Season Summary: 1929
John 'Barney' Lonergan joined Williamstown in 1929 from Colac and played 50 games up until the end of the 1934 season.
The VFA decided to bring its strength up to 12 clubs by admitting Oakleigh and Sandringham in 1929, and also introduced a single reserve player to replace an injured teammate. The Association also began to start the season a week prior to the VFL and the first round of matches would be between neighbouring districts. 60,000 attended the first day of 1929 with a crowd of 16,000 at the Northcote v. Preston fixture. Williamstown finished eighth with 9 wins and 13 losses, including the first-ever victory over reigning premier, Coburg, in round 14 by 6 points at Williamstown.
Edmund 'Ted' Clauscen transferred to North Melbourne in 1929 after 41 games and 8 goals with Williamstown from 1926-28. Originally from St Kilda Seconds, Clauscen would go on to play 25 games without kicking a goal for North in 1929 and 1930.
Leon 'Onty' Beer transferred back to his original club, Yarraville, and the new committee appointed George Beasley, who had played with Collingwood from 1924-28, to the vacant captain-coach position. Norm McDonald returned from Footscray to become vice-captain but later in the season when both become unavailable, Fitzroy recruit Gordon Helwig captained the team. 1921 premiership full-forward, Jim McAuliffe, attempted a comeback after playing in the country with Dunkeld, St Arnaud and Swan Hill since 1925 but without success, managing just 6 goals for the season. Gerry Britt returned from North Melbourne, Jack Ferguson came back after three seasons with South Melbourne, Tom Meehan after one season and 5 games with Fitzroy, Vic Truman similarly returned from stints at Fitzroy and Footscray after having last played with Williamstown in 1925, C.F. Nagle came across from Collingwood Seconds, Heggarty from Port Melbourne and Cliff Harry was another recruit, along with John 'Barney' Lonergan from Colac and Joe Flynn.
John Daniel 'Jack' O'Brien, pictured here in 1922 when with Footscray, joined Williamstown in 1929 after spending the previous season with Footscray in the VFL and Coburg in the VFA. Originally from Footscray Juniors, O'Brien was recruited by Essendon in 1920 where he played 14 games and kicked 15 goals before crossing to Footscray in the VFA without a clearance in 1921 where he played until 1924, totalling 64 games and 130 goals. O'Brien played in the 1924 VFA grand final against Williamstown, booting 4 goals in a 55-point victory for the Tricolours. As he was barred from the VFL for leaving Essendon without a clearance, O'Brien left for the country and played at Yarrawonga before returning to the city and playing for Kingsville in 1927 and then returning to Footscray in 1928 when his three-year suspension had finished. With limited opportunities for a 29yo, he headed to Coburg in the VFA to play out the remainder of the season. At Williamstown, he played 35 games and kicked 84 goals and was leading goalkicker at the Club in 1929 with 32 goals and in 1930 with 50 goals when O'Brien was captain-coach. He was replaced as coach in 1931 and then transferred to Newport early in the season. His younger brother, Wally O'Brien, also played at Williamstown in the same period. O'Brien had been wounded in Egypt during World War I and eventually passed away in Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in May, 1966, at the age of 67.
Former Essendon and Footscray forward, Jack O'Brien, also joined the Club in this season along with his younger brother, Wally. Jack O'Brien had played for Footscray against Williamstown in the 1924 grand final and booted 4 goals in the Tricolours' crushing 55-point victory, 11.11.77 to 3.4.22. O'Brien's Footscray teammate, Ted Cahill, also joined 'Town after two years with the Tricolours and would become captain-coach in 1934. Former Hawthorn player, Jim 'Sandy' Sinclair, transferred from Yarraville mid-season. Jim Ward, who played in Williamstown CYMS's 1928 premiership team, also began his long career with the Villagers in this season, aged just 15yo, but unfortunately broke his collarbone. Con Drew did the pre-season with Melbourne but was back at Williamstown by round four.
Collingwood defender George Beasley was appointed captain-coach for the 1929 season, after playing 38 games and kicking 17 goals with the Magpies from 1924-28, including two losing grand finals in 1925 and 1926.
High hopes were held for an improved season with the new coach and other high-profile players attained, and got off to a good start with a 23-point win at Yarraville in the opening match (McAuliffe 4 goals, Helwig best on debut) before a crowd of 10,000, the highest attendance at the ground to that point in time. 'Town's coach of 1928, Leon 'Onty' Beer, appeared for Yarraville in this match. Five consecutive losses followed to have Williamstown in tenth place on the 12-team ladder. The first of these was a 31-point defeat at the hands of new team, Oakleigh, then a 94-point loss at Coburg which didn't even make the final four. There were also losses to eventual finalists, Port Melbourne and Preston. There were then consecutive victories over the eventual two bottom teams, Camberwell by a goal and Sandringham by 7 goals, despite leading by 74 points at three-quarter time before the Zebras added 4.10 to just one behind in the last term. Recruit, Jack O'Brien, kicked eight goals and was named best player. Two losses followed to eventual finalists, Brunswick and Northcote, before victories over Prahran by 52 points and Yarraville by 27 points. Defeat at the hands of Oakleigh for the second time in their debut season was followed by a narrow win over Coburg at Williamstown. This was the first time that the Villagers had downed the 'Burgers since they joined the competition in 1925 and at the tenth attempt. Just three wins in the last eight rounds of the home-and-away games consigned the Villagers to eighth position on the ladder, six games out of the final four. The three wins were over Brighton by 17 points, Camberwell by 35 and Sandringham by 75. The worst of the losses was at Brunswick by 11 goals. There was also a defeat at Port Melbourne in round 15 after 'Town seemingly had the match wrapped up when it led by 17 points late in the game before the Borough kicked 4 goals in the last 5 minutes to double its three-quarter time score and snatch victory by eleven points.
Photo from The Age, June 17, 1929, of the round 10 game at Northcote which the 'Cotes won by 29 points, 17.12.114 to 13.7.85. The Williamstown player shown is Tom Meehan, who played for The Villagers from 1926-31, which included stints at Fitzroy (5 senior games) in 1928 and Collingwood (just three Seconds matches) in 1930.
Jack O'Brien led the goalkicking with 32 despite playing just 12 games, including 8 at Sandringham in round 8 in the first clash between the two teams. Fellow first-year player, Gordon Helwig, was runner-up in the goalscoring with 24 followed by vice-captain, Norm McDonald, and Ted Cahill both with 21, Con Sheehan 17, Gerry Britt 12, and Wally O'Brien and captain-coach, George Beasley, on 11. The team kicked 205 goals and 243 behinds (1473 points), the Club's best aggregate to that time, to the opposition's 222 goals and 273 behinds (1605 points), which was also a record against the Club. Jack Waterman, who came to the Club from Port Melbourne in 1927, polled best for the Villagers in the Recorder Cup voting, which was won by Ted Bourke of Sandringham.
An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the goalscorers of 1929
In just the second season of the VFA Seconds competition, Williamstown finished runners-up to Coburg by 9 points, 14.16.100 to 14.7.91, in the grand final which was played at Oakleigh. For the Villagers, future senior player, Jack Burke, kicked 5 goals while the better players were Jack George, Joe Flynn, Roy Dellar, Leo and Con Drew, Cameron, Baker, Rudd, Kellam and Burke. The successful season may be explained by the fact that the Seconds had amalgamated with Williamstown District under separate management to the senior club in March of 1929.
Leon Beer, Williamstown captain-coach of 1928, transferred to Yarraville in 1929. Beer had played 75 games and kicked 37 goals for 'Town from 1924-28 after earlier playing 15 games and kicking 2 goals with South Melbourne from 1921-23.
At the annual meeting held at the Town Hall Supper Room in December 1929 in respect of the 1929 season, life memberships were awarded to Captain James Fearon, vice-president 1906-08 & 1925-27 and VFA delegate 1928-34, and former vice-president and match committee member, George Hope.
The man widely recognised as the 'Father of Football', Henry Harrison, passed away on September 2, aged 92. Another to pass away in 1929 was 1907 premiership wingman and 1921 premiership captain-coach, Jim Caldwell, who played 81 games with Williamstown from 1905-08 and 1920-22. He also played 155 games with South Melbourne from 1909-19. He died on August 20 at the age of just 41 as a result of peritonitis.
Another to pass on during the year was Charlie Outen, who played for Williamstown from 1874-77 and was the father of Mathew and Wyn Outen who played in 'Town's first premiership team in 1907. Another son, Jack, played in 1909. Charlie had two brothers, Jack and Will, who also played for the Villagers in 1880 and 1874-77, respectively. Charlie was 73 years of age.
George 'Bud' Williamson, who played between 29-33 games and kicked 2 goals in 1888-89 after coming from Tasmania, was another to pass away on June 22, 1929, at the age of 63 in the Homeopathic Hospital in St Kilda Road, South Melbourne. Williamson played with Footscray, St Kilda and South Melbourne after leaving Williamstown following accusations of bribery following a loss to lowly Footscray in 1889.
The Herald, March 7 1940 - Cr George A. Paine was first elected to Council in 1927 and was Mayor from 1929 to 1931, when the new grandstand at the cricket ground was planned, built and officially opened by Cr Paine in April 1930.
In July 1929, the Williamstown Council invited tenders for the erection of a reinforced concrete grandstand at the cricket ground. In August, it was announced that Donald & Co. was the successful tenderer with the lowest quote of 9,907 pounds. Construction had commenced by the end of the month and was expected to be completed by mid-January 1930. The grandstand, which was named the W.L. Floyd Pavilion in 1963 in honour of long-serving secretary, Larry Floyd, had its official opening by the Mayor, Cr. George Paine, on April 5 1930 followed by an athletic carnival on the ground. The Williamstown Athletic Club had its headquarters at the ground and played a big part in assisting a committee that was set up to raise funds to furnish the new pavilion. There was also a dance in the evening in the Town Hall. The final cost of the stand and other improvements at the ground, including a new galvanised fence that replaced the old boxthorn hedge and the installation of turnstiles, was almost 12,000 pounds in the end.
A sketch of the proposed new grandstand at Williamstown
A badge struck in 1929 in anticipation of the new stand.
Increased attendances at Association games in this season made some leaders of the VFL apprehensive, according to The Argus in October 1929, and 'a plan has been evolved with the object of absorbing some of the Association teams into the League. The project is to increase the number of clubs in the League to 16 by amalgamating some of the Association clubs and bringing them into the League. The clubs proposed to be amalgamated are: Preston & Northcote, Coburg & Brunswick, Williamstown & Yarraville, Brighton & Prahran. Port Melbourne is to come into the League with South Melbourne, and thus the Association will be crushed. The project provides for the reconstructed League with 16 clubs to be divided into two sections of 8 each. The discussions have been carried on secretly, and the proposal, although not yet complete, is sufficiently advanced to enable the details given above to be stated.'
Tommy Meehan crossed to Fitzroy in June 1928 and played 5 VFL games without kicking a goal and was back at Williamstown in 1929. He tried out at Collingwood in 1930 but managed only three games in the Seconds and returned to Williamstown once again in 1931 for one final season. Meehan played a total of 38 games for the Villagers after debuting as a 17yo in 1926 and kicked a total of 5 goals. He passed away at Parkville on April 24, 1957, aged just 48.
The Age, September 27, 1929 - In just the second season of the VFA Seconds competition, Williamstown finished runners-up to Coburg by 9 points, 14.16.100 to 14.7.91, in the grand final which was played at Oakleigh.
The Age, September 30, 1929
At the annual meeting held at the Town Hall Supper Room in December 1929 in respect of the 1929 season, life membership was awarded to Captain James Fearon, vice-president 1906-08 & 1925-27 and VFA delegate 1928-34.
The Herald, August 20, 1929 - 1907 premiership wingman and 1921 premiership captain-coach, Jim Caldwell, played 81 games with Williamstown from 1905-08 and 1920-22. He also played 155 games with South Melbourne from 1909-19. He died on August 20 at the age of just 41 as a result of peritonitis.
The Age, August 22, 1929
Williamstown Chronicle, August 24, 1929
Charles George 'Charlie' Outen, pictured here in 1914 aged in his 50's, passed away on November 20, 1929, aged 73. Charlie played for Williamstown from 1874 until 1877 and played all those years with his brother, Will. Both played in 1876 when 'Town won the Junior Challenge Cup, the Club's first piece of silverware. Another brother, Jack, played in 1880. Charlie was the father of Wyn and Mat Outen who both played in Williamstown's first VFA premiership team in 1907 and were both vice-captains during the season. Two other sons, Jack and Percy, also played for 'Town, in 1909 and 1928, respectively. Another son, Alby snr, played for Footscray in both the VFA and VFL, while his son (Charlie's grandson), Alby jnr, played in Williamstown's 1955 and 1956 premiership sides. Another grandson, Reg (pictured here being held by his grandmother, Bridget), was emergency in 'Town's 1939 premiership team in his only season with the Club. Bridget, whose maiden name was Cross, is believed to be distantly related to Mark Cross, who played for Williamstown from 1975-79, being captain in his final season, appeared in 74 senior games and kicked 125 goals, including the 1976 premiership. He coached 'Town in 1994.
Williamstown Chronicle, November 30, 1929 - Charlie Outen played for Williamstown from 1874-77 and was the father of Mathew and Wyn Outen who played in 'Town's first premiership team in 1907. Another son, Jack, played in 1909, while a younger son, Percy, played in 1928. Another son, Alby, played for Footscray in both the VFA and VFL. Charlie had two brothers, Jack and Will, who also played for the Villagers in 1880 and 1874-77, respectively. Charlie was 73 years of age.
Williamstown Chronicle, December 14, 1929.
Argus, August 2, 1929 - William Edward 'Cockle' Matthews, grandfather of Williamstown star of the 1940's and '50's, Fred 'Snowy' Matthews, first played for Williamstown in 1883 when it was still a 'junior' team. Originally from Battery United, Matthews played a further 21 games without kicking a goal from 1884-86 when 'Town achieved 'senior' status. He later played with Footscray, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Port Adelaide. He had his right leg amputated below the knee in September, 1927.
The Age, August 2, 1929
Williamstown Chronicle, August 10, 1929
Sporting Globe, August 14, 1929
The Age, June 24, 1929.
The Age, June 24, 1929.
Emerald Hill Record, June 29, 1929.
Jim 'Sandy' Sinclair came to Williamstown from Yarraville during 1929 after earlier having played 6 games with Hawthorn in 1927. He would go on to play 70 games and kick 115 goals from 1929-34, leading the Club goalkicking in 1931 (31 goals) and 1932 (29 goals). He crossed to Darling during 1933 but returned to Williamstown in 1934 before transferring to Werribee during the 1934 season. He passed away on September 9, 2005, aged 98.
Have a look to see how the VFL side wentRead more ...