Season Summary: 1905

1905 fixture card produced by W.H. Doherty, Nelson Place, Williamstown. 

1905 fixture card produced by the Royal Hotel, Nelson Place, Williamstown, with a train and ferry timetable on the rear. 


Tom McKinley, captain of Williamstown in 1903-04, transferred to Footscray in 1905 and three years later led that team to the 1908 VFA premiership. He was replaced as skipper by Horrie Dick with George Baker vice-captain. Despite McKinley's loss, the Villagers were not short of talent with the addition of Ted/Ned Alley after 16 VFL games with South Melbourne and qualified for the finals for the first time in 1905 by winning fourteen of the eighteen home-and-away games to finish in third position, one game behind North Melbourne and equal with eventual premier Richmond and followed by Port Melbourne, who 'Town defeated twice once again.

Williamstown were always well placed in the race for the finals, winning the first five games and nine of the first 11, including a 6-goal victory over eventual premier, Richmond, at Pt Gellibrand in round 5. There was also the season's biggest win by 78 points over Essendon Association at Windy Hill in round 4. Two losses followed before another four consecutive victories, which saw the Villagers in second place on the ladder after round 11. A surprising defeat at Footscray the next week and then a 5-goal loss at Richmond saw 'Town slip back to third place, but then another run of four consecutive wins, including victories over eventual finalists, North Melbourne (by 6 points) and Port Melbourne (by 25 points), secured Williamstown's first finals appearance. 

The game at Port Melbourne in round 9 which the Villagers won by two goals, 5.6 to 3.6, was a rugged affair and recruit Ted Alley was kicked severely from behind by an onlooker as he left the field at half-time and had to be carried to the rooms. He recovered to be best afield. Alley was again the object of roughhouse tactics in the Richmond game at Punt Road in round 14. Alley was the victim in a report of the Tigers' centre half-back Bill Lang, a heavyweight boxer who won the Australian title in 1909, lodged by the Williamstown club alleging unduly rough play. The charge was dismissed due to lack of evidence and Williamstown was fined 3 pounds and 3 shillings for making a frivolous report. 


Melbourne Punch newspaper, June 15 1905 - scenes from the round 6 game against West Melbourne at Williamstown, which West Melbourne won by 10 points, 2.14.26 to 2.4.16.

The jubilation at reaching the finals was short-lived as Williamstown went down to North Melbourne in the first final, 5.5.35 to 3.8.26, at the East Melbourne ground in front of a crowd of 7,000. Best players were Ted Alley, Arthur Britt, Billy Graham, Alick McKenzie, George Baker, Tommy Hall, Billy Davies, Jimmy Matthews, Vic Manderson and Fred Houghton. Len 'Mother' Mortimer led the VFA goalkicking with a total of 48, the highest number achieved by any Williamstown player in a season to date, and the first Williamstown player to lead the Association goalkicking. He kicked 9 in Williamstown's big win over Brunswick in round 11 at Pt Gellibrand, 12.5 to 3.7, and booted 8 in the 78-point win at Windy Hill against Essendon Town in round 4, 13.16.94 to 2.4.16. The team scored a total of 128 goals and 186 behinds for the season, the highest aggregate of points yet achieved by the Club, while opponents booted 73 goals and 138 behinds. The team geurnsey reverted to the yellow waist band in this season after the yellow sash over the blue jumper had been used for many years. The Club had 445 members in 1905.

The third president of the Club, John Jobson, passed away on September 21 at his home in Station Road at the age of 81. He presided over the Club from 1876 to 1881 and was in the role when the Club won its first piece of silverware, the 1876 Junior Challenge Cup. Billy Davies and Horrie Dick were selected to represent the VFA against the South Australians at Punt Road on 24 June, but Dick arrived late for the game and was replaced in the selected side. SA won the match by 7 points in front of a crowd of 6,000. Ted Alley and Davies played for the VFA in the return match at Adelaide Oval on August 5 attended by 8,000 spectators which SA won by 3 points. 

Port Melbourne were the first senior club in Melbourne to wear numbers on their jumpers to aid identification of players in this season, although the numbers were too small and the concept was not persisted with until it resurfaced just before the start of the First World War. Fitzroy and Collingwood had used small numbers on their jumpers in a game in 1903 but that was played in Sydney and South Australia also wore numbers on their jumpers in their two games against the VFA in 1905.   

John Jobson, pictured here in 1895, passed away on September 21, 1905, at his residence in Station Road at the age of 81. Jobson was president of the Club when it was awarded the Junior Challenge Cup in 1876, the Club's first piece of silverware. Jobson had been elected president earlier that year, replacing Alfred Thomas Clark, the first recorded president of the Club, who had been in the role since 1870, except for 1872 when John Alexander Springhall snr was in the position. Jobson would remain in the role until the end of the 1881 season, when Alfred Thomas Clark returned to the position of president. Jobson remained on as a vice-president in 1882 before ending his official involvement with the Club. 

The Australasian, September 30, 1905

Williamstown Chronicle, September 23, 1905




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