of Ireland and the USA resulting in a six-match series of course playing a hybrid game.

In 1968, a second representative team, consisting of elite players from the Victorian Football League, South Australian National Football League, West Australian Football League and the Vicgtorian Football Association, was undefeated in the series, playing against Gaelic football teams at Wembley Stadium and Croke Park in Dublin, Meath, Kerry and New York were among the opponents. The Galahs also played exhibition matches of Australian Football throughout the tour, including a game in Bucharest, Romania.

2014 Journal Ready

2014 Time On front page thumbnailThe Society has published their 2014 journal which will be posted out to members this week.

The 60 page journal contains stories and records of events of NSW and Sydney football from years goneby and will really be a collectors item.  Not only that it documents some very important events and people in Sydney football which, in some cases, have never been recorded before.

Also, members will receive a Christmas Newsletter.

The Society will hold their annual Christmas gathering at Wests Sports Club on Tuesday with an invitation extended to members and those involved in the wider football family.  Santa has promised an appearance.

In other news, officials are currently in discussion with software programmers regarding the Representative Team database.  It needs work and a search has been in progress for some time in an effort to find Bert Chapman 2those who specialise in WordPress, the programme which operates the website.

More games are slowly being added to the website with another Sydney player, Bert Chapman, who started with the Paddington Club, went on to play with St Kilda in 1914, identified through family connections and a photograph of the player.  In fact Bert who only played seven games with the Saints before injury ended his career, was one of very few who had this image on cigarette cards of the day.

A WORLD FOOTBALL TOUR

IndecisiveJim Smith, a former captain of St. Kilda, has conceived the idea of taking two teams of footballers round the world. He was the first VFL player to play 100 games who later umpired but then returned to the Saints to coach the side in 1909, 1915 and to the finals in 1918.

Mr. Smith’s idea was to form a company, with a capital of £9,000, (in today’s terms $971,241.22, with inflation) to finance the project.

But this was in 1914, just before the announcement of the first world war.

The proposal involved a party of 45, who would serve as two teams which would leave Australia in January, 1915, for Vancouver, Canada. It was intended they would then work their way down the west coast of the US to San Francisco in time for the World Fair which was held in conjunction with the opening of the Panama Canal.  Then they would travel across America, and onto England and France.

It was estimated the £9,000 would have provided cover for all expenses, but that, by playing 25 matches, Smith estimated the tour would have realised a substantial profit.

He stated that £1,000 had already been subscribed in Melbourne by mid-1914 and that the balance of the capital would be “readily subscribed”. It was suggested that shareholders be invited at £1 per share. Further, it was anticipated that in view of the fact that the accomplishment of the project would yield a ‘big advertisement’ of the project, ˜there would be no difficulty in obtaining the necessary money”.

The proposal allegedly had the approval of leading officials of the Australasian Football Council (then the peak body of football in Australia), who saw in the project an opportunity to advertise the Australian game throughout the world.

Smith gave the following budget:

EXPENDITURE ITEM

DETAILS

TOTALS – £

Fares 45 x £70 3150.00
Allowances (payment)  43 x £3 per week 2700.00
Accommodation 45 x 12 weeks @ £3 each 1620.00
Incidentals incl advertising   1530.00
GRAND TOTAL   £9,000.00

 

Apart from what appeared in the subscription area as income, Smith proposed income would be derived from the 25 proposed matches with ˜the right to sell pictures” (assumed as photographs), no other details were listed to pay for the trip.  Although Smith did say the weekly payments to the players could be reduced to £2 which would save £900.  Australian soldiers in WWI received just over £2 a week.

Some donations towards a fund had already been promised, and it was said, those Interested would “shortly meet, to elect officials.”

On 12 August 1914, the Australian National Football Council (ANFC) met and discussed Smith’s proposal after he asked for their patronage. He reiterated his plans, proposing to leave Australia in January 1915, play through Canada, and the leading cities of the United States, cross to England, then to France, and on to South Africa and home. He considered the team would be away five months, with a revised cost of £8000.  All the state delegates were in favor of the proposal, though they considered the figures were based on a low estimate. In view of the disturbed state of Europe, however, it was deemed inadvisable to deal finally with the matter, and it was left “in the hands of the executive ”Messrs Brownlow (Vic), Bennett (.A.) and O’Neill (W.A.)” who were to meet for a scheduled November meeting in Melbourne.  In the meantime, the promoter was asked for more particulars.

But, World War 1 intervened.  However Jim Smith maintained that when the war was over, he expected to take two teams round the world to play exhibition games.  It didn’t happen.

Strangely enough this is not the first time there was talk of a football world tour.  In the 1880s it was suggested a team tour England but this, like Smith’s was nothing more than talk.  And not let us forget the Galahs 1967 tour of Ireland and the USA resulting in a six-match series of course playing a hybrid game.

In 1968, a second representative team, consisting of elite players from the Victorian Football League, South Australian National Football League, West Australian Football League and the Victorian Football Association, was undefeated in the series, playing against Gaelic football teams at Wembley Stadium and Croke Park. Dublin, Meath, Kerry and New York were among the opponents. The Galahs also played exhibition matches of Australian Football throughout the tour, including a game in Bucharest, Romania.

An Interesting Article

Recently, we came across and interesting article written by Jim Phelan, after whom the Phelan Medal was named, in a 1934 Sydney Football Record.

His recollections of times that passed before him are spelt out in some detail in a number of those publications during the 1930s.  This one concerns an interstate match between NSW and Queensland.  The most interesting part is the contribution players made to offset costs.

“To-day’s (1934) match at Brisbane should provide be of interest to followers of the game in both of the States named.  In Carnival games N.S.W. hold an unbeaten record against Queensland, but in interstate games played in Sydney and Brisbane, the Queenslanders have proved worthy opponents.

The last victory gained by N.S.W. over Queensland in interstate games was at Brisbane in 1928, when a thrilling match was won on the post by N.S.W. which scored 6-10 (46) to 5-13 (43).

J. Phelan (Jim Phelan’s son) then playing his first season in the first grade, scoring 3 of the six goals credited to N.S.W.

The 1928 N.S.W. team were: Clendon Eastment, Frank Cawsey, Preston, Gordon Shennan, Burns, Clarke, Loel, F Hudson, Gough, Vernon, Ossie Green, Rex Ferguson, A Ferguson, James (Bub) Phelan, Frank Smith, J Kennedy, Bert Brown-Parker and M. Lane (captain).  [The article also listed the Queensland team].

Loel, Phelan, Hudson, Preston, Brown-Parker, Lane, Clarke and the two Fergusons were singled out for good play by the Brisbane Press.

It is perhaps noteworthy, that the majority of the players in the team and each of whom paid two pounds ten shillings (in today’s terms with inflation this equates to $184.00) towards the expenses of the trip, were overlooked by the selectors in 1929, when Queensland beat N.S.W. after a splendid game at the S.C.G.  The team was given a rousing sendoff at Central Station by officials and friends who were there in numbers as the 7.33pm train slowly steamed out of the station.  Such was the enthusiasm of the1934 June 3 - Qld v NSW @ Perry Park - 2(2) small supporters with their streamers etc. it took the conductor until Gosford to clean up the bunting. (how times change…)

The N.S.W. team contained Reg Garvin, who would later go on to play for then captain and coach St Kilda FC.  Also Jack Williamson who won four Phelan Medals and Jimmy Stiff, of whom we have written so much.

The coach of the N.S.W. team in 1934 was Dave Ryan.

“Dave Ryan has been for the past few seasons the coach of the Sydney club and his methods have proved to be very successful, judging from the position the Sydney Club generally occupies in the premiership table.

His association with the National Code dates back quite a long while.

For many years he was associated with the famous Collingwood Football Club (played 101 games between 1906-12).  Since his arrival in Sydney he has associated himself with the Sydney Club.

Its strange to note the jumpers worn by the N.S.W. players which were red, white and blue.  It is very doubtful that these were club jumpers, given that this period was deep in the 1930s depression and money was scarce.  The Eastern Suburbs FC of the day wore a different jumper design.  Both the jumpers and socks look to be in new condition and were again worn later in the year when N.S.W. again played Queensland at the SCG.  They were never worn again by the state team.

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.

Significant Date Passes This Week

1914 Carnival Advertisement SMH 5-8-1914 smallWorld War I started one hundred years ago this week and we should not let the opportunity pass without paying homage to those Sydney footballers who served.

I am guessing here that most football and other sporting competitions around the nation will permit the day to roll by without so much of a murmur or thought about any of their number who enlisted for WWI, those perhaps who were killed or returned maimed, resulting in their inability to continue to play.

In 1914 Sydney had six clubs: Newtown, Sydney, South Sydney North Sydney (Shore), East Sydney and Paddington.  Only one is left today.

When the war was announced, with the time difference, the ball was being bounced on the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first game, in the third All-States National Carnival.

Ralph Robertson, the very well respected 32 year old Sydney footballer in the first decade of the last century, captained NSW.  It was his 35th appearance for the NSW and/or Sydney since 1903.  He had captained the state in the two previous national carnivals, 1908 in Melbourne and 1911 in Adelaide and was a product of St Kilda FC in 1899-1900.

He played in four of the five games for NSW in August 1914 then enlisted, citing his previous experience in the Militia as a criteria for early enrolment.  He was joined by fellow state team member Teddy McFadden and later Tom Watson from the North Sydney Club.  They all sailed to New Guinea with the little known or recognized, Australian Naval and Military Expedition Force.  This was not a big contingent but their involvement with the then German New Guinea, helped in the capture of the province.  The trio were back in Australia by February 1915.

All three eventually went to Europe.  Robertson resigned from the Australian force to take up a commission in the British Army.  He later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and was killed in a training accident in 1917 when the plane he was flying collided with another over Egypt.

Tom Watson went on to Gallipoli where he was killed in August 1915.

Teddy McFadden (pictured), a former South Sydney player, signed on with the 1st AIF in April 1915 and his involvement proved to be a whole different kettle of fish than the former two.

He was posted overseas in June 1915.  Right from the start he found himself in strife, receiving unit punishment for menial indiscretions.

He changed Corps and was promoted and demoted finally finishing up in the VD Hospital at Bulford, England where he was placed on the Syphilis Register in May, 1917.  He remained there for over 3 months until eventually deserting from the army only to pop up again and living in Darlinghurst, a suburbs of Sydney, in 1922.  He wasn’t the only WWI serviceman to suffer from this virtually incurable disease.  Many Australians suffered the same fate.

Because of his desertion, he was cut-off from any Government assistance and tagged an Illegal Absentee and officially discharged from the army in 1920.

They were not keen to have anything to do with Teddy.  He was not awarded any medals, apart from a service medal for his involvement in the New Guinea campaign, not Europe.Teddy McFadden cropped 1 smaller

He married in 1926 then slipped into obscurity.

There were others too, most returned but some never stepped a foot back into Australia again.  A minority, like Jacky Furlong, a Newtown player, who returned with a missing thumb and Les Mitchell, an East Sydney player who was wounded by shrapnel.  Both played again in Sydney, Furlong at 29 and Mitchell, 26.

And yet there were others:  Jim McInnes, a Sydney FC player who died of measles or Edward Dennis Hickey, former Newtown captain coach, then Sydney player, who was invalided back to Australia with arthritis.  Several others who played again, like many of their era, just slipped into anonymity.

To honour the time and those who served, the History Society is producing a book on the effect World War I had on Sydney football.  It has an anticipated release date immediately prior to Anzac Day, 1915.

This publication is not a book of empty, pathetic rhetoric.  It is about real people and real events.  Young men who played football in Sydney and in other parts of Australia who served in what was called the Great War.  Also though, it is about footballing events in Sydney before, during and after the conflict.  This book will comprise part of the country’s official Centenary of ANZAC as a lasting legacy to the period and those who served.

If you are interested in football history, this limited production book is a MUST for your collection.  There is a progress link on the front page of this website.

HOW MANY REP GAMES CAN YOU PLAY?

Mick Grace smallNSW normally participates in one or two interstate games a year.  This then placates the representative faction so domestic football can continue.

However in 1910, the NSW Football League played an incredible eleven representative games over a six week period which restricted their home and away games and pushed the finals deep into September.

On three occasions during the season, the league had to field two representative teams on the same day just to fulfill their obligations.

It was no secret that the NSW Football League were poor managers of their finances and continually finished their seasons in the red.  The main reason for this was that many games were played on Moore Park, which was and still is an open and unfenced arena near Sydney central.  They might well have attracted 2-3,000 spectators to these free games but it didn’t reflect in the finances of the league when they were the ones who manned and took the gate.

Fortunately the league entered the 1910 season with a very rare surplus of one hundred and twenty three pounds ($246.00), thanks to a round robin series between South Melbourne, Geelong, Collingwood Clubs plus the NSW League state team in Sydney the previous year.  The then VFL clubs made no claim on the gate and left the entire amount with the league.

Queensland games were one source of continuing wastage.  Games would attract a poor crowd when they played in Sydney and conversely a big-hearted NSW would not make a full claim on the gate at their Brisbane matches.  In 1910, NSW played Queensland twice, once in Brisbane and an additional match in Sydney. In the middle of all these games, Queensland too played Riverina in Sydney, but were easily outclassed.

DATE

VENUE

NSW Team

Local Team Score

RESULT

OPPOSITION

SCORE

1910-06-11

Erskineville Oval

NSW

12-7 (7(9)

Lost

Nth Adelaide FC

18-12 (120)

1910-06-11

Brisbane

NSW

9-15 (69)

Won

Queensland

5-7 (37)

1910-06-15

Erskineville Oval

NSW

6-6 (42)

Lost

Nth Adelaide Fc

10-14 (74)

1910-07-30

Erskineville Oval

Comb Metro

9-11 (65)

Won

Nth Broken Hill FC

9-8 (62)

1910-08-10

Erskineville Oval

NSW

19-12 (128)

Won

Geelong FC

16-12 (108)

1910-08-13

Erskineville Oval

NSW

11-3 (69)

Lost

Geelong FC

16-12 (108)

1910-08-13

Erskineville Oval

NSW

6-8 (44)

Lost

Fitzroy FC

6-17 (53)

1910-08-17

Erskineville Oval

NSW

6-11 (47

Lost

Fitzroy FC

9-14 (68)

1910-08-20

Erskineville Oval

NSW

10-14 (74)

Won

Queensland

5-11 (41)

1910-08-20

Erskineville Oval

Comb Metro

13-21 (99)

Won

Riverina

8-4 (52)

1910-08-27

Erskineville Oval

Comb Metro

14-22 (106)

Won

Riverina

4-11 (35)

In this year the NSW League employed the services of Mick Grace as coach.  He was a very well known VFL footballer who had played with Fitzroy, Carlton and also St Kilda, the latter in a captain-coach capacity.

Grace lived in Sydney for almost two years, coaching NSW.  In 1911 he coached the state at the National Carnival ion Adelaide, but when he took ill, Grace returned to Melbourne where he died a year later from tuberculosis at the age of 37.  Although he was in the employ of the league, it is unknown who actually paid his salary but considering the league finished 1910 with a debt of one hundred and sixty six pounds ($332.00), the revenue stream of which included all the rep games, most h & a and finals – some of which attracted crowds in their thousands, it is difficult to say that they did not.

The acquisition of Erskineville Oval in 1910 was a real bonus for the league.  For the most part, it was the only ground where a gate could be charged with the then three remaining weekly fixtures played at different venues on the expansive Moore Park.

The league put up one hundred pounds ($200) to the trustees of Erskineville Park as rent in advance for the facility. (In that era, the old Erskineville Oval was located more west of the present site, about where the Department of Housing flats are situated with an east-west configuration.)

1966

19661966 could be judged as just another year in Sydney football.  The footy system went on as normal but we take a deeper look at the season which is just 48 years ago.

Wests won the flag before a crowd of 7,000 at Trumper Park, Sydney Naval’s Norm Tuxford took out the Phelan Medal, Don McKenna an army recruit from the St George club booted 71 goals to win the first grade Leading Goalking Award, the league returned a (never to be repeated) profit of $2,575 on the Football Record, Eastern Suburb’s Roy Hayes, was made life member of the league, a junior competition was started in the Balmain-Ryde area which included North Ryde, Ermington, Pennant Hills-Normanhurst as well as a Balmain junior club and long term league secretary, Ken Ferguson once again took the reigns at the league, this time in a fulltime capacity.

The league consolidated their newly acquired premises at 64 Regent Street Chippendale, (a photo of which now adorns the website front page in a rotating banner) and again recorded their recognition and appreciation for its purchase to the Western Suburbs Licensed Club.  Sydney Naval and Eastern Suburbs clubs, separately, had their applications for a licensed rejected by the Licensing Court.

A direct and live broadcast (albeit of the second half) by Channel 7 of the Western Suburbs v Sydney Naval game on June 4 game gave the code a lift while East’s captain-coach, Alan Gray was transferred to Wagga prior to the end of the season, upsetting the club’s plans for the finals  Souths had a foreign legion in the senior side which only contained three locals.

Junior players in the state’s Under 15 training squad included Jack Slade (Newtown), Phil Fenny (Wests), Paul Paitry (Easts), Chris Bucko and Paul McCook (St George) were some who would go on to play senior football in Sydney.  Peter Hastings, SC, QC, former Tribunal Chairman who now heads the NSW Crime Commission, was president and player of the Sydney University Club.

Forty-two year old, Jack Armstrong, The Black Fella, retired from umpiring.  Incidentally the Society is working on a story of this once legend of Sydney football which will be published soon.  Ellis Noack was captain-coach of the Southern Districts club.  St George moved to their new home on the site of a former quarry which became Olds Park.  In the rules of the game, the flick-pass was ditched.

History Society president, Ian Granland, began his long journey in football administration when elected secretary of the South Sydney club at age 17 and Vice President, Bill Carey, played his 100th consecutive first grade game for Balmain.

Former VFL umpire and Sydney Naval Coach, Bill Quinn, who went on to become a wonderful supporter of the Sydney Swans club, was appointed coach of the NSW Umpires Assn.  And who could not forget the appointment of Ray Catherall as Sydney Naval’s coach.  Ray, a restauranteur,  had Mother’s Cellar and Moby Dicks restaurants at Kings Cross in his stable.  He gained international notoriety by playing ‘soothing’ music to his players in the change rooms at half time breaks.  He only last one season at the club only to move on to coach Sydney University the following year.

However one of the biggest and least remembered events of the season was the umpiring furore at Trumper Park on July 10 when NSW played North Melbourne.

Our last featured photograph prompted a few memories when, in the days of one (central) umpire, the then Umpires’ Assn secretary and the 1965 Sydney grand final umpire, Len Palmer, was ‘unappointed’ from the game and replaced by VFL umpire, Stan Fisher.

We contacted the Ettalong based Palmer to get the real story.

KilligrewHe said he was at the ground and had begun to change into his umpiring attire when Kangaroo’s coach, the 168cm former St Kilda dynamo, Alan Killigrew (pictured) told officials that “he would not let his boys be umpired by someone from a football outpost like Sydney.”  When asked to be reasonable about the matter and that the 31 year old Palmer, who was after all,  was straight off the VFL Reserves Umpiring list in 1964 and quite competent of handling the match, but the volatile Killigrew refused and stood his ground.

Minutes before the start of the game, Sydney officials had no choice but to capitulate.

Palmer said he had been told before the match that a VFL umpire was at the ground but he did not know his identity.  North Melbourne had brought Fisher to Sydney for the game but there appeared to be no prior communication on the appointment between the two organising parties.

Fisher, who began his VFL umpiring career in 1963 and by then had umpired over 40 league games, was embarrassed about the controversy and suggested to Palmer that they eac do one half.  Palmer could see the problems this could cause and declined his offer.  He then sat on the sideline as the reserve umpire but joined in the after-match hospitality at the Wests Club.

NSW was soundly beaten 20.17 (137) to 7.11 (53).  And incidentally, several current members of the Society were in that NSW team including Brian Tyler, Denis Aitken and Peter Burgess.

As a show of their support for Palmer, the league had sent him to Canberra only weeks before to umpire the Queensland v ACT game at Manuka Oval.  He 1966 NSWANFL 1st Semi Final 1 smallalso umpired the 1966 Sydney Grand Final before he retired from umpiring due to his work in the TAB.

When asked if he had any regrets he said no, “Football gave me a great journey through life and I have made some wonderful friends.  I wouldn’t change a thing” he replied.

Our photograph shows Len Palmer taking the field for the 1966 Sydney Grand Final at Trumper Park.  Note the crowd.  The footballs the umpires had in their hands were used for bouncing and throw-in practice.  None was the match ball.

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