Season Summary: 1932
Cyril Williamson came to Williamstown from Spotswood Juniors in 1932 and went on to play 38 games and kick 3 goals in 1932 and 1933 before transferring to Brighton in 1934.
1932 saw the Depression hit hard and most clubs could offer little more than reimbursement of expenses for players and attendances dropped as supporters could not afford the fares to follow their team away from home. Williamstown were fortunate to obtain the services of a wonderful player and clubman in Fred Brooks from Carlton, who was teaching at Williamstown High School. Other recruits included former North Melbourne and Essendon player, Billy Lynch, Bill McCabe from North Melbourne, Frank McGrath from Wonthaggi, Cyril Williamson from Spotswood Juniors, Roy Dellar from Spotswood, Darby Hyde from Laverton and Harry Grant from Meredith. Tommy Gubbins, Williamstown CYMS 1928 premiership vice-captain, joined Williamstown after playing 17 games with Essendon in 1930-31. Reg Taylor also began his long career with Williamstown in this season after coming from Williamstown Rovers to captain-coach the Seconds. Horrie Stanway, formerly of Footscray and Richmond, joined the Club before clearances closed on June 30.
Herald, June 10, 1932 - Bill Whitburn transferred to Ivanhoe in the VFL Sub-Districts competition during 1932 after 48 games and 15 goals with 'Town since 1922, which included stints with Collingwood (1924, 4 games 1 goal), Williamstown Juniors (1925), Carlton Seconds (1928) and Essendon Seconds (1929).
Con Sheehan transferred to Yarraville after the first round of the year following 77 games and 58 goals for the Villagers, R. Buchanan was cleared to Fitzroy, Bertie Crellin went to Sandhurst, Matt Goggin went back to Lethbridge and Bill Whitburn left for Ivanhoe during the year. Arthur Sykes trained with Richmond and again sought a clearance to the Tigers which was again denied and he returned to Williamstown.
Three consecutive wins to start the season looked promising, commencing with a hard-fought eight point win at Williamstown over Yarraville, where scores were level with 10 minutes remaining before goals to captain Gordon Helwig and Tom Byrne sealed the victory. One of Helwig's two goals for the match was reportedly the result of 'a magnificent punt kick, scored a goal from 65 yards (59 metres) out. It struck, on the full, the wire on top of the outside fence. Enthusiastic supporters who measured the distance after the match declared it to be a 77-yard (70 metre) effort.'
VFA scores, ladder and goalkickers after round 1 of the 1932 season, together with other snippets of information pertaining to Williamstown.
A 10-point win at Oakleigh followed where the Oaks, the reigning premier, led by 17 points with 9 minutes remaining before the Villagers added four goals in 5 minutes to take the lead before Oakleigh goaled just before the siren. Tom Byrne kicked 5 goals and was best-on-ground. The eventual runners-up, Coburg, were then defeated at Williamstown by 6 goals, with Jim Sinclair booting 5 goals and being best-on-ground and saw the Villagers on top of the ladder. Four successive losses, at Northcote, at Williamstown against Sandringham, a narrow 3 point defeat at the hands of Port Melbourne at Williamstown followed by a 2 goal loss to Camberwell, again at Williamstown, saw the team drop to 8th position on the ladder. Twice the Villagers missed easy shots at goal in the last quarter against Port and then, two minutes before the final bell, Jim Sinclair goaled to put Williamstown three points in front. Port immediately replied to snatch victory. The Argus reported that feelings against field umpire Schaefer 'ran very high among Williamstown supporters on Saturday. Schaefer was subjected to a remarkable display of hostility when, after the match, he walked from the umpire's room through the Williamstown dressing room to the showers. There was a storm of hooting from every part of the room.' In the Camberwell game, the field umpire McKinnon 'received the rare honour of being applauded by many of the spectators' according to The Argus.
Sporting Globe, May 25 1932 - 'Porky' Sykes was selected to represent the VFA in a charity game against the VFL at Carlton on the Queen's Birthday which the Association lost by just 8 points, 15.17.107 to 14.15.99. Tom Byrne and Gordon Helwig from Williamstown also played in this match, with Helwig sustaining a knee injury and never playing for 'Town again.
The Herald, June 17 1932 - Williamstown captain, Gordon Helwig, was selected to represent the VFA in a charity game against the VFL at Carlton on the Queen's Birthday which the Association lost by just 8 points, 15.17.107 to 14.15.99. Tom Byrne and Arthur 'Porky' Sykes from Williamstown also played in this match, with Helwig sustaining a knee injury and never playing for 'Town again.
Williamstown returned to the winner's list in round 8 with a 16 point victory at Elsternwick Park over Brighton, 11.18.84 to 9.14.68, where the Villagers kicked 2.8 to 0.2 in the third quarter and should have won by more. A six-point win at Prahran followed in a game which The Argus stated that 'spite crept into the game in the third quarter, indiscriminate use of weight in the ruck causing ill-feeling, which quickly spread, and a number of players came to blows. Two of the smaller Prahran players were injured in wild play and three others had to receive attention.' Williamstown returned to fifth position on the ladder with a 9 point win at Pt Gellibrand over Brunswick. Shortly before half-time in this game a 35yo woman, Mrs Ruby Gilbertson of Railway Crescent, collapsed, was taken into the pavilion and pronounced dead when examined by a doctor. She was the second person to pass away at the ground within a year following the death of a Sandringham supporter in the last home-and-away match of 1931.
The Herald, July 8 1932 - Roy Dellar/Deller came to Williamstown from Spotswood in 1930 and played 71 games and kicked 6 goals before transferring to North Melbourne in 1936 and then Footscray in 1938. He played 30 games for North and 2 with Footscray.
A 3 point loss at Preston in round 11 was followed by a 39 point win at Williamstown over Prahran with Jack Barnes booting 5 goals and being best-on-ground before a 7 goal loss at Coburg. The year's second-biggest victory occurred at Williamstown against Brighton in round 14 with a 57-point win which had the Villagers back in sixth spot on the ladder. Hopes of a finals chance were dashed with a 6 goal defeat at Sandringham despite Williamstown leading by 3 goals at half time but adding only 2 goals to 10 in the second half. A 10 goal win over eventual finalist Preston at Williamstown with Jack Barnes booting 7 majors revived the prospects of a finals berth but that was to be the final victory of the season. The home-and-away rounds were concluded with four successive losses to Brunswick, Port Melbourne, Northcote and Camberwell, all by sizeable margins. In the round 18 match at Port Melbourne, three late changes to the Williamstown team meant that first rover in the 1921 premiership team, Norm McDonald, was called up out of retirement at the age of 34 to sit on the bench just to make up the numbers, but was on the ground after quarter time when he replaced an injured Arthur 'Porky' Sykes and proceeded to kick three of 'Town's six goals for the game, which played the second half with just 17 players.
Con Sheehan, pictured here on a 1934 Licorice Larks trading card, transferred to Yarraville after the first round of the year following 77 games and 58 goals for the Villagers since 1928. He won a clearance on residential grounds and went on to captain-coach Yarraville in 1934.
From the VFA Recorder of April 30, 1932.
The dismal season came to a merciful end with the Club finishing eighth with nine wins and eleven defeats The only notable performances were wins over finalists Coburg and Preston and honourable 3-point losses to Port and Preston. Jim Sinclair was again leading goalscorer with 30, followed by Jack Barnes on 27, Ted Cahill 24, Tom Byrne, Frank McGrath and Billy Blake all with 18, Harry Grant 14, Eric Shade 13 and Con Drew 12. The team scored 216 goals and 272 behinds (1568 points) against 224 goals and 267 behinds (1611 points) kicked by opponents.
Second-year player, Hec Neill, was the recipient of James Taylor 'Jim' Gray's president trophy for the most popular player of 1932.
Arthur 'Porky' Sykes won the best and fairest award for the third consecutive season. Captain Gordon Helwig injured his knee in a charity match against the VFL at Princes Park in June and never played for Williamstown again. Prior to being injured, Helwig's marking at full-forward, which resulted in 3 goals, delighted the crowd of 30,000. Vice-captain Jack Barnes took over as skipper for the remainder of the year with Ted Cahill acting as vice-captain. Sykes and Tom Byrne were also selected in the VFA side, that went down by just 8 points, 15.17.107 to 14.15.99. Sykes, Ted Cahill and Con Drew polled best for Williamstown in the voting for the Recorder Cup but were well behind the winner, Bob Ross of Northcote.
An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the goalscorers of 1932.
At the annual meeting held at the Town Hall in November, life memberships were awarded to committeeman of 1928 and vice-president 1929-32, Claude Tomkins, and Club secretary of 1929-32, Harold Hosking. Tomkins later held the office of president of the Seconds from 1945-50, while Hosking was a vice-president from 1933-35 and 1948-49 before becoming president of the Club from 1950-54. Full-back in Williamstown's first premiership team of 1907, Dick McKay aka Dick McCabe, passed away at his home in Perrins Street, South Melbourne, on June 21 aged 54. He played 31 games and kicked 2 goals in 1907-08 and 1910.
Gordon Helwig was captain of Williamstown in 1932 up until he injured his knee when representing the VFA in a charity game against the VFL at Carlton on the Queen's Birthday which the Association lost by just 8 points, 15.17.107 to 14.15.99, and never playing for 'Town again. Helwig had been recruited from Fitzroy in 1929 after playing 51 games and kicking 28 goals for the 'Roys from 1925-28. He had played previously with Northcote from 1920-25. He was captain-coach of the Villagers for a short time in 1931 after the original appointee, Jim Shanahan, was unable to continue due to his employer, the Police Department, prohibiting paid outside employment. Helwig, an Air Force employee, was similarly prevented from continuing in the role and was replaced by Jim Toohey in June of that year. Helwig played a total of 60 games and kicked 50 goals for Williamstown from 1929-32 and was involved in a crash involving an RAAF aircraft in October 1934 at Pt Cook and walked away with just cuts and bruises. He passed away on May 24, 1964, aged 63.
The Williamstown team of 1932, pictured in front of the new grandstand built in 1929 and officially opened in April 1930. Fred Brooks is third from the left in the second back row. Tom Byrne is fourth from the right in the second back row, Hec Neill is to his left and Jack Barnes is second from the right. Coach, Jim Toohey, ex-Fitzroy player from 1913-17 and 1920, is fifth from the left in the back row. 'Barney' Lonergan is the third player from the left in second front row. To the right of him is Arthur 'Porky' Sykes, then captain Gordon Helwig and then Arthur Cutting, fourth from the right in the second front row. Cairo Dixon is on the right of the front row, sitting on the ground.
Enhancement and colourisation kindly provided by Adrian Newington, grand-nephew of Tom Newington (head trainer 1933-46) and John Martin snr. (captain-coach 1926 and player 1923 and 1927) and first cousin, once removed, of 1956 Liston Medallist, John Martin jnr.
Emerald Hill Record, June 25, 1932 - Full-back in Williamstown's first premiership team of 1907, Dick McKay aka Dick McCabe, passed away at his home in Perrins Street, South Melbourne, on June 21 aged 54. He played 31 games and kicked 2 goals in 1907-08 and 1910.
The Herald, June 22, 1932
The Age, June 22, 1932
Full-back in Williamstown's first premiership team of 1907, Dick McKay aka Dick McCabe, passed away at his home in Perrins Street, South Melbourne, on June 21 aged 54. He played 31 games and kicked 2 goals in 1907-08 and 1910.
The Argus, June 27, 1932 - Shortly before half-time in the round 10 game at Williamstown against Brunswick on June 25, a 35yo woman, Mrs Ruby Gilbertson of Railway Crescent, collapsed, was taken into the pavilion and pronounced dead when examined by a doctor. She was the second person to pass away at the ground within a year following the death of a Sandringham supporter in the last home-and-away match of 1931.
Williamstown Chronicle, July 2, 1932
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