Williamstown Senior Team 1940 (SLV 122_123)

Charles Boyles Collection SLV


Link to Photo at SLV Website
SLV Accession no. H2008.122/123

Team: Williamstown (VFA)
Location: Toorak Park (Armadale)
Date: 1940

Arthur Cutting - back row, far left
Ron Todd - back row, second from left
Norm Chisholm - middle row, third left
Harry Vallence - middle row, fifth left
Eric Glass - middle row, far right
Cliff Johnson - front row, far left


The State Library website, circa early 2010, originally identified this team as Richmond (VFL). It is certainly not Richmond.
Initially, I concluded this to be a Williamstown team from the 1940 era because Williamstown’s two champion VFL imports are seen - Ron Todd is in the back row (second from left) and Harry Vallence is in the middle row (fifth from left) - and the player standing beside Todd is Williamstown star Arthur Cutting (extreme left top row). Also because the guernseys worn here appear to be the same as the guernseys worn by the 1932 Williamstown team shown in SLV Photo (H2008.122/208). Williamstown in this era were very strong. The club had won the 1939 VFA premiership after having won the wooden spoon in 1938!

I then, upon further inspection, began to doubt this hypothesis. The players are wearing black shorts, suggesting a 'home' game. However, the grandstand with the ‘port-holes’ is not Williamstown’s, but Prahran’s old 1909 grandstand (demolished 1966) at Toorak Park. If this was a Willy team at Prahran, they would have white shorts.

Provisionally, therefore, I concluded this is a Services team, photographed in the 1942-43 period. Todd, of course, did play for war-time Services/RAAF teams (see, for example, SLV Photo H.2008. 122/241). Two other players shown in this photo (SLV 122/123) also appear in SLV 122/241: Eric 'Tarzan' Glass, the player on the extreme right-hand side of the middle row; and Cliff Johnson, the player on the extreme left of the front row. In addition to all this seemingly conclusive evidence pointing to a Services team, I discovered Cutting had become a permanent member of the Air Force in 1936. (He must have been a very good footballer - in 1938 he won both the VFA Medal and the Recorder Cup). I also noted military uniforms in the crowd.

Such however are the labyrinthine byways of science, I was forced to retreat to my original hypothesis - definitely Willy! Firstly, I could not find any reference to Harry Vallence having played in Services matches. The clincher though was the discovery that Williamstown played a Preliminary Final at Toorak Park in 1940. Williamstown would usually wear white shorts in away matches, but this would not be a rule in a finals match.

The black shorts worn here do lead to the conclusion that this is indeed a photo from the 1940 VFA Preliminary Final. A match report for the match can be found here:

Association PRAHRAN WINS PRE-FINAL. (1940, September 30). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11314144

Friday Team Lists for the Preliminary Final
Argus 27 Sep 1940 p14
Argus 27 Sep 1940 p14

No heading. (1940, September 27). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 14. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page609348

Further Work Needed

Images 122_123 – Williamstown Senior Team 1940 and 122_109 – Williamstown Senior Team 1940 initially appear identical, but there are slight differences - for example, the player in back row (far right) looks to camera in 122/109.

Front row, far left - Cliff Johnson
Cliff Johnson

Middle row, far right - Eric Glass
Eric Glass

Middle row, third left - Norm Chisholm

Middle row, fourth left - presumably 1939-41 Williamstown captain Gordon Ogden. Ogden had played for Melbourne in the VFL (1928-37). Upon reflection, this might not be Ogden in the middle row of the Boyles photo. The captain had been absent from some previous games with a broken collarbone, and he is not named in the team list above.Compare his image here to a much older football card:
Gordon Ogden

WilliamstownPlayerIdentifications 600thumb
WilliamstownPlayerIdentifications 600thumb

Duplicates - Near Identical Photos

122_123 – Williamstown Senior Team 1940 - This image
122_109 – Williamstown Senior Team 1940

Crowd Dislikes Umpiring. (1941, September 12). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70712928

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