by J. T. Dixon for "The Evening "Star."

Part 1 reprinted from:

"Football" The Evening Star (Boulder, WA)
30 May 1912: 4. Web. 11 Aug 2017

The discovery of gold at Coolgardie (now called the "Old Camp") led to many new games being played where some few months previous to Bailey's arrival, I suppose the only visible kind of sport would be a grasshopper fight, and then only if there had been rains in the early spring. However, in 1894, the first Australian football was played on these fields; and Coolgardie can be credited with having the first team of ballers in this part of the State. Here are a few names of the good old sports who introduced the game and. were great supporters: —Messrs. W. Faahan, Geo. Purdy, Ted Ivory, Tom Cunningham, ''Jack' Boileau, H. McCormack; and 'Smallpage; perhaps a few others -whom I forget also helped to build the game up.

From Dpt Of Mines Colony Of WA Goldfields Map 1898 Slwa B2239400 104
From Dpt Of Mines Colony Of WA Goldfields Map 1898 Slwa B2239400 104

The First Association

The First Association was formed in Coolgardie in 1895 Mr. Faahan was the first president, and I think Jack Boileau was the first secretary. Four clubs entered, the Rovers, Bayleys, Unions, and the Stragglers. The matches were played where now stands the Exhibition Buildings, or, at the present time. 1 understand it has been turned into a technical school. Large crowds every Sunday could be seen journeying along Bayley-street towards the. flat, as it was then called, to witness the matches; fences were unknown in those days, and when the games became interesting the onlookers would crowd round the players and at times I have seen a string of players on a smaller area than one of our streets. . The -umpires' duties were

Of a Very Delicate Nature.

and some good judgment was required to ascertain whether the players were on or off the ground. The game in those days was what our young folk would now call "All in," and there no doubt it was all in. The Unions won the premiership, Ernie Leighton had the honor of being captain, and a good skipper he was; he was also a fine- player. Ernie afterwards went East, and played some fine games with Geelong. Among the best players at this time may be mentioned Billy Hodges, who left the fields only a few days ago; Jack Leckie, Jock Tyson, Jim Graham, Archy Smith, A. P.and H. McCormack, G. Edwards, Hope Nicholson (now managing one of B M. and Co.'s mines), Charlie Brown, Lavery, Currie, Bobbins, Vic. Watts (who was afterward killed in the Persy at Hannans), Carthew, Don Mills, and "Bud" Dairies. The game bad improved, and this season saw some fine matches. The Civil Service club was formed. The public at this time took great interest in the game. One was safe in saying that the service team was

One of the Best that ever Played these Fields

The following players were then at best, and played for this club:—Charlie Jarvis, M. Bond, Sumpter, J. McCormack, Langdon, Jackson, Lackie, Hammond Robbie, Kearney, Coulls, Brown, Stan Hussey. Alex. Clarke and Tompson. The first goldfields team to visit the coast made the trip this season, Jack Boileau being manager, while Jack Leckie held the position of captain. The team did not win a game of any kind. Lovers of the sport could. not understand this. but on the return of the boys the manager explained the position, and once again goldfields' supporters considered players on the fields just as good, if not better than those who were playing at that time on the coasts. The C S.D. for the trip was made up by the supporters of the game, and between £250 and £300 was raised. What a difference one finds when

Trying to Raise the "Wind"

now for football! Fancy being able to raise £250 at present from supporters on the fields! In passing, one can say the amount raised. as expended, plus what it cost Jack Boileau out of his own pocket, or in those days Jack could "Go" On the teams return they played a game at Hannans (now Kalgoorlie) on the occasion of the opening of the Kalgoorlie Brewery. In 1896 the rovers won the premiership, going the full season without a defeat. The best men for the Rovers were Vic. Watts, O. Hyman, Rowell, “Bob" Robbie. Caulfield and James.

Part 2 reprinted from

"Football" The Evening Star (Boulder, WA)
4 June 1912: 3. Web. 11 Aug 2017

In 1896 Hannans became the place where not only were footballers, but all other kind of athletes making for. Coolgardie, had to a certain extent dropped back, and with the rush to Hannans most of the good 'ballers found their way as one would hear in those days "up the track" (Hannans) Owing to the great rush to Hannans the game in Coolgardie witnessed a decline, but despite that some fine games were played at the latter place, and Coolgardie could always place a good team in the field. Meanwhile the game had been gaining strength at Hannan's and Boulder, and in this year the first Association was formed, three clubs contesting the premiership—Hannans, Boulder, and Victorians. Some great games were played, and it was pleasing for those who took an interest in' what was then called the Victorian game to see the great number of supporters who rolled upon the Sunday to witness the matches. The leading players this season' were
"Butcher" Rouse, Power, 'Tack’ Metherall. J. Polglaise, for Boulder; "Taffy" Thomas, 'Toby’ Clarke (from Ballarat) and Watson for the Victorians. while
Albert Schwann (afterwards a fine umpire for the Goldfield's Association), H. Beaton, Seymore, Smith, -and Myers for Hannans, who won the premiership.

In 1897 there were seven teams in the Association: White Feather, Brittania, Rovers, Boulder, Bulong, Victorians, and Hannans. A sad ending to this season was the death of a number of the premier team as the result of a pneumonia epidemic.
  • For the Rovers the best men were Whelan, Banner, "Jack" Tyson, "Sandy' Hyman, Riley, Sandy, Adair, McQuarrie, Roberts, C. Gregory, and Ernie Leighton.
  • For Hannans "Punch" Liddlelow, "Sis" Graeme, M. Fox, McIntyre, "Jim" Cullen, J. Bowe, "Carbine" "Gnllen, R. Gullen, Atherton, and Alex McKenzie.
  • Boulder's best men were Jackson, Cox, Metherall, Williams, and Trivivian, for the Victorians Mitchell, Mundy, Trevallen, and Gilbert,
  • for White Feather (now called Kanowna) Dan Casey, Hardacre, and Money played a most important. part in the game at this time,

and players were brought from all parts of the Commonwealth. The final match for the premiership was played between Hannans and the Rovers, the scores being 7-16 to 8.2. There was a deal of dissatisfaction over the result, and after a few days the teams decided to play again. This game caused a good deal of interest and after a great battle the Rovers won by 7 points.

The following residents of the fields were at this time great enthusiasts: Messrs. Tom Powell J.M. Hopkins, Charlie Cutbush, L. Abrahams W.R. Murton (the present president of the League). Wallace, Brownlow, Hugh McKenzie, “Cemerit”, F. Murn, Harvey, Draper, “Cutty” Alexander and W. Milton

The rivalry between the clubs at this time was very keen. Several “gentleman” players, men whose sole occupation on the fields was to play football made their appearance at “Tattersall’s” and other hotels Tattersall’s at that time appeared to be the home of the footballer, and "Sid" Ward was a sort of a bad father to a number of the boys who honored “Sid” with their patronage. Among the notable players of this year may be mentioned: —
  • Joe Marmo, Bob. Robinson. W. Mclntyre, Ted Walton, the Lockwood Bros., Mitchell, Keast, Gilbert, Dave Williams, Rolent, "Punch" Liddlelow, -"Paddy" Lillis, and Alex. McKenzie for Hannans;
  • "Wopsy" Whelan, "Dookie" McKenzie, Fred Rolfe, Ted Rowell, Jenkins. Martin Bond, long Jack O'Connell, "Jock" Tyson, then at his best, Bob Hall, Green and Cahill for the cementers;
  • Vince Covacovitch (at present a boundary umpire for the league), J Gullen, Quinn, Coulls, Stains, O'Driscoll, T. Lockwood for the White Feather;
  • Vic. Watts, A. Williams, Oscar Hyman, Jack. Leckie, "Briggs” Jennings. “Barry” Wells (still playing good football in Victoria), “Tack” Metherall, E. Sloan, J. Charnley, J. Rouke for the Boulder City club.

Part 3 reprinted from

"GOLDFIELDS FOOTBALL." The Evening Star (Boulder, WA)
19 June 1912: 4. Web. 11 Aug 2017

In my previous article I mentioned a number of fine players. At this time the first of the inter-association matches were played, and resulted in a win for the Hannans Association, but he second match played at Kanowna was of such a suspicious character in the last quarter that it was subsequently declared "No Match." "The result was that these contests ceased for a year or two- The Boulder won the premiership this season, and they were a fine "side." He same year the Bonnivale team won the premiership at Coolgardie.

In the 1900 season a dispute arose between the Boulder City and the Hannans Association, and in consequence the Boulder City Club were disqualified for one year. (A record for Australia at that time, for I cannot call to mind any other club that ever had such a severe penalty imposed.) In those days there was just about the same amount of club interest shown as is shown at the present time. It was a matter of one club fighting the others, especially if it was a good club, as no doubt Boulder City was. The Mines Rovers, which included some resolute players, won the premiership during this year and the following years.

In 1901 an association was formed at Boulder, and several of the (City's players were distributed among the new clubs, which comprised the White Feather, Kanowna. Boulder, Warriors, and Mines United clubs. At this time Coolgardie sent a team into the association, which was called the Goldfields Association, which assumed the government of the game on the fields. The following clubs joined the association; - Mines, Trafalgar, Coolgardie, and Kalgoorlie (late Hannans). The Mines club again won the premiership, at that time the best team in the State, appropriated that of the Boulder Association. The Warriors visited the coast at the end of the season, but were beaten by East Fremantle, 12-16 to 4-5. The next season the Boulder association did not form, and the Warriors, Boulder City, and White Feather clubs joined the Goldfields Association.
At this time the Railways also put 18 into the field, and after a great contest won the premiership by two points against the Warriors, the Warriors beating the Boulder City by the same margin, 2 points. Among the men who were prominent at this time may be mentioned the following,

  • for Railways, who were premiers :- Charlie, George, and Jock Tyson, W. and A. Jarvis, Langford, Condon, Arundle, McCaughey, Diprose;
  • for Warriors, “Billy” Monagle (who afterwards proved a champion in the Eastern States), the best rover the fields has ever seen, Beasley, Metherall, Mills;
  • Boulder City, Hughie Gavin (a champion footballer, perhaps the best in Australia at the time), Jack Leckie, D. McKenzie, “Charger” Hallwood, R. Morgan, T. Gilbert, J. Noonan, R. Walton, J. O’Connell, R. Hall, Rowe, and Renfrey;
  • for the Mines, “Tohy” Letheridge (now one of the selectors of the team to visit the coast in July), O’Dea, F. Hiskins, Moore, Cahill, Betts, Kirkham, Ross, Green, Fox, Holland, F. Duncan,
  • Trafalgar’s best were: A.Orr, A. Nelson, Keast, Dean, Iles, Campbell, Lock, Walker, Mann, Butles.
  • Coolgardie, W. Gray, J. Kearney, E.Walton, F. Plumm, P. Sheedy, Woodlands, Treveavan, J.Bryant, J. Jarvis, Griffiths, Ogilvie, and J. Spargo.
  • Kalgoorlie’s best were Bowes, Caulfield, Daly, Scott, Temby, Bennitt, Danials, Krby, Adams, Edney, Brady and Baker.
  • White feather’s best were Cunningham, “Whopsy” Whelan, Dunlop, Pysing, Fullarton, Hampton, Nolan, Jenkyn, Partridge, Farrell, Johns, Taylor, Keegan, Ted Rowell, the second best forward who played at this time, Thurgood, or, as he was known “Albert the Great” being the first and only champion we have ever seen.

Rowell and Quinn left for the east at this time, and Rowell played some fine games with Collingwood, while Quinn played for Port Adelaide, and they both proved two champions in their respective clubs. A strange thing that these two players met each other, both being “flat out”. The exhibition shown by them was a real treat.

(To be continued)


Editors Notes:

The series of articles remained incomplete. Possibly because of the charges of stealing against the author.

The Evening Star Boulder 6 Aug 1912 P1 Alleged Stealing
The Evening Star Boulder 6 Aug 1912 P1 Alleged Stealing

Related Article

The Evening Star (Boulder) 21 June 1912: p4

To the Editor. Dear Sir,—I have read with interest the remark; of your contributor, Mr. J. T. Dixon, on early-day football on. the goldfields. Yet in each contribution several inaccuracies 'have been put in print. However, to-day's issue contains more than its predecessors, and I will therefore take the liberty of contradicting a few of the errors:
1. Your contributor states that Boulder City were disqualified for. one year, viz., 1901. ; Seeing :that the. disqualification was imposed early in the season 1900, and was for the "balance of that, and the whole of the following season, this could be called eighteen months.
2. In 1901 Boulder did form an opposition association of four, teams. No such team as "Mines United" existed, if my memory serves me rightly, and I was present at the Court Hotel when the association was formed.
3. Your correspondent's article states that Railways first joined the association ranks in 1901, whereas they had a team in the competition in season 1900, and were pronounced winners on one occasion only during the season.
4. In giving the names of players representing the various clubs at that time O'Connell and Hall are stated to have played with Boulder City, whereas "Honesty Sack" and "Rickety" Hall were staunch supporters and players of the Kanowna club.
5. Mr. Dixon states the Boulder Association did not form in 1902. They did, but losing Trafalgar, who decided to join the registered body, "they lost" a local ground, and were reduced to three clubs. This caused their undoing the following year (1903), Boulder City and Warriors were also admitted in the ranks of the association 1903, and seven teams fought out the premiership.
6. If the W.A. goldfields, as stated by your correspondent established a record in disqualifying Boulder City, they, however, equalled the performance a year or so later when they suspended for a term the Kanowna club, players, and officials for purloining the gate receipts of a match played at Pugtown between Kalgoorlie and Kanowna.
7. Your correspondent says that Barry Wells, who played at Kanowna in the early days, is still going strong in Melbourne. This is also an error. The Wells who is now playing so well in Melbourne is Jack of that ilk, who started his career at Trafalgar, afterwards going to the Kalgoorlie club, thence to St. Kilda (Vic.), later to Carlton; and at present considered one of the best in Victoria. In conclusion, I would like to ask when did your contributor became acquainted with goldfields football, or is his copy a reproduction of printed matter.—I am, etc.,

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 16 Sep 1897 Kalgooorlie Combined Team
Kalgoorlie Western Argus 16 Sep 1897 Kalgooorlie Combined Team

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 16 Oct 1900 Melbourne FC
Kalgoorlie Western Argus 16 Oct 1900 Melbourne FC

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 28 Oct 1902 Warriors FC
Kalgoorlie Western Argus 28 Oct 1902 Warriors FC

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 22 Sep 1903 Boulder City FC
Kalgoorlie Western Argus 22 Sep 1903 Boulder City FC

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 27 Jan 1903 Mines Rovers
Kalgoorlie Western Argus 27 Jan 1903 Mines Rovers

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 27 Oct 1903 P20 Railways
Kalgoorlie Western Argus 27 Oct 1903 P20 Railways

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Kalgoorlie Western Argus 20 Sep 1904 P24 Boulder City FC

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 27 Sep 1904 White Feather FC
Kalgoorlie Western Argus 27 Sep 1904 White Feather FC