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Oldest Footballs

Footballs on display at Kardinia Park 2013 - Photographer: MRiley
Footballs on display at Kardinia Park 2013 - Photographer: MRiley

Introduction

The idea for this list came from a discussion with Peter Haby at the Hawks Museum about which club had the oldest footy. Rather than just focus on the AFL/VFL, the idea of the project is to collect information on the oldest Australian Rules footballs that stiill exist.

The idea is to celebrate the history of the game and to raise awareness of artifacts and ensure that they are protected. The ball is such an important part of the game the old balls should be protected.

Adding to the List

At the moment the list is small, and all contributions are welcome.
I will add all pre 1940 balls that I am informed of, and any post 1940 ball that is the oldest for a particular club or competition, or ball type.

The 'Oldest'

The word 'Oldest' has many meanings and this list is not limited to just the oldest AFL/VFL football. Over time the idea is to find:
  • Oldest where the brand is known
  • Oldest of Each Brand
  • Oldest used by each club
  • Oldest VFL, VFA, or other competition
  • Oldest of Any Type
  • Oldest on public display
  • Oldest Interstate (SA, WA, Tas)
  • Oldest White Football, Rubber Football

The List

Year Collection Image Description Event Manufacturer On Public Display
1894 Collingwood Football Club
Source: Collingwood Football Club
Source: Collingwood Football Club
Good Condition - Usually protected by a glass dome, but the dome was kindly removed so this photo could be taken. Presented to Archie Smith for kicking 6.4 out of the clubs 8.11 against Carlton on September 15 1894 Sherrin - Match 11 Yes (Westpac Centre)
1895 Caters Auctions
Source: Carters Auctions
Source: Carters Auctions
brown leather ball indistinctly stamped 'Match', laces partly perished, with silver metal plaque inscribed 'Victorian Football Association/First Premiership Pennant/Won By, The/Fitzroy Football Club/Season 1895./Ball Used In/ Final Match Presented By the Players to Captain Tom Banks As a Momento', mounted on metal and wood stand 1895 VFA Premiership football presented to Fitzroy Captain Tom Banks indistinctly stamped 'Match' No
1905 Melbourne Cricket Club Museum
Source: Melbourne Cricket Club Museum Collection
Source: Melbourne Cricket Club Museum Collection
Football constructed of four pieces of leather sewn together, and with leather strapping on one side securing the internal inflatable bladder. Inscription: 'MATCH/II/T.W.SHERRIN/MAKER/WARRANTED'. Football is part of a trophy presented to William A. O'Cock as captain of the Collingwood Trades Football Club who were premiers in 1905. Collingwood Trades was part of a Wednesday football competition. The football, penny (M2919.2) and rosette (M2919.9) within the trophy were those used on the day of the premiership win. Collingwood Trades V St.Kilda, Wednesday Football Competition Grand Final Sherrin Yes (Melbourne Cricket Club Museum)
1914 St Kilda Heritage Museum
Source: Georgie Day - Heritage Museum Coordinator
Source: Georgie Day - Heritage Museum Coordinator
The inscription on the football reads 'ACTUAL BALL USED - MCNAMARAS PLACE KICK'. The plaque is engraved as “ T W Sherrin maker” Ball from Dave McNamara’s longest kick, (96.5 yards on July 21, 1914) Sherrin Yes (St Kilda Heritage Museum Moorabbin)
1922c Hawks Museum
Source: MRiley
Source: MRiley
Length of ball approximately 29.5 with the width approximate 18cm. The ball is mounted on an oval wooden base with gold & brown ribbons added and housed in a glass and wooden display box. Probably been on display ever since; First in the Committee Room, then the Board Room then the Hawks Museum since 1994. commemorative plaque reads ...
Hawthorn Football Club
Record score for Victoria
League and Association
Hawthorn v Prahran
Played at Glenferrie Oval August 5th 1922
Hawthorn 30 goals 31 behinds 211 points Prahran 6 goals 9 behinds 45 points
J W Kennon President F G Pritchard Secretary
Not Known - Match Australasian .11. on one side, VE followed by at least 6 more letters on the other (Probably Don - Veribest) Yes (Hawks Museum)
1924 Burley Sekem
1924 Ball - Source: Burley Sekem
1924 Ball - Source: Burley Sekem
Original Ball with a replacement bladder (earliest known surviving Burley Ball) 1924 ANFC Carnival (Hobart) Ball Burley No
1930s Burley Sekem
1930s Ball - Source: Burley Sekem
1930s Ball - Source: Burley Sekem
Original Ball with a replacement bladder 1930's Ball, c1933 when Burley became the Official ball of the SANFL Burley No
1931 Richmond Football Club
On May 9 1931 - Doug Strang kicked 11 Goals with this Ball, a Richmond Record - Source: Richmond FC Museum - MRiley
On May 9 1931 - Doug Strang kicked 11 Goals with this Ball, a Richmond Record - Source: Richmond FC Museum - MRiley
Original Ball Mounted 1937 VFL Grand Final Ball Unknown Richmond FC Museum
1937 Geelong Football Club
1937 VFL Grand Final Ball - Source: MRiley
1937 VFL Grand Final Ball - Source: MRiley
Original Ball in Glass Case 1937 VFL Grand Final Ball Sherrin Kardinia Park
1945 Carlton Football Club N/A N/A 1945 Grand Final Ball N/A No
1954 Western Bulldogs Football Club
Source: MRiley
Source: MRiley
N/A 1954 Football presented to Charlie Sutton Unknown Yes- Bulldogs Museum (Whitten Oval)
1961 Geelong Football Club
Photographer: MRiley
Photographer: MRiley
White Ball 1961 VFL Night Series Grand Final Ball T.W. Sherrin Kardinia Park



Thanks to all who have contributed their time to the development of the list.

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