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Articles - All Original

Introduction



Alex Gurney - Cartoonist

Author: Michael Riley - Published At: 2015-01-01 12:00 - (8085 Reads)
Alex Gurney was one of Australia's most famous cartoonists. He created the 'Bluey and Curley' strip which gained iconic status through the Second World War. His career, like that of many cartoonists included working the football beat. Gurney created the character of Fred for the Adelaide News and his cartoons from that short 1932-33 period are great examples of the art. For Victorian fans, Gurney illustrated the first 'Swans' emblem for South Melbourne. This article focuses on Gurney's football illustrations.

Bill Stephenson - Another Star From Sale FC

Author: Roger Spaull - Published At: 2014-12-01 16:34 - (8564 Reads)
Football fans never really saw the best of St Kilda’s Bill Stephenson as his career was cut short by cruel injuries. Like the legendary John Coleman, injury struck Bill in his prime and denied VFL followers the chance to see more of this talented champion from the Sale Football Club. This is the story of Bill Stephenson’s eventful football career with the Sale and St Kilda clubs.

The Hero from Orphanage - The Story of Len Johnson

Author: Roger Spaull - Published At: 2014-10-30 14:55 - (6945 Reads)
The story of Leslie Albert Johnson, better known as Len, is a tale of how one determined young man overcame hardship to become a ‘local hero’ with Essendon FC in his short VFL career. Len also left his mark as a country football coach, professional sprinter and a soldier who died on active service in Malaya in 1942.

Len’s story is uplifting but it is not without pathos and tragedy.

Ray Poulter - A Gifted Tiger Forward

Author: Roger Spaull - Published At: 2014-07-16 15:16 - (6530 Reads)
This is a story about Richmond’s star forward Ray Poulter who played 170 VFL games between the years 1945-1956.

It is hoped that that this story will remind football lovers of Ray’s dedicated and whole hearted efforts to lift Richmond FC in some of the toughest and most testing years in the club’s history.

Older readers will have little trouble in remembering Ray’s exploits on the football ground, while younger readers may wonder why they haven’t hear more about this rather gifted Tiger forward. Unfortunately, Ray is another notable footballer whose exploits have been dimmed with the passage of time.

H.V. ‘Vic’. Cumberland ~ A Giant of His Era

Author: Roger Spaull - Published At: 2014-06-15 20:30 - (8850 Reads)
At the time of writing (2014) Dustin Fletcher’s longevity in AFL football continues to amaze the football public. Even at the ripe old of 39 years of age, there are those who believe that Dustin is capable of playing next season. It is a remarkable achievement in modern day football. Time will tell but Dustin has written his name into the record books as one of the oldest players to play AFL football.

This story is about H.V. Cumberland who was 43 years and 50 days when he played his last game for St Kilda in 1920. The following account tells of the times, travels and achievements of the oldest player to have ever played at VFL/AFL level.

(L.F.) Reynolds (1897 - 1939) - Cartoonist/illustrator

Author: Michael Riley - Published At: 2014-06-09 13:33 - (12513 Reads)
Leonard Frank Reynolds (1897 - 1939) was not known as a football illustrator. But through his series of "Prominent Personalities" he drew a number of leading footballers of the late 1920's. These cartoons are a delight to the reader.

L.F. Reynolds also drew the Mr Melbourne cartoon strip, taking over from Jimmy Bancks in 1925.

Len Reynolds died tragically young in a motor car accident, but his cartoons continue his name.

Hal Gye - Football Cartoons

Author: Michael Riley - Published At: 2014-05-31 14:33 - (13059 Reads)
Hal Gye (1887–1967) was a cartoonist, commentator and writer. As a cartoonist he made comment on a number of issues of the day, including on football. Using Gye's cartoons, already accessible on the web, this article provides a brief profile of Gye as a football cartoonist and illustrates some of the themes he tacked, including player payment and crowd violence.

Margaret Berlowitz – Club President - Breaking Glass Ceilings

Author: Michael Riley - Published At: 2014-05-31 12:22 - (6493 Reads)
Women have played a prominent role in the history Australian Rules football. Women have provided key financial support, and have been supporters, fund raisers, organisers, taxi services and more.

In 2013, Peggy O’Neil at Richmond became the first women to be a VFL/AFL club president. Given history, she will be the first of many. But Peggy is certainly not the first woman to be an Australian Rules Football Club president…for that honour, we need to look nearly 100 years beforehand.

This is the story of Margaret Jane Berlowitz at Yarraville 1914-1922.

Official History of the VFL (Vietnam Football League) 1966-1971

Author: Stan Middleton - Published At: 2014-05-06 15:04 - (18783 Reads)
Stan Middleton has led the charge in recording the history of the ‘Vietnam Football League’ (in which he played), that was played at the Australian beachside base of Vung Tau 125kms from the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) from 1967-1971.

Scratch matches are always organised in the military, but the Vietnam football League was the most organised of the football competitions during the war and its story is a valuable piece of the history of football in the Armed Services and in the history of football outside Australia.

Today the Vietnam Swans (formed in 2003) play an annual ‘ANZAC friendship match’ each year on the nearest Saturday to ANZAC Day in Vung Tau on the same ground where many of the games during the war were played.

Stan has kindly allowed the publication of his, and the league’s story.

The Story of Peter Reville – The Champion of the Brown Coal Mine

Author: Roger Spaull - Published At: 2014-04-16 14:29 - (7024 Reads)
Peter Reville was a tough and colourful South Melbourne vice-captain who played for ten seasons (1925-34) with the Bloodstained Angels, including the 1932 and 1934 Grand Finals. He then moved to Coburg in the VFA, where he won the Recorder Medal. Reville also played two seasons with Fitzroy (1939-40).

Roger Spaull's biography below provides an insight into the life and times of a significant footballer.

Photos of Thomas Quinlan – Flemington CYMS

Author: Michael Riley - Published At: 2014-04-16 12:32 - (5583 Reads)
Neither Thomas Quinlan (left) nor his mate Clem (right) made it to the big leagues. But the Y.C.W. and C.Y.M.S. football were large and popular competitions, and Catholic Youth teams played sport all around the country. In Melbourne, Flemington was a strong team with a strong reputation.

Toms' Flemington photos taken from 1944-47 were taken just as the League Thirds (Under 19s) in 1946 and when North Melbourne won the inaugural premiership.

These snapshots supplied by grand-daughter Veronica Poynton provide a window into this forgotten world.

Origin of the Big-V

Author: Michael Riley - Published At: 2014-04-06 12:00 - (7633 Reads)
Years ago you had to crawl over cut glass to get one – Ted Whitten

Do we Victorians know the State Flower? The State Animal? or Coat of Arms? …but give us a dark blue jumper with a white ‘V’ on it and we instantly recognise it. There are few symbols as unifying or as potent in football or indeed in any sport in our State. But what is the origin of this jumper?

Class and Warfare: The MAFA and the VFL Seconds

Author: Michael Riley - Published At: 2014-04-04 15:00 - (13039 Reads)
The VFL Seconds officially started in 1919, but prior to that date the Metropolitan Amateur Football Association (MAFA) essentially provided an unofficial seconds competition. The decision to move from the MAFA based system to having an official Seconds competition was taken during the First World War.

The end of the University team in the League, the rise of the amateurs in the 1920’s and conflict over the WW1 fit into this story.

Laurie Shipp - Yallourn Football Club

Author: by Roger Spaull - Published At: 2014-03-14 11:43 - (7760 Reads)
For many footballers, their years in the Victorian Football League (VFL) were only one part of their careers. For some, the need to find employment outside the game meant they relocated to regional centres and became part of local football scenes.

This engaging article by Roger Spaull highlights the career of North Melbourne ruckman Laurie Shipp, and the three years (1954-56) Shipp spent with the Yallourn Football Club.

Raymond Morris - National Museum of Australia

Author: Ken Mansell and Michael Riley - Published At: 2014-03-13 19:25 - (5362 Reads)
Raymond Morris is a New Zealand artist and photographer who visited Australia in the late 1950's. We are delighted to have received permission to post some of his photos here. For more of Raymond's fine photos, please have a look at the National Museum of Australia's flicker page. This contains a wonderful collection of 226 of Morris’s photos taken during his Australian travels.

1914 - Football in Photos

Author: Michael Riley. Edited by Ken Mansell - Published At: 2014-02-01 12:35 - (8675 Reads)
The pictorial article below will afford a glimpse at Australian Rules football in the year of 1914. 1914 of course was the last football season before the full onset of the Great War and its catastrophic effects on the Australian population. The War interrupted sport and had a seriously disruptive impact on most football competitions. The War caused many Leagues to actually shut down altogether, and it created division in those that continued playing.

Thousands, indeed millions, of people were either killed, maimed, or mentally scarred, in the War. Those involved in football - players, officials and supporters - were hardly immune from the effects. Many managed to rebuild their lives after the War and were able to participate in, or contribute to, the dynamic 1920's. For football, the 1920's decade was very different from those that had preceded it. There were important changes in the rules, Leagues were restructured, and goal-kicking rates increased.

1914 will be remembered as the year the great Port Adelaide team, which had dominated the game in South Australia, defeated the VFL premiers Carlton in the very last Championship of Australia match. It will also be remembered for the demise of the University club in the VFL, and for the unfortunate timing of the Sydney (football) Carnival.



Football Street Names

Author: Michael Riley. Edited by Ken Mansell - Published At: 2014-01-20 19:16 - (8855 Reads)
Football has provided Australian suburbs with a significant number of street names. Streets named after footballers appear in clusters in some of our newer suburbs. Others appear beside football grounds.

This article is about some of these streets. Hopefully other people will contribute street names I have missed.

Doug Nicholls and the Football Hall of Fame

Author: Michael Riley. Edited by Ken Mansell - Published At: 2014-01-04 12:40 - (16470 Reads)
Doug Nicholls was undoubtedly one of the most important Australian Rules footballers of all time, but he receives little official recognition by the Australian Football League (AFL) and is not a member of the Australian Rules Football Hall of Fame (AFHoF).

During the era of the White Australia Policy (1901-1972), Doug Nicholls was one of the few indigenous players to overcome the barriers and succeed. During this period, some indigenous people downplayed their identity to reduce the problems they otherwise faced. Doug was different. He won respect as a footballer from the white crowds, and used that hard won identity to campaign for indigenous rights within the football community and more broadly throughout Australia.

This article illustrates Doug's achievements and asks the question: 'What is a significant contribution to Australian Rules Football?'

The Same Game, A Different Ball

Author: Michael Riley - Edited by Ken Mansell - Published At: 2013-11-10 11:39 - (15395 Reads)
Who invented the shape of the Australian Rules football? Which ball is 'THE' ball?

The shape of the Australian Rules football has evolved from the 1860's onward. Today's smaller balls are more consistent and accurate than the early larger footballs, but they do not travel as far. Changes have been small but continual and there have been many contributors.

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