INTRODUCTION

When football fans discuss the merits and stars of interstate football of yesteryear, minds usually turn to such names as Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer, Bill Hutchison, ‘Fos’ Williams, John Nicholls, Jack Sheedy, Ted Whitten , Denis Marshall, Bob Skilton, Barrie Robran, Bobby Shearman, Ron Barassi, Neil Kerley and Bill Wedding. Their reputations traversed state borderlines and all were national sports stars.

However, they were but ‘few of many’ who had won the right to wear interstate colours throughout the history of Australian football,

Among those Victorian players who have been often overlooked for their significant contribution to interstate football is Carlton’s champion ruckman Charlie Davey.

Charlie, who played 143 games for Carlton, represented Victoria on 17 occasions between 1929 and 1935. He is a classic example of a forgotten star of national football; and hopefully this story may serve as a reminder of Charlie’s undoubted ability and achievements in VFL and interstate football.

EARLY DAYS

It is known that when Charlie Davey was growing up, he lived in close proximity to Princes Park; and like many other children in the neighbourhood took an interest in the events and happenings at the Carlton Football Club.

As far as his schooling went, Charlie was a student at St Joseph’s Christian Brothers’ College in North Melbourne. In article in the Advocate in 1936, a list of former students, who went on to play VFL football, was published….

“Among ex-pupils of the college who were coached at school by the abovementioned old players, and reached senior ranks, are the following: R. Brew (Carlton), T. Fitzmaurice (Essendon, Geelong, North Melbourne),C. Davey (Carlton), A. Coghlan (Geelong….”

‘The Melbourne Advocate’ April 9th 1936 Page: 24.

It is also known that Jock McHale, Dan Minogue, Alan La Fontaine and Jack Wrout also attended St Joseph’s in their younger days.
Most references state that, from his earliest years, Charley Davey (born: 1908) had his heart set on playing for Carlton…

“ Charlie was a local lad, born only a couple of good drop-kicks away from the Carlton ground …Almost as soon as he could walk, he told his family that one day he would play for the Mighty Blues.” ‘Blueseum’ website.

However, this idea contradicts another trustworthy source which stated that Charlie was initially interested in umpiring football matches. It is written, that as a student at West Melbourne Technical School, Charlie ‘blew the whistle’ in some local games.

Whatever is the truth of the matter, it is known that after leaving school and despite being a talented cricketer and promising basketball player, Charlie opted to play football, with a neighbouring club, the Royal Rovers FC.

CHARLIE STARS AT CHELSEA

Several sources indicate that Charlie’s entry into VFL ranks was not at all straightforward. It is known that he trained with Carlton in 1926 but failed to ‘make the grade’; and was forced to look elsewhere for a game of football…

By his mid- teens he was tall and somewhat gangly when he presented himself for a trial with the thirds (Under 19's)…but to his dismay, he was told that he wasn't up to scratch, and to try his luck elsewhere. ‘Blueseum website.’

It is said that Carlton’s esteemed and highly successful Seconds XVIII captain/ coach, Jimmy Goonan (22 Senior VFL games), failed to appreciate Charlie’s potential and ‘sent him packing’…
“ …early attempt to play at Carlton was rejected by the reserves coach. One of his friends living nearby in Carlton suggested that Charlie travel to Chelsea where the neighbour’s uncle was president and he could actually be paid…’ ‘Holmesby & Main’ Page: 203.

No doubt Jimmy Goonan would have taken more than a passing interest in Charlie’s performances at the seaside club ( i.e. Chelsea); and according to 'Jumbo' Sharland of the Sporting Globe…

“…Charlie was invited to have a turn with the team at Chelsea. He kicked 96 goals in one season, and bagged no fewer than 15 in one match.” ‘Sporting Globe’ July 27th 1929 Page: 6.


Jimmy Goonan - 1923 Magpie Portraits of Leading Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Jimmy Goonan - 1923 Magpie Portraits of Leading Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Wallace Sharland No:70- 1933 Wills League Footballers - Larger Size Source:Australian Football Cards
Wallace Sharland No:70- 1933 Wills League Footballers - Larger Size Source:Australian Football Cards

As is often the case, when Charlie ‘exploded on the scene’ in suburban football, he became the centre of some serious attention by VFL scouts. One source stated that no less than five football clubs (Essendon, Footscray, Richmond, St Kilda and Carlton) monitored his performances and sought his signature. There is also some evidence that Preston (VFA) was interested to gain Charlie’s services.

Within in twelve months of being ‘summarily dismissed’ at Princes Park, Charlie Davey was very much a ‘wanted man.’

As mentioned previously, as a youngster growing up in close proximity to Princes Park, Charlie had his mind and heart set on playing with Carlton; and, when the club eventually ‘sounded him out’ , he had no hesitation in signing on with the Blues for the 1927 season.

CHARLIE STARS FOR THE CARLTON RESERVES

On his return to Princes Park, Charlie came under the adroit tutelage of Jimmy Goonan (see above); and he received an extensive apprenticeship in reserves grade football. Charlie was tall (189 cm) and in his formative years at CFC he played as a forward. In his very first VFL Seconds XVIII match it is believed that he kicked six goals.

CFC Second XVIII records are incomplete for that season but Charlie was prominent in several match reviews. It is known that he kicked (at least) two ‘bags’ of six goals during the 1927 season.

Note: In one match report he may have been confused with another young CFC player named ‘Davies.’

In the review of Carlton Seconds match against Geelong Seconds on May 21st, as posted on the ‘Blueseum’ website, the following is stated…

“…the coach got stuck into the Carlton players and at half time scores were level. The Blues got on top and in the last term and outclassed the visitors. 18 year old Charlie Davey showed all the poise of a much more experienced player.”


Sydney Mail 17 Aug 1927 P8 Davey And Todd
Sydney Mail 17 Aug 1927 P8 Davey And Todd


Charlie was also a member of the victorious Carlton Seconds team which defeated South Melbourne to take out the premiership in 1927. The game was played at the MCG and Carlton won by 19 points. Charlie was named among Carlton’s best; he kicked one important goal; and he was also reported by Umpire Petrie for elbowing Hogg (perhaps Syd) of South Melbourne.

Note: It is hard to ascertain the findings of the Independent Tribunal regarding that incident and further research is required in this matter.

A SPECTACULAR DEBUT IN VFL SENIOR FOOTBALL

Charlie was made to earn a place in the Carlton Senior team during 1927; and it was not until the ‘death knell’ of the season (Round: 18) that the selectors finally agreed that Charlie was ready for the next important step in his football. Charlie made his VFL debut against St Kilda at Princes Park in front of a sizeable crowd of 24,000 supporters on September 10th 1927.

Like a ‘bolt from the blue’, Charlie ( aged 19 years and 122 days ) put on an brilliant display at centre half forward ; and his efforts heartened the club officials and excited the Blues fans.

In a definitive exhibition at full forward, Charlie booted six goals and was instrumental in leading the Blues to a decisive 55 point victory. Carlton led by only two points at half time but dominated the proceedings in the latter stages of the game.

The final scores were: Carlton: 15.16. (106) defeated St Kilda: 7.9. (51).

Carlton’s goal kickers that day were: Charlie Davey 6, Horrie Clover 4, Percy Outram 4 and Harry Carter kicked one goal.

According to the ‘Sporting Globe’, Carlton’s better players were listed as: Fred Gilby, Alex Duncan, Horrie Clover, Vin Arthur, Charlie Davey, Harry ‘Soapy’ Vallence, Percy Outram and Maurie Connell. The comprehensive match review, as carried in the ‘Sporting Globe’, stated that…“Davey had proved a find…”

Fred Gilby- 1929 Griffiths Black Crow Footballers- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Fred Gilby- 1929 Griffiths Black Crow Footballers- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Alex Duncan- 1929 Griffiths Black Crow Footballers- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Alex Duncan- 1929 Griffiths Black Crow Footballers- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Horrie Clover- 1929 Griffiths Black Crow Footballers- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Horrie Clover- 1929 Griffiths Black Crow Footballers- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards

It was a remarkable start to VFL senior football for Charlie. However, the road ahead would have a few ‘potholes’; and Charlie’s ten year playing career at CFC would not be without some trials and tribulations.

Notes regarding Charlie’s debut match for Carlton…
(i) Carlton’s coach, Horrie Clover, played his 100th senior game for Carlton that day.
(ii) That match was Percy Outram’s last game for Carlton. Percy was recruited to Carlton from Kyabram/ Wesley College in 1925 and played 24 games with the Blues before transferring to St Kilda.
(iii) Vin Arthur had also played with St Kilda in 1926.
(iv) Allan Skehan made his VFL debut with Charlie that afternoon at the Princes Park Oval.
(v) An article regarding the outstanding VFL career of Alex Duncan can also be found on this website.

1927- FIRST SEMI FINAL

Charlie’s ‘big splash’ in the last round of the 1927 season, ensured that he not only played in the Seconds Final series ( see above ) but he won selection in the Senior XVIII line-up for the First Semi-Final against Richmond. The other two clubs in the finals that year were Collingwood and Geelong.

According to Graeme Atkinson’s account of the match, it was a physical affair as the acrimony, between the two traditional rivals, which had emanated in Round: 16, spilt over into that final. There were no ‘beg-your-pardons’ and the game was played with raw fervor and high intensity. Charlie Davey would have seen another side of life and sport that day!

Richmond: 12.10.(82) defeated Carlton: 11.10.( 76) before an overflowing crowd of 63,590 ( the biggest crowd of the 1927 final series).

The Blues were given ‘the slip’ by the Tigers early in the game but a spirited fight back saw Carlton bridge the gap in the last term. At the tipping point, and with the scores all ‘tied up’ , Richmond’s half forward ‘flanker’ Harry Weidner (ex- Warragul) gathered the ball and drilled a timely goal to give the Tigers a narrow and hard-fought victory.

Harry Weidner was only twenty years of age but his left-foot drop kick goal was one of the most important kicks of his 96 game career for Richmond FC. Harry had the dubious honour of being a member of three unsuccessful VFL Grand Final teams during his time at Punt Road.

Carlton was served well by: Tommy Downs (4 goals) Maurie Beasy, Alex Duncan, Dinny Kelleher, Frank Donoghue, Ted Brewis, Horrie Clover( 3 goals) and Les Johnson.

There is little to report on Charlie Davey’s performance in that match; except it is known that he kicked Carlton’s first goal; and, in the closing stanza, he handballed to Tommy Downs for a badly-needed major. Naturally, Charlie would have been downcast to be on the losing side that day, but it had been a valuable experience for the teenager.

In his first season of VFL football, Charlie had experienced the high and lows of sport. With time on his side, Charlie would find further opportunities to unleash his undoubted ability.

History was in the making that season as the Collingwood behemoth, under the ‘iron hand’ of Jock McHale, won the first of four consecutive flags in what came to be known as Collingwood’s ‘Golden Era.’

Table Talk 22 Sep 1927 P22 Carlton Semi Final Team
Table Talk 22 Sep 1927 P22 Carlton Semi Final Team


1928- A NEW ROLE

Charlie Davey played only a handful of Senior XVIII games in 1928; and it appears as though he struggled to make headway in consolidating his place in the Carlton line up. Of the five senior games in which he played that season, his best return, as a forward, was against St Kilda when he kicked three goals.

At some juncture in the 1928 season Charlie went into the ruck. From that point in time, he displayed an innate understanding of ruck work; and it was apparent that Carlton had uncovered a raw but undoubted talent…

“ Early the following year ( 1928) he was shifted into the ruck and became even more valuable. Strong, versatile and a wonderful mark…” ‘Blueseum’ website.

In Round: 18 that season, Charlie was selected as the first ruckman for the all-important encounter against Collingwood at Victoria Park. The Blues won by 20 points and ensured a berth in the 1928 final series.

Although Charlie was listed among Carlton’s best players that day, he was not chosen in the Blues senior side for the First Semi -Final against the Tigers the following week. It is hard to fathom why he was overlooked by the selectors but perhaps there is an untold story regarding Charlie’s omission.

Charlie played in his second Reserves Grade premiership team at the end of that season. Carlton Seconds (under the leadership of Jimmy Goonan) won their third consecutive flag when the Blues overcame Geelong by 31 points. The recorded line-up Carlton line up shows that Charlie played in the ruck that day.

Ansell Clarke starred for the Blues with six goals; and Charlie Davey was listed, along with Harry Vallence, (Dinny Kelleher)) and Allan Skehan, among the best players.
In that Grand Final, Charlie was once again involved in an on-field incident as *Cyril Mulroyan of Geelong was reported for striking Charlie Davey. It appears that Charlie was never too far from the ‘eye of the storm’ in football.

  • Note: Cyril Mulroyan (mentioned above) died at the age of 39 years. Several sources state that Cyril, a Government meat inspector in the Geelong district, was tragically killed when riding to work in August 1945.

STATE SELECTION

1929 was Charlie Davey’s ‘break out season’ and he confirmed his status as an emerging star in VFL football. He played 17 senior games in 1929 and he had taken to being a ruck man like a ‘duck takes to water.’

Charlie’s selection for Victoria in 1929 was a pointer of how he had ‘come to grips’ with the standard of VFL football. He was selected in the squad that played against South Australia at the MCG in June 1929.

According to the available documentation, Charlie was chosen in the first ruck alongside Ivor Warne-Smith with Bill Libbis (Collingwood) being named as first rover. Charlie received a special mention in the Perth newspaper ‘Daily News’…

“ …Complete strangers to us are Ludlow and Davey, two powerful
followers, playing with St. Kilda and Carlton respectively…” June 7th 1929.


During that season, Charlie was also selected to travel to Perth for a series of interstate matches. Considering that, by the end of June that year, Charlie had ‘notched up’ only 15 senior VFL matches his selection was nothing short of spectacular.

Sporting Globe 27 Jul 1929 P6 Charlie Davey
Sporting Globe 27 Jul 1929 P6 Charlie Davey


At 21 years of age, Charlie was in the company of some of the greatest names of pre-war football including: Reg Hickey, Horrie Clover, Jack Titus, Alan Hopkins, Albert Collier, Bert Hyde and Essendon’s robust ruck man Paddy Walsh ( ex-Ledgerwood FC , Tasmania).

The line-up for the match the first match in Perth offers readers some indication of the abundance of riches in Victorian football in that era:-

Backs: Walsh Tymms Matthews
Half-backs: Hickey Collier McCormack
Centres: Cameron Hopkins Usher
Half-forwards: Ludlow Clover Titus
Forwards: Pool Hyde Makeham
Followers:DaveyStainbridge Baker


It was difficult to unearth all the results and statistics from the matches in Perth; but it is known that Charlie played three games and further enhanced his reputation as an emerging star in Australian football.

The ‘Sporting Globe ‘suggested that Charlie could/should retain his ‘spot’ in the team for the 1930 ANFC championships which were scheduled for Adelaide…

“ So well was Davey playing that season that he was chosen in the Victorian team that toured the West. He played in two matches against West Australia, and in the one against South Australia. In the three games he acquitted himself well. He should he a member of the Victorian Carnival side next season when the championship of Australia will be decided at Adelaide.” ‘Sporting Globe’ July 27th 1929 Page: 6.

Other Carlton players who gained interstate selection for interstate fixtures that season were: Joe Kelly, Fred Gilby, Colin Martyn, Harry Vallence and, as mentioned above, Horrie Clover, who was captain of the touring party to Perth.

In Tony de Bolfo’s absorbing historical account of Carlton Football Club, entitled: ‘Out of the Blue’ there is magnificent photograph of Charlie Davey and Horrie Clover in ‘full strip’ and wearing the Victorian guernsey.

1929 CHARLIE STARS IN THE FINAL SERIES

Jock McHale’s magnificent ‘Magpie Machine’ continued on its unfettered march. Collingwood set a new VFL benchmark of being undefeated, during the home and away, series in 1929. The legendary, Gordon Coventry, also created a VFL record when he booted 100 goals that season; and, with a galaxy of stars in the line-up, Collingwood appeared to be an invincible football fortress.

Carlton, under the tutelage of Danny Minogue, played a ‘competitive brand’ of football that season and won the right to ‘face off’ against St Kilda in the First Semi-Final.

In a tense battle, the Blues were triumphant mainly due to Horrie Clover’s individual efforts up forward (5 goals). Charlie Davey was again serviceable and was named in the three best players for Carlton.

Argus 9 Sep 1929 P9 League Semi Final
Argus 9 Sep 1929 P9 League Semi Final


The following Saturday, the Blues played Richmond in the Preliminary Final in front of 60,750 eager fans. Match reviews indicate that the contest was another hard -hitting and bruising affair with two reports being made by Umpire Scott. After a fine start by Carlton, Richmond applied enormous pressure and steadily worked its way back into the contest.

Late into the last quarter, the game was in ‘the balance’ and it took the brilliance of Richmond’s Jack Titus (4 goals) to carry the Tigers to victory that day. The Blues had been valiant but fell short by six points.

Charlie Davey was named the best player for Carlton; and despite the heavy downpour in the second term, Charlie won considerable praise, from ‘Old Boy’ of the ‘Sporting Globe’, for his lion-hearted efforts in tough conditions…

“Carlton owed much to Davey who followed all nearly day. He took some wonderful marks and if he paid attention to his kicking would be a champion.” September 23rd 1929.

The matter of Charlie Davey’s inferior kicking surfaced on several occasions while researching this story; and it seems that his inaccuracy, in front of goal, detracted from his effectiveness at times throughout his VFL career.

The Australiasian 15-Jun-1929 - Source: State Library of Victoria Newspaper Collection
The Australiasian 15-Jun-1929 - Source: State Library of Victoria Newspaper Collection


Round: 5 Venue: Princes Park Date: Sat, 25-May-1929

Carlton - Source: 1929 Weekly Times - State Library of Victoria Newspaper Collection
Carlton - Source: 1929 Weekly Times - State Library of Victoria Newspaper Collection


AN OFFER FROM NORTHCOTE

One article which was unearthed in the ‘Sporting Globe’ was in relation to an attractive deal which was made to Charlie by Northcote FC (VFA).

As has been written in other stories in this series, during the Great Depression work was scarce and wages were low; and for those men who could play football there were chances to earn extra cash. Suburban clubs were highly competitive and quite open in targeting the best VFL players with lucrative contracts.

Charlie must have been genuinely tempted to cross to the Northcote because it is known that he played in a pre-season trial match in April 1930…

“ Will He Go to Northcote? It is said that Charlie Davey has been offered a three years' contract to play football with Northcote in Association ranks at a fee of £*6/10 a match. On Saturday, Davey appeared at the Northcote ground, and participated in a practice match. He showed good form. Carlton is not likely to grant Davey a clearance. Last season he developed into one of the best followers in the game, his marking and ruck play being particularly good, but his kicking was faulty…” ‘Sporting Globe’ April 9th 1930 Page: 8.

  • Note: The figure £6/10 is questionable as it was taken from the digital copy of the article and the original extract was obscure and hard to decipher. £6/10 (six pounds, ten shillings) in 1930 would equate to $518 (dollars) in 2017.

1930- THE CARNIVAL TEAM

The Victorian selectors gathered on Wednesday July 30th to consider the Victorian team to travel to Adelaide for the much vaunted Carnival. It would have been an interesting to observe the selectors’ meeting as there was an overabundance of players who deserved to be considered to wear the state guernsey.

The balancing act of picking a winning combination is/was always a challenge for the selection committee but in 1930 the VFL had an ‘embarrassment of riches’

After deliberation(s) the 25 man squad to represent the VFL was announced and Charlie Davey and Colin Martyn were named as the Carlton representatives who would make the journey to Adelaide. The other players

in the a squad were:
Albert Collier, Harry Collier, George Clayden, Syd Coventry, Harold Rumney (Collingwood); Keith Forbes, (Essendon); Jack Cashman, Charlie Chapman (Fitzroy); Alan Hopkins, Alby Morrison (Footscray); Jack Carney, Reg Hickey, George Todd (Geelong); Stuart Stewart (Hawthorn ); Charlie Cameron, John Lewis (North Melbourne); Maurie Hunter, Jack Titus (Richmond); Bill Mohr, Fred Phillips ( St Kilda) and Harry Clarke (South Melbourne).

Readers will notice that Melbourne FC had no representatives in that squad; and ‘Old Boy’ of ‘The Argus’ newspaper reported that…
“…and several Melbourne players, notably Warne-Smith, were not available…” July 11th 1930 Page: 12.

There were six states (Tasmania, NSW, WA, SA, Queensland and Victoria) involved in the fifteen-match series (which extended from the 30th July until the 9th August).

Victoria won its five games and headed the table to ‘take the football crown.’ While Bill Mohr (35 goals) and Jack Titus (22 goals) dominated the proceedings, it was a virtual unknown Tasmanian forward, named Alan Rait, who attracted the undivided attention of recruiters across the land during that series.

Sporting Globe 6 Aug 1930 P16 Charlie Davey v WA
Sporting Globe 6 Aug 1930 P16 Charlie Davey v WA


ALAN RAIT- A QUIET ACHIEVER

Alan Rait (North Hobart) kicked 27 goals and displayed unlimited potential in that series; and , in 1933, he was lured across to the mainland by Footscray FC. He played 19 VFL games and kicked 62 goals. Alan later returned to North Hobart and continued to break club and league goal kicking records.

Research shows that and between 1928 and 1937, Alan won the TANFL goal kicking award on eight occasions. Authoritative football historian, John Devaney has little doubt about Alan Rait’s prowess..
“Prior to the emergence of Peter Hudson, the greatest full forward in Tasmanian football history was undoubtedly Alan Rait.”


Alan Rait No:99- 1933 Wills League Footballers - Larger Size Source:Australian Football Cards
Alan Rait No:99- 1933 Wills League Footballers - Larger Size Source:Australian Football Cards


1930 ACCOLADES AND AN ACCIDENT

Charlie Davey had ‘arrived’ in national football and he received accolades for his high marking and versatile ruck play. In 1930, Harold Prider of ‘The Referee’ counted Charlie in with some of the other champions of that era …

“As far as following goes in Victorian football, Les Hughes and Con McCarthy at Collingwood, Maurice Beasy and Bert Boromeo at Carlton, Peter Reville and Charlie Stanbridge at South Melbourne, Hughie James and Bert Foster at Richmond, and George Rudolph at Oakleigh, are outstanding players of recent years.

Age 5 Oct 1931 P11 Davey Carlton v Geelong
Age 5 Oct 1931 P11 Davey Carlton v Geelong


The highest marking followers of today in Victoria are Charlie Davey (Carlton), and Jack Cashman (Fitzroy), although Tom O'Halloran (Richmond) often flies to a greater height than any other player in the game's history.”

The ‘Blueseum’ website seems to be the only source that refers to Charlie’s near brush with death in 1930. As is later noted in this story, Charlie had several close shaves during his life…
“ Charlie Davey had an earlier near death experience in 1930. He was on his way to the Carlton ground on Tuesday May 6, when his motor cycle collided with a car. Charlie was flung to the road with the car's wheels narrowly missing him. He was taken to Princes Park where he was treated for cuts, bruises, and an injured knee. Despite this set back, Charlie played the following Saturday.”


Horrie Clover
Horrie Clover
Horrie Clover
Charlie Davey (see 122_026)
Charlie Davey (see 122_026)
Charlie Davey
Colin Martyn (see 122_026)
Colin Martyn (see 122_026)
Colin Martyn
Harry Vallence (see 122_026)
Harry Vallence (see 122_026)
Harry Vallence


Horrie Bullen - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Horrie Bullen - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Horrie Bullen
Creswell Crisp - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Creswell Crisp - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Creswell Crisp
Charlie Davey - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Charlie Davey - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Charlie Davey
Alf Egan - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Alf Egan - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Alf Egan
Frank Gill - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Frank Gill - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Frank Gill
Jack Green b1905 - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Jack Green b1905 - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Jack Green b1905
Gordon Mackie - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Gordon Mackie - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Gordon Mackie
Frank O'Rourke - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Frank O'Rourke - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Frank O'Rourke
Charlie Street - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Charlie Street - 1932 Hoadleys Victorian League Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Charlie Street


Age 16 May 1932 P6 Charlie Davey
Age 16 May 1932 P6 Charlie Davey

Age 30 Sep 1932 Charlie Davey
Age 30 Sep 1932 Charlie Davey

Referee Sydney 24 Aug 1932 P16 Charlie Davey
Referee Sydney 24 Aug 1932 P16 Charlie Davey

Table Talk 29 Sep 1932 P6 Davey Marks
Table Talk 29 Sep 1932 P6 Davey Marks

Table Talk 29 Sep 1932 P6 Vallence Marks
Table Talk 29 Sep 1932 P6 Vallence Marks

Table Talk 4 Aug 1932 P2 Carlton Team
Table Talk 4 Aug 1932 P2 Carlton Team

Table Talk 4 Aug 1932 P2 Davey Appeals For A Free
Table Talk 4 Aug 1932 P2 Davey Appeals For A Free

Sporting Globe 27 Jul 1932 P16 Carlton Players
Sporting Globe 27 Jul 1932 P16 Carlton Players



OTHER STATE GAMES 1931-32-33

By the end of the 1930 Carnival, Charlie Davey had established himself as an elite follower in Australian football; and he was selected again to represent Victoria the VFL in 1931 and 1932.

VFL Team in Dark Blue - Australasian 1931 - Source: State Library of Victoria Newspaper Collection - Photographer Unknown
VFL Team in Dark Blue - Australasian 1931 - Source: State Library of Victoria Newspaper Collection - Photographer Unknown


In 1933, the ANFC carnival was held in Sydney and, once again, Charlie was a foremost member of the squad. The team that travelled to Sydney that year was virtually a ‘Who’s Who’ of champions of that era of Victorian football. The squad chosen for that series included:-

Syd Coventry: ( Collingwood: 27 games for Victoria /227 VFL Games).
Haydn Bunton: (Fitzroy: Three Brownlow Medals).
Gordon Coventry (Collingwood: 25 games for Victoria; 306 VFL games/1299 VFL goals).
Bob Pratt: ( South Melbourne: 158 VFL games/681 goals ).
Reg Hickey: (Geelong: 18 games for Victoria /245 VFL games).
Bert Hyde ( Hawthorn: 129 VFL games)
Paddy Walsh ( Essendon: 12 games for Victoria /115 VFL games).
Wilfred ‘Chicken‘ Smallhorn ( Fitzroy: 7 games for Victoria / 150 VFL games).
Gordon Strang (Richmond: 7 games for Victoria /116 VFL games).
Norm Ware (Footscray: 11 games for Victoria/ 200 VFL games).
Jack Collins (Geelong: 9 games for Victoria /112 VFL games).
Harry Clarke ( South Melbourne: 11 games for Victoria / VFL 147 games).
Charlie Davey ( Carlton: 17 games for Victoria/ 143 VFL games )

With such an array of talent, it was no surprise that the Victorian combination won all five of its matches in convincing style. It was written that the stronger states ( WA and SA ) were no match for Victoria.

In the ‘play-off’ to decide the ‘Champions of Australia’, Victoria: 15.16.(106) had a runaway victory and defeated South Australia: 9.8.(62). Details of the match are scratchy but it is known that Gordon Strang kicked 5 goals and Gordon Coventry booted four goals for Victoria. It is also documented, on this website, that during the [http://www.boylesfootballphotos.net.au/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=18|1933 Sydney Carnival…))

“Gordon Coventry kicked 12 goals in the game against Tasmania, taking his total to over 100 goals in interstate games”

100 GAMES MILESTONE BUT A SEMI FINAL LOSS

In September 1933, Charlie Davey brought up his 100th VFL game milestone in the First Semi-Final against Geelong. In what one scribe labelled as a ‘poor exhibition’ of football, Geelong stormed home in the last term to snatch victory by 13 points. Charlie played very well for Carlton that day and kicked three goals. In a game when many of the Carlton players struggled to impact, Charlie stood tall…

“ Best players for Carlton were Gilby, who stuck to his job manfully from start to finish ;Crisp, on the half-forward flank; Davey, who gave a first-class display whether in the ruck or placed: Johnson and *Oprey. Many of the others faded completely from the picture at various stages.” ‘The Age’ September 11th 1933.


Table Talk 31 Aug 1933 P40 CARLTON TEAM
Table Talk 31 Aug 1933 P40 CARLTON TEAM


Sporting Globe 28 Jun 1933 P14 Charlie Davey
Sporting Globe 28 Jun 1933 P14 Charlie Davey



A FORGOTTEN STAR OF VFL FOOTBALL: LEO OPRAY

  • Note: Leo Opray (sometimes spelt: Oprey), who is rarely mentioned in football circles these days, played his last VFL game that day. Leo was recruited to Carlton from Oakleigh FC in 1932 and played only 31 games with the Blues. He was best known as a wingman.

It is not widely appreciated that Leo was Carlton’s best player in the 1932 Grand Final.

Leo’s life story is absorbing; not only for his achievements in football but his war time action in North Africa and New Guinea. On his return from military duties, Leo suffered prolonged illness; and, sadly in 1964, passed away at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.

Leo Oprey No:106- 1933 Wills League Footballers - Larger Size Source:Australian Football Cards
Leo Oprey No:106- 1933 Wills League Footballers - Larger Size Source:Australian Football Cards


1933 - A LUCKY ESCAPE FROM DEATH

One of the stories that was uncovered, about Charlie’s life, was his ‘close shave’ with death when working as a linesman in the city in November 1933. Charlie was electrocuted and, as the ‘The Argus’ explained, he was indeed lucky to have survived the ordeal…

“When he received a shock from an electric wire at the intersection of Swanston and Lonsdale streets, city, yesterday morning. Charles Davey, aged 25 years, linesman, of Elgin street Carlton a leading member of the Carlton Football Club, escaped serious injury. Davey, who is employed by the electric supply department of the City Council, was repairing street lighting wires from a motor-truck with a raised platform. Finding that the platform was too low to enable him to work on a line attached to a tram-way standard at the intersection of Swanton and Lonsdale streets, he placed a ladder against the pole and ascended. "When he reached the top", said Mr P. Stanton, an ambulance attendant, who witnessed the accident, "his hand touched a wire. He cried out and fell against the top of the ladder. Had he fallen to the side or backward he would have dropped about 20ft to the roadway."

Davey's fellow-workman jumped up the ladder and held him there until the attendants of a civil ambulance, which was leaving the Melbourne Hospital, and the attendant of a St. John motor-cycle ambulance patrol, which was standing nearby, reached him. Davey was lowered to the platform, and was then strapped to a spine board and lowered to the street. He suffered severely from shock. After having received treatment at the Melbourne Hospital for more than an hour he was allowed to return to his home.” ‘The Argus’ November 13th Page: 8.

Charlie lived to tell the tale but worse was in store. The following year, just as things seemed to be back on track, Charlie Davey was struck down by a serious knee injury.

H2008.122/22

Ron Cooper - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Ron Cooper - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Ron Cooper
Creswell Crisp - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Creswell Crisp - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Creswell Crisp
Charlie Davey - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Charlie Davey - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Charlie Davey
Tommy Downs - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Tommy Downs - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Tommy Downs
Frank Gill - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Frank Gill - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Frank Gill
Gordon Mackie - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Gordon Mackie - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Gordon Mackie
Harry Vallence - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Harry Vallence - 1933 Godfrey Phillips Victorian Footballers - Set of 75 - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Harry Vallence


Ron Cooper - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Ron Cooper - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Ron Cooper
Creswell Crisp - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Creswell Crisp - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Creswell Crisp
Charlie Davey - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Charlie Davey - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Charlie Davey
Tommy Downs - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Tommy Downs - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Tommy Downs
Frank Gill - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Frank Gill - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Frank Gill
Maurie Johnson - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Maurie Johnson - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Maurie Johnson
Gordon Mackie - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Gordon Mackie - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Gordon Mackie
Jim Park - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Jim Park - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Jim Park
Harry Vallence - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Harry Vallence - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Harry Vallence


1934- INJURY AND A COLLISION

At the start of the 1934 season, Charlie Davey was named as vice-captain of Carlton (Maurie Johnson was captain that season).

Being deputy was another well-deserved feather in Charlie’s cap and the new season started on a promising note. The Blues won the first two matches including a fighting victory over the star-studded reigning premiers (i.e. South Melbourne) at Princes Park.

The line-up for South Melbourne, which was often called the ‘Foreign Legion’, included: Bob Pratt, Laurie Nash, Herbie Matthews, Brighton Diggins , Len Thomas, Austin Robertson and Peter Reville. It was a mighty win by Carlton and the supporters were buoyed by the result and anything ‘looked possible’ in 1934.

In the Round: 4 clash against Geelong, Charlie was the acting captain and he led his team to a 10 point win. However, he injured his knee in that game and was forced to sit on the sidelines in Rounds: 5 and 6.
Charlie’s return to the Carlton team in Round: 7 ( v St Kilda at the Junction Oval ) was ill-fated; and, despite kicking two goals and being named Carlton’s second best that day, it was to be his last appearance for the Blues in 1934 .

Charlie’s injury was much worse than originally diagnosed and his ‘dicky knee’ would hinder him for the remainder of his VFL career. The Blues were badly weakened by his strong leadership and absence in the ruck division…

“C. Davey, the vice-captain of Carlton, has been obliged to retire from tho game temporarily. For some weeks he has been suffering from a knee injury owing to a slipped cartilage It was hoped that massage and bandaging would prove satisfactory and after a fortnight’s rest Dal re-appeared with Carlton at St Kilda. He played well in that game but it was noticed that he was "nursing” his leg. He rested again last week, and hoped to play but medical examination h a s shown that the only hope of recovery lies in an operation. Davey may not be able to play again this season. He is a very fine player and club man, and has been and ornament to the game.” ‘The Argus’ July 23 1934.

According to the ‘Blueseum’ website mention is made of Charlie contracting pleurisy in that period of convalescence; and it became another obstacle that he had to overcome before returning to the field.

It was as if he had walked under a ladder that year because, later in September, Charlie was involved in road accident in Gardenvale…

‘League Footballer in Collision Charles Davey, of Elgin street, Carlton,a leading member or the Carlton League football team, was involved in an accident at the intersection of Cochrane street and Point Nepean road, Gardenvale, last night. While he was driving a "baby" motor-car along Point Nepean road it came into collision wlth a bicycle, which was being ridden along Cochrane Street by David Scott, aged 72 years, of Cochrane street, Brighton. Mr. Scott, who is a Salvation Army officer, was thrown heavily to the roadway. Suffering from a lacerated scalp he was taken to the Alfred Hospital, where he was detained for observation.” ‘The Argus’ September 29th Page: 26.

It had been a ‘most forgettable’ year in the life of Charlie Davey; and he would have had his fingers crossed that the 1935 would bring a change of fortune.

Creswell Crisp - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Creswell Crisp - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Creswell Crisp
Charlie Davey - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Charlie Davey - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Charlie Davey
Fred Gilby - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: GoldnPawn Pty
Fred Gilby - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: GoldnPawn Pty

Fred Gilby
Frank Gill - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Frank Gill - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Frank Gill
Eric Little - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Eric Little - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Eric Little
Harry Vallence - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Harry Vallence - 1934 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Harry Vallence


1934 Allen's Flags - Joe Kelly - Source: GoldNPawn
1934 Allen's Flags - Joe Kelly - Source: GoldNPawn

Joe Kelly
1934 Allen's Flags - Eric Little - Source: GoldNPawn
1934 Allen's Flags - Eric Little - Source: GoldNPawn

Eric Little
1934 Allen's Flags - Charlie Davey - Source: GoldNPawn
1934 Allen's Flags - Charlie Davey - Source: GoldNPawn

Charlie Davey
1934 Allen's Flags - Maurie Johnson - Source: GoldNPawn
1934 Allen's Flags - Maurie Johnson - Source: GoldNPawn

Maurie Johnson
1934 Allen's Flags - Harry Vallence - Source: GoldNPawn
1934 Allen's Flags - Harry Vallence - Source: GoldNPawn

Harry Vallence
1934 Allen's Flags - Gordon Mackie - Source: GoldNPawn
1934 Allen's Flags - Gordon Mackie - Source: GoldNPawn

Gordon Mackie
1934 Allen's Flags - Frank Gill - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
1934 Allen's Flags - Frank Gill - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Frank Gill
1934 Allen's Flags - Keith Shea - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
1934 Allen's Flags - Keith Shea - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Keith Shea


1935 CHARLIE NAMED CAPTAIN OF CARLTON

In 1935, Frank Maher took over from Dan Minogue as the coach of Carlton. Dan had coached the Blues since 1929; and in 117 games the team had won 85 matches and played in nine final matches. Dan crossed to coach St Kilda in 1935; and readers may be interested to know that he also coached Hawthorn (1926-27) and, in the period 1940-42 , he ‘held the reins’ at Fitzroy FC.

Note: Frank Maher (137 games for Essendon in 1921-28) , had been a member of two premiership teams and had also represented Victoria on nine occasions. Frank was also the captain and coach of the 1927 Carnival team and, prior to his appointment at Princes Park, he had coached Oakleigh (VFA) and Fitzroy.

Charlie Davey was named club captain that season. In many ways it was brave ( perhaps risky) choice as Charlie was continually dogged by knee injury…

“Carlton made him captain in 1935 but within two years the knee problem forced him out of the game at just 27.” ‘Holmesby and Main’ Page: 128.

It appeared as though luck was with Charlie as he played (probably with great courage and pain) in every home and away game; and also the First Semi-Final against Richmond. Charlie, as mentioned above, also represented Victoria that season.

For a sportsman to have persisted at that level of competitive sport and with a chronic injury says much about Charlie’s resilience, resolve and character.

Age 5 Aug 1935 P6
Age 5 Aug 1935 P6

Age 12 Aug 1935 P6 Davey Punch
Age 12 Aug 1935 P6 Davey Punch

Sporting Globe 28 Aug 1935 P8 Charlie Davey Marking
Sporting Globe 28 Aug 1935 P8 Charlie Davey Marking

Sporting Globe 14 Sep 1935 P3 Davey And Titus
Sporting Globe 14 Sep 1935 P3 Davey And Titus


Sporting Globe 11 Sep 1935 P8 Charlie Davey
Sporting Globe 11 Sep 1935 P8 Charlie Davey
Weekly Times 14 Sep 1935 P77 Charlie Davey
Weekly Times 14 Sep 1935 P77 Charlie Davey


The nagging discomfort of Charlie’s injury would have paled into insignificance with the disappointing outcome of the First Semi-Final against the Tigers that September. Graeme Atkinson wrote…
“Hot favourites Carlton caused a shock when they went down to Richmond…”

Richmond jumped Carlton with a seven goal first quarter. Carlton was ‘caught napping’ and struggled to find a way back into the game as Richmond’s tight defence ( Maurie Sheahan, Kevin O’Neill, Martin Bolger and Gordon Strang ) stifled the Blues forwards thrusts .

Despite a last quarter surge by the Blues, the Tigers held on to win in a brave performance by 21 points. Despite Charlie Davey being ‘strategically targeted’ by the Richmond ‘brains trust’ that day, he was listed among Carlton’s better players.

Charlie Davey represented Victoria, against South Australia in Melbourne, in August 1935. Reg Hickey (Geelong) was named the captain; and Charlie received another n honour when it was announced that he was vice -captain of the team….

“R. Hickey (Geelong), who was the captain of the Victorian side against West Australia and South Australia, was selected as leader again. Davey (Carlton) will be vice-captain.” ‘The Argus’ July 18th 1935 Page: 13.


Frank Anderson - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Frank Anderson - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Frank Anderson
Jack Cashman - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Jack Cashman - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Jack Cashman
Ansell Clarke - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Ansell Clarke - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Ansell Clarke
George Collard - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
George Collard - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

George Collard
Creswell Crisp - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Creswell Crisp - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Creswell Crisp
Charlie Davey - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Charlie Davey - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Charlie Davey
Alby De Luca - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Alby De Luca - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Alby De Luca
Clen Denning - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Clen Denning - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Clen Denning
George Dougherty - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
George Dougherty - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

George Dougherty
Fred Gilby - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Fred Gilby - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Fred Gilby
Frank Gill - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Frank Gill - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Frank Gill
Jack Hale - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Jack Hale - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Jack Hale
Harry Hollingshead - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Harry Hollingshead - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Harry Hollingshead
Jack Hunter - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Jack Hunter - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Jack Hunter
Eric Huxtable - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Eric Huxtable - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Eric Huxtable
Harold Maskell - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Harold Maskell - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Harold Maskell
Ray Quinn - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Ray Quinn - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Ray Quinn
Keith Shea - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Keith Shea - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Keith Shea
Bernie Treweek - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Bernie Treweek - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Bernie Treweek
Harry Vallence - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Harry Vallence - 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Harry Vallence


1936 -CHARLIE IS HOSPITALIZED AGAIN

It is not hard to understand why Charlie relinquished the captaincy of Carlton at the beginning of 1936. Injury had taken its toll; and his future in VFL appeared to be problematic.

The Blues turned to Jim Francis to lead the team that season. Jim had played his first game for Hawthorn in 1929 and after 61 senior games transferred to Carlton in 1934. He was a versatile utility player; and had success as a midfielder, defender or forward and had won Carlton’s Best and Fairest award in 1935. It was little wonder that Jim was offered the important role of captain in 1936. Journalist P.J. Millard wrote…

“When Charlie Davey stepped down from the captaincy before the season opened, a nice problem confronted the Carlton committee, where was the new captain to come from? Apparently there was nobody in sight. But there are football brains at Carlton. Some hard thinking was done. As the committee's choice settled on Jim Francis the captaincy problem began to vanish like mist before the morning sun. ” ‘Sporting Globe’ May 23rd 1936. Page: 8.


Age 11 Mar 1936 Carlton Training
Age 11 Mar 1936 Carlton Training


Sporting Globe 3 Jun 1936 P8 Charlie Davey
Sporting Globe 3 Jun 1936 P8 Charlie Davey


In 1936, Charlie Davey played 14 games and seemed to be ‘travelling well’ until injury forced him to be sidelined in Round: 16.

From reading press various reports, Charlie was in a poor state of health; and on the 12th September, Percy Taylor ( ‘The Argus’) broke the news that Charlie had been admitted to hospital suffering from an acute appendicitis…

“ G. DAVEY ILL: Operation Yesterday By PERCY TAYLOR
Becoming suddenly ill yesterday, Charlie Davey, the Carlton footballer, was rushed to hospital, where an immediate operation for appendicitis was performed. He was reported to be making satisfactory progress last night. Davey, who is a former captain, has not been playing in recent weeks. He was injured, and then was not feeling well. However, he had been training, and was named as one of the four emergencies for the semi-final to-day. Kuhlken* and Collard* will be present and will play if required. The club has arranged for a wireless set to be installed in Davey's room so that he can listen to a broadcast description of the match to-day.” ‘The Argus’ 12th September 1936 Page: 21

Percy’s article reveals the full extent of Charlie’s illness; and it also gives younger readers some idea of the advances in technology. The fact that Carlton FC had gone to such trouble to ensure that a radio would be placed beside Charlie’s hospital bed (so that he could ‘listen’ to the game) is in stark contrast with today’s amazing electronic gadgetry.

  • Note: (i) Bill Kuhlken played 80 VFL games with Geelong before being cleared to Carlton. Bill was originally from Port Melbourne and played with Victoria in 1933. (ii) George Collard, a forward, played 72 games with Carlton and South Melbourne between 1935 and 1942.

Carlton finished fourth in 1936; and Frank Maher said ‘farewell’ to Princes Park after that game. It was suggested in ‘The Argus’ (January 22nd 1937) that Frank had departed Victoria and gone to live in Sydney.

1937 CHARLIE’S LAST VFL GAME

1937 had been a testing and frustrating season for Charlie Davey. He managed to play just five senior games before was forced into early retirement through his troublesome knee injury.

Argus 14 Jul 1937 P18 Davey To Retire
Argus 14 Jul 1937 P18 Davey To Retire


Charlie played his last game for Carlton against Fitzroy in Round: 11 of the 1937 season at Princes Park. The Blues won and Charlie kicked two of his team’s 13 goals.

Sadly, there was no return to the ‘big stage’ on this occasion and the Carlton champion stepped down from the game that he had loved since he was boy.

On the day of Charlie’s 143rd and final VFL game, there were five other CFC players who had played more than 100 VFL games: Micky Crisp (112 VFL games), Fred Gilby (174), Frank Gill (138), Jim Francis (118) and Harry Vallence who had played 181 VFL games.

Note: The youngest player for the Blues was Robert Mainwaring (aka Bob) Chitty who was a late inclusion into the starting line-up. Never one to let the ‘grass grow under his feet’, Bob went on to carve out a reputation as one of the toughest footballers of that era. Younger readers will be surprised to learn that Bob Chitty also played the starring role of Ned Kelly in a film entitled ‘The Glenrowan Affair’ which was released in 1951.

Carlton’s coach was ex-Collingwood ruckman Percy Rowe; and according to ‘Holmesby and Main’ …

“Many Collinwood people rated him the toughest of all Magpie footballers.” Page: 745.

The captain of Fitzroy FC that day was none other than Charlie Davey’s former companion, from earlier interstate representative football travels, Haydn Bunton. Haydn made his debut for Fitzroy in 1931; and by 1937 he had won three Brownlow Medals (1931-32-35). The following season (1938) Haydn crossed to Subiaco FC (WA) where he won Sandover Medals in 1938-39- 41.
“Much like …Don Bradman and the racehorse Phar Lap, Bunton Sr. was a champion who helped make life a bit more enjoyable and bearable for the Australian public during the dark times of the Great Depression that had taken over.” ‘AFL Freebets.com.’

Charlie Davey was just 27 years of age when he departed VFL ranks; and, despite his brilliance and belligerent spirit, he had never played in a senior Carlton premiership team. Like Haydn Bunton, Charlie Davey had missed the biggest prize of all in football. While Charlie Davey received a long list of awards and honours, the cherished VFL Senior XVIII premiership pennant had always proved elusive.

Charlie was well and truly retired by September 1938 when Carlton, under the shrewd leadership of Brighton Diggins (ex-Subiaco /South Melbourne), won the premiership in fine style by defeating Collingwood in front of a then-record crowd of 96, 834.

“A Blues fan favourite, Ruckman Charlie Davey briefly captained the club…Davey played 143 games in eleven gallant seasons but retired in 1937, the year before the club finally returned to premiership glory.” Carlton Historian, Tony De Bolfo-2009.


GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

In years that followed his retirement, Charlie played an important role as an official and loyally served the club until 1964.

When Carlton selected its ‘Team of the Century’ in 2000, John Nicholls, Sergio Silvangi and Mike Fitzpatrick (interchange) were named as the team’s foremost ruck men. It is hard to argue with such a talented trio of Blues champions. However, it is a fair bet to say that Charlie Davey would have come into the selectors’ calculations.

The only player from that VFL era (i.e. the Great Depression) to be selected in the team was Harry Vallence (at full forward). Horrie Clover and Bob Chitty were named as emergencies.

Not only was Charlie Davey granted Life Member of CFC but, in 1994, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Furthermore in 2014, as a part of CFC’s 150 year celebrations, Charlie was listed in the 150 greatest players to have donned the Carlton colours.

Finally, although Charlie died in August 1991, it is hoped that this story for Boyles Football Photos reminds people that, during the years of the Great Depression, Charlie Davey was Carlton’s and Victoria’s finest ruckman.

THE END

Australiasian 25 May 1940 P15 Charlie Davey
Australiasian 25 May 1940 P15 Charlie Davey






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