An Introduction to Charles Boyles
The website is centred around the photos of Charles Boyles, a Melbourne-based photographer. Boyles primarily took photos of Australian Rules Football teams and players. He appears to have started this football work in the late twenties. He continued through the 1930's, the years of the Second World War, and then right up to his final photos in the early sixties.
Unlike most commercial photographers, Charles Boyles did not wait for customers to come to him. Boyles set up his camera on training nights, and on game days took posed team photos after the players had run onto the ground. These were sold directly to the clubs, players and general public. On Saturdays, at the games, the photographer's son Harley Boyles (and others) would take a satchel of mixed photos and sell them throughout the game. Unlike newspaper photos, therefore, a Boyles photo was something you could own, take home, and treasure.
There are no action shots or photos of games in progress. Boyles specialised in team photos and player portraits, with the players looking directly to camera. Today these photos are used by clubs, by family historians, and by those interested in football history. They often appear uncredited in football history books.
Boyles did not restrict himself to the leading football competition of his era, the Victorian Football League. During his working life he attended many different competitions. He covered the VFA, Wartime Services matches, the various Victorian workplace competitions, the Sunday leagues, and other competitions.
Learn More about the Life of Charles Boyles
Read Ken's article on the methods, motives and life of Charles Boyles. The article includes notes from an extensive interview with Harley Boyles about his father. See Charles Edward Boyles: From Tripod to Website.
Website Aims and Objectives
This website contains work by two independent researchers, Ken Mansell and Michael Riley. Our objective is to share our own passion for history and provide a friendly resource for family historians, football buffs and others who have an interest in the Charles Boyles photos and more generally in football photography from the 1920's to 1960's.
A Football History Website
This site has grown to cover more than just football photos. There is an amazing amount to explore. You can start with articles, player pages, ground pages, team and league pages as well as information on players careers outside football.
All Football Photographers Not Just Charles Boyles Photos
This site contains photos from many of Boyles's contemporaries. These contrast Boyles's style, and add to an understanding of sport, photography, and the football of the time.
Football Outside the VFL
Charles Boyles took photos of VFL teams, but also took photos of VFA teams, Workplace Teams and teams in Junior Leagues. Also, for many players the VFL was just a small part of their footballing story. This site attempts to build a picture of the football world during Boyle's working period. This world is worth explored through articles and the pages thoughout the website.
Sources of Images on this Website
We are not associated with any library or institution. We have received permission from a variety of people and institutions to include their images on this particular website. Each photo is labelled as to it's source. Please contact the relevant source for permission to reproduce any images.
We credit the photographer and the photo source wherever possible,
Sit yourself down in a cosy chair in front of the fire and transport yourself back to 1957 and experience the joys of an 11-year-old Geelong supporter and his statistical exercise book. Ted Hopkins never did it like this.
It is more than 100 years ago since James* ( better known as ‘Jimmy’ ) Freake pulled on a Fitzroy guernsey to play his first VFL game against South Melbourne at the Lake Oval in 1912. *Note: His name is given as ‘Jimmy’ in the AFL records and so it shall be for the purposes of this story.
Francis Doherty never soared like Alex Jesaulenko to take a breath-taking mark in a VFL Grand Final but he has managed to produce something equally exciting – the most breath-taking book about football memorabilia in the history of the game.
You may have stared at an old photo and thought there must be a story behind the anonymous faces looking back at you. Ken has written about how we discovered the story behind one of the most mysterious Boyles football team photos in the State Library of Victoria Collection.
Disclosing the layers of meaning in one particularly curious photo, the article provides an insight into the twists and turns of how football team photos are identified.
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?
The 1947 Victory Carnival was held in Hobart and was the first Carnival conducted by the Australian National Football Council since the end of World War Two. It was also the first Carnival since 1933 where the 'B' Division teams had a chance to play. Poor weather caused disappointing attendances, and a muddy playing surface. It was no surprise that the Victorian Football League team was victorious, but the VFL did lose twice - once to Western Australia, and once (after the conclusion of the Carnival) to a combined South Australia/Western Australia team.
Peter Brown is an unsung footballer from the 1920’s and 1930’s. Peter’s story includes the periods in the VFL, VFA, Country football and later as a trainer, it includes individual achievements such as three premiership medals with Northcote in the VFA, to lows such as injuries and permit troubles at Footscray. Peters family scrapbook helps tell a fascinating story.
Historical Articles (Reprinted)
In this, the twelfth of a series of football dramas, is described Prahran's great 1909 team, and its tragic failure to win the Association premiership.
Packed with hilarious incidents, it stand as the most comical football “match” that ever convulsed a crowd. Such was that burlesque, Victoria v. Queensland, at the Hobart Carnival in 1924.
Jack Worrall, (Fitzroy player, Carlton/Essendon Coach), Test Cricketer and journalist, looks back at forty years of football. The original articles from 1923-24 appear over a number of weeks. (Formatting and sub-headings have been added to make to article easier to read.)
HAPPY is the football club with a good centre man. He can constantly put his team into attack. He can also be a defender. When the ball is bounced he often acts as a rover, and, as he and his immediate opponent stand on either side of the rucks, there are frequently openings in those periods. When the play moves on the two centre men watch each other closely, and frequently engage in hotly contested duels.