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An Introduction to Charles Boyles

Charles Boyles SLV2008.122/451 (Cropped) Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Charles Boyles SLV2008.122/451 (Cropped) Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection

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.

The appearance of an image on this website does not mean that it is public domain. Although many (not all) photos are out of copyright, many images are available here under 'Terms of Use' agreements with the relevant organisation.

We credit the photographer and the photo source wherever possible,



Recent Articles

CATAPULT – On Top And Loving It (1950-1956)

Author: Ken Mansell - Published At: 2017-10-07 09:01 - ( Reads)
GEELONG IN THE FIFTIES
CHAPTER ONE:
After struggling for success in the immediate post-war period, Geelong Football Club had risen to the top of the VFL ladder by 1951 and dominated the competition for several years. This article describes the fortunes of the Cats in the period from 1948 to 1956 and is the first of three detailed articles tracing Geelong's rise, fall and rise again in the decade of the fifties.

CATASTROPHE – Winning the Wooden Spoon (1957-1958)

Author: Ken Mansell - Published At: 2017-10-06 13:59 - (221 Reads)
GEELONG IN THE FIFTIES
CHAPTER TWO:
This article is a continuation of Ken's forensic examination of Geelong Football Club's matches in the 1950's. Here we see Geelong plummet to the bottom of the VFL ladder. A neglected period of Geelong's history.

CATACOMB – Struggling Along in the Gloom (1959)

Author: Ken Mansell - Published At: 2017-10-05 17:57 - (135 Reads)
GEELONG IN THE FIFTIES
CHAPTER THREE:
The story of Geelong continues. After two years at the bottom of the VFL ladder the Cats began to rise again. Thirteen-year-old Ken was ready with his notebook and pencil. Here, displayed before you, are all the facts and figures of a more promising year.

Random Articles

From Tripod to Website

Author: Ken Mansell - Published At: 2012-07-05 10:27 - (14746 Reads)
Ken's article here draws on his 2010 interview with Harley Boyles. It provides biographical material about the photographer Charles Boyles, an introduction to the Boyles collections, and a perspective on the 'hidden history' of the Boyles photos.

Alex Gurney - Cartoonist

Author: Michael Riley - Published At: 2015-01-01 12:00 - (5007 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.



Historical Articles (Reprinted)

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Great Football Dramas—No. 8 Association Coup which Brought 40,000 to the M.C.G. £1000 Gate for Final

Author: P. J. MILLARD ("Short Pass") - Published At: 2016-08-06 12:43 - (1297 Reads)
In this the eighth of a series of football dramas is described the Association’s greatest coup of 1908, by which, in American Fleet Week, they secured the Melbourne Cricket Ground on a public holiday for their final match, and attracted a crowd of 40,000 and a £1000 “gate” – both records that still stand.



Examples of Boyles Photos

Kew Sub Districts 1939 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Kew Sub Districts 1939 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
North West Suburbs Police Team circa 1935 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
North West Suburbs Police Team circa 1935 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Carlton Seconds, 1956 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Carlton Seconds, 1956 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Bob Wilkie - St Kilda - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Bob Wilkie - St Kilda - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Rose, Bob (SLV 122_188) - Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Rose, Bob (SLV 122_188) - Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Hale, Jack (SLV 122_137) - Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Hale, Jack (SLV 122_137) - Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection


Do you have a Boyles Photo?

Read Michael's article on characteristics of Boyles photos that may help you identify one in your own collection. See Identifying Boyles Photos - Style and Format of Charles Boyles Photographs.


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Ken and Michael are proud members of the Australian Football Heritage Group (AFHG)
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This site is an independent creation. Site content and views expressed are personal and are not endorsed by the AFHG.

Read our comments regarding Sharing Your Football Memorabilia - Donating Items to your Club

Matches

Boyles Photos by Year//Interesting Games
1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

Outside Football

General links to footballers' occupations and links to other sports.
Links to Outside Football

Quizes