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,
GEELONG IN THE FIFTIES
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.
GEELONG IN THE FIFTIES
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.
GEELONG IN THE FIFTIES
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.
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.
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 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.
In 1945, Ron Todd kicked a record 188 goals in a season. This was a remarkable achievement in skill, accuracy, endurance and luck. This article attempts to put this record into a wider context.
Historical Articles (Reprinted)
Reminiscences of Tommy Wilson, captain of North Melbourne and a founder of East Fremantle. Covering the period from the 1890's to WW1.
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.
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.
This article describes the Fitzroy v Collingwood final to determine the 1903 VFL premiership. A very close affair between the two great teams of the era. A game decided by the final kick of the day.
How Collingwood's famous system, then brand-new, was first smashed by Fitzroy in a memorable League semi-final in 1902, is retold in this, the thirteenth of a series of great football dramas.