Bendigo Football League

Photos by Competition and Team


A Football Association was formally organised in Bendigo in the early 1880's as the 'Sandhurst Football Association". There were name changes, firstly when the then named city of Sandhurst changed its name to Bendigo, becoming the 'Bendigo District Football Association' and again changing the name to the 'Bendigo Football League' to reflect a change of allegiance from the V.F.A. to the V.F.L..

The first decade of the 20th century saw the largest threat to the Association firstly when Eaglehawk briefly left in 1904 to attempt to set up its own Association, and then more seriously when an internal dispute in 1906 saw a number of local clubs break away and set up a rival organisation. This was the largest threat to the Association as this new Association was significantly more successful. Apologies and retractions resolved the issue leading to a rapprochement and a combined league in 1907.

In 1914, Rochester, the reigning premiers of the Goulburn Valley League joined the BFL. Rochester's entry into the GVL had caused a number of other teams to leave that competition in protest of the distances of travel involved. Rochester was much closer to Bendigo and the entry of the first regional team should have provided new momentum into the previously local competition. Unfortunately World War One prematurely ended the experiment.

It was not until after the war that Rochester, Echuca, Castlemaine, Kyneton and Maryborough joined the League. The sheer number of regional teams changed the dynamic of the League. The return of Sandhurst and the entry of Golden Square during these interwar period provided a stable structure that held for many years after the war. This was an era of football trains and when many Melbourne players spent time playing in the country.

It would not be till the 1970's and 1980's that the League would again change.

Participating Teams 1880 - 1970

Major Teams
Eaglehawk1882- (except 1904)
Golden Square1935-
Sandhurst1881-1901, 1919-
South Bendigo1893- (except 1906)
Castlemaine1925-1930,1932-1940, 1949-
Echuca1924-1933, 1949-1973
Kyneton1932-1940, 1947-
Rochester1915, 1923-1940, 1946-1971

19th Century
Charing Cross1883-1884
Long Gully Alberts1888-1889
North Bendigo1888-1897
North Sandhurst1891-1893

Early 20th Century
Bendigo City (renamed from Kensington)1912-1915
California Gully1904-1905, 1907-1913
Long Gully1907-1913
West Bendigo1904-1907
Golden Square Imperial1904

Mid 20th Century
Bendigo East1919-1924
Echuca East1940


Bendigo Football League Best and Fairest
Bendigo Football League Leading Goal Kicker


Sandhurst Football Association 1881 - 1891, Bendigo District Football Association 1891 - 1913

Bendigo League 1881 1892
Bendigo League 1881 1892

  • A conference to form the Sandhurst Football Association was held in Jun 1881 between Bendigo, Sandhurst and Coachbuilders clubs) - not ratified
  • Sandhurst Football Association formally came into existance in May 1882. Comprised of Bendigo, Sandhurst, Coachbuilders and Ironbark
  • Early BFL Premierships (1880 Bendigo, 1881 Sandhurst, 1882 Eaglehawk, 1883 Eaglehawk) may indicate a retrospectively identified 'best team' rather than an official premier 'of the Association'
  • 1884 May - Ironbark amalgamated with Epsom Football club
  • 1884 Organisation of the Association at a low point in regard to disputes and management. (Membership of the Association unclear)
  • In 1885 Coachbuilders had difficulty fielding sides on Wednesdays , Coachbuilders disbanded May 1886 before start of season
  • Long Gully Alberts started but did not finish the 1889 season (Exit in June)
  • Sandhurst Football Association' changed its name to the 'Bendigo District Football Association' 4-May-1891, the same day that Sandhurst was renamed (back to) Bendigo. Sandhurst from 1853-1891
  • North Sandhurst first Season 1891

Bendigo District Football Association 1891 - 1913, Bendigo Football League 1914-

Bendigo League 1893 1918
Bendigo League 1893 1918

  • South Bendigo Senior Club formed in 1893
  • North Sandhurst started the 1893 season but did not complete the season (Exit May)
  • North Bendigo disbanded 1898 prior to start of season
  • Sandhurst did not play in the BFL from 1902 to 1918. They started the 1901 season, but did not complete the season (Exit in June)
  • Eaglehawk did not Play in 1904, attempting to build a local competition
  • The Bendigo and Northern District Association was created in 1906 after a dispute (South Bendigo and the two Gully teams played a full season
  • Long Gully won the Bendigo and Northern District Association in 1906
  • West Bendigo withdrew from the competition midway through the 1907 season (June) though continuing to play junior football
  • Kensington renamed Bendigo City and enters competition as senior team in 1912
  • Bendigo District Football Association'renamed 'Bendigo Football League' in October 1913
  • Rochester were GV League premiers in 1914 and moved over to the Bendigo League for 1915
  • The Bendigo League began the 1915 season but did not complete the season due to the war.

Season Details
Go to BDFA 1901
Go to BDFA 1902
Go to BDFA 1903
Go to BDFA 1904, Go to ESA 1904
Go to BDFA 1905
Go to BDFA 1906, Go to BNDFA 1906
Go to BFA 1907

Bendigo Football League

Bendigo League 1919 1944
Bendigo League 1919 1944

  • Sandhurst club reformed in 1919
  • Castlemaine was unable to form in 1931 and 1939 for lack of players
  • Maryborough moved from the Ballarat League (Though with different management)
  • Echuca moved from the GV League but collapsed in 1934 due to lack of quality players
  • All Teams started the 1941 season, but it was restricted to only local teams partway through the season due to the war
  • Bendigo East was not included in 1925 to make room for Castlemaine and keep an even number of teams in the competition

Bendigo Football League

Bendigo League 1945 1970
Bendigo League 1945 1970

  • Elmore competed for one year to make an even number of teams
  • A new Echuca club came from its local competition before joining
  • Rochester entered the GV League bin the 1972 season
  • Echuca entered the GV League bin the 1974 season


A Souvenir Of Bendigo And District Containing 25 Beautiful Photographic Views Robert Jolly SLV New Grand Stand
A Souvenir Of Bendigo And District Containing 25 Beautiful Photographic Views Robert Jolly SLV New Grand Stand
Bendigo, Showing Residential Area And Sports Oval Airspy SLV H91.160 1585
Bendigo, Showing Residential Area And Sports Oval Airspy SLV H91.160 1585

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