Season Summary: 1934
Stan 'Snowy' Lawler, pictured here when playing for Preston in 1939, arrived at Williamstown in 1934 after earlier playing for Kensington, Preston Seconds and then South Melbourne (2 senior games and 6 goals in 1930 & 1931). He played for South Camberwell in 1932 before being recruited by Essendon in 1933 where he played 3 senior games and kicked 9 goals but booted 91 goals for the Bombers' Seconds. He would go on to play 66 games and kick 226 goals for 'Town until round 1 of 1939 when he transferred to Preston following the arrival of Harry Vallence and Eric Glass at Williamstown. He had led the Club goalkicking in 1935, 1936 & 1937 and is ninth on the list of all-time Williamstown goalkickers. His 69 goals in 1937 was the Club record for a season to that stage until Vallence booted 133 in 1939. After playing for Preston in 1939, Stan moved to Yarraville in 1940 and played the first two games of the season before the Second World War intervened in his career. He passed away at Parkville on March 26, 1958, at the young age of just 48.
Cyril Williamson transferred to Brighton from Williamstown in 1934 after playing 38 games and kicking 3 goals in 1932 and 1933 for 'Town. He originally started his football with Spotswood Juniors.
The Club's tenure at the cricket ground was once again in doubt by February 1934, when a dispute arose between the VFA and the Grounds Management Association (GMA). The VFA wanted to play home-and-away games and the finals series at the Motordrome, which was situated in Olympic Park and was a speedway track but also hosted football matches. This move was opposed by the GMA, which consisted of the Councils controlling the grounds on which VFA football was played. The Councils subsequently threatened to prevent any clubs affiliated with the VFA from playing on grounds under their control. This included Williamstown Council. Eventually a compromise was reached and only the finals were to be played at the Motordrome, or Olympic Park as it was also known, and the Councils relented on their threat. The VFA had played finals matches at the ground every year from 1925-27, and then, in 1932, signed an agreement to use the venue as a neutral central ground from 1933 to 1940. Under the deal, the VFA planned to play one match at the ground each weekend during the season, with each club moving one or two of their home games to the ground each year, as well as playing the finals there. The subsequent dispute with the GMA resulted in seven of the VFA's 12 clubs being barred from using their grounds, potentially forcing those clubs to disband or move to other competitions. The agreement was rescinded shortly before the season began, and the ground was never used for VFA finals football again after 1934, although Northcote played three home games there in 1939 when its ground was being resurfaced. Williamstown also played an away game against Northcote there in 1933, the only other regular season game that was ever played at the ground.
William Laurence 'Larry' Floyd first appeared on the scene in this season when he was appointed assistant secretary to Dick Haxby. Floyd had previously been treasurer of Williamstown Seconds in 1932 and secretary of Williamstown District from 1928-31. He also played with both teams, being vice-captain of the latter, as well as Williamstown Juniors and, in 1925, he led the competition goalkicking with 69 majors when playing with Williamstown Scouts. He would go on to be Williamstown secretary from 1935-39, 1945-46 and 1948-49, all periods that coincided with premierships. He was also the Club's VFA delegate from 1945-48. He became Carlton's first full-time secretary from 1951-55 before he embarked on a career in State Parliament from 1955-73. Floyd played his one and only senior game for Williamstown in 1934 at Toorak Park in round 8 when the team was a man short following a late withdrawal from the side and then an injury during the second quarter. He kicked one goal during the game.
Season 1934 was possibly the worst ever experienced in the Club's history. Against a background of public apathy, discontent among the players and committee and the burden of financial concerns, exacerbated by the first two matches being away games, membership sales were the worst on record and, like most other clubs, Williamstown could pay players little more than reimbursement of expenses. Ted Cahill was appointed captain-coach with Jack Barnes vice-captain. Charlie Stanbridge transferred to Camberwell as assistant coach in late June after his application for a clearance was twice refused by the Club, as happened with Tom Byrne who eventually crossed to Fitzroy but was at Prahran by early July and moved on to Hawthorn by 1935. Arthur Cutting transferred to Wimmera Rovers but returned in 1935. Bert Jaensch similarly crossed to Essendon but returned during 1936. Darby Hyde went back to Laverton, while Hec Neill and Bob Addison both transferred just before clearances closed on June 30 to Melbourne and South Bendigo, respectively. The volatile Cairo Dixon was cleared to Coburg after round 4 and went on to win the 'Burgers' best and fairest and play in the losing grand final of that season against former teamate of 1930 at Williamstown, Rex Byrne, who was then back with Northcote, his original team. Cyril Williamson was another who left and went to Brighton.
Arthur Cutting transferred to Wimmera Rovers as captain-coach in 1934 but returned to Williamstown for the 1935 season.
William Laurence 'Larry' Floyd first appeared on the scene in this season when he was appointed assistant secretary to Dick Haxby. Floyd had previously been treasurer of Williamstown Seconds in 1932 and secretary of Williamstown District from 1928-31. He also played with both teams, being vice-captain of the latter, as well as Williamstown Juniors and, in 1925, he led the competition goalkicking with 69 majors when playing with Williamstown Scouts. He would go on to be Williamstown secretary from 1935-39, 1945-46 and 1948-49, all periods that co-incided with premierships. He was also the Club's VFA delegate from 1945-48. He became Carlton's first full-time secretary from 1951-55 before he embarked on a career in State Parliament from 1955-73.
VFA Recorder, September 8 1934 - Cairo Merlyn David Dixon came to Williamstown from the Peninsula Association in 1930 and played 29 games and kicked 15 goals until he was cleared to Coburg after round 4 of the 1934 season. He had also played with Shepparton for part of 1932. Described in the Recorder as 'a player of the vigorous type', Dixon was suspended by the VFA several times. He was banned for 8 matches in 1931 as a result of striking a Preston player in round 6 and then received another 8 weeks suspension for striking a Coburg player at Williamstown in round 4 of 1933. He was reported another 3 times after returning to the field during 1933 and was eventually suspended for a further two matches following the game against Brighton in round 17. He transferred to North Melbourne early in the 1935 season and played 18 games before returning to Coburg during 1936. Dixon then went to Eaglehawk half-way through the 1937 season but returned to Coburg in 1938 to complete 56 games and kicking 45 goals for the 'Burgers. He won Coburg's best and fairest award in 1934 and played in a losing grand final to Northcote in that season. Dixon then captain-coached Kew to the 1939 Sub-District League grand final. He attempted a comeback to the VFA in 1945 with Camberwell at the age of 34 but only managed 3 games.
New players included Charlie McGillivray from Hawthorn, P.A. Graham from Altona, Don Dilks from Spotswood, Gordon Simmons from Garden City, Cliff Cook from Yarraville, Bill Holt, Merv White, Brian Dawes and Jim Lewer from Williamstown Seconds, Jack Pitt from Castlemaine, Charles Fisher from Yarraville, Allan Harsley from Williamstown District, 'Snowie' Baker and Tom Andrews from Newport, Dudley Rogash from Newport District, Eaton from Sale and Bill Stebbins from Richmond. C.P. O'Brien from Werribee played some early games then crossed to Little River after round 5. Former player of 1930/31, Jack Burke, recovered from injury and returned to the field while Jim 'Sandy' Sinclair came back from Darling but crossed to Werribee in mid-June. Stan 'Snowie' Lawler, who had been disqualified for crossing to South Melbourne from Preston without a clearance in 1928, had his suspension lifted and he came to Williamstown in late June just before clearances closed.
Former Williamstown player, Con Sheehan, became captain-coach of Yarraville in 1934. He had transferred to Yarraville after the first round of 1932 following 77 games and 58 goals for the Villagers since 1928. He won a clearance on residential grounds. He was secretary of the Williamstown Old Players & Officials Association from 1956-61.
Defeats were suffered in the first eight rounds, including losses by 106 points to eventual premier Northcote in round 2 and 122 to finalist Prahran in round 8. The 'Cotes score of 30.10.190 was the highest score ever kicked against Williamstown to that point in time. Three of the other defeats were by 5 goals or more. Tenth spot on the ladder in the 12-team competition after the opening round loss at Yarraville, which was captain-coached in this season by ex-Williamstown player Con Sheehan (77 games 58 goals, 1928-32), was the highest position attained all season. In the game at Northcote, the Villagers scored only 9 behinds during the second and third quarters to 13.6 by the 'Cotes but managed 7.7 in a 17-goal final term. Captain-coach Ted Cahill kicked 6 goals out of Williamstown's total of 11, while Northcote's champion full-forward Frank Seymour booted 14. The best performance was an 8-point loss at Coburg in round 4 where Williamstown led by 13 points at three-quarter time but fell away in the last term, adding only one behind to 3.4 by the 'Burgers. Cahill again did well to kick 5 goals. He kicked 5 of Williamstown's 8 goals the following week in a 13-point loss to Port Melbourne at Pt Gellibrand, in their only meeting for the year. Port led by 15 points at the last change of ends and increased its lead when Tommy Lahiff goaled at the start of the last term. The Villagers reduced the margin to a point before Cahill levelled the scores with a shot that hit the post. Leo Keating regained the lead for Port when he also managed a 'poster' before Atkinson of the Borough kicked two goals to seal the victory.
Stan Lawler, who would go on to play 66 games and kick 226 goals until 1939, made his debut at Prahran in the 20-goal defeat in round 8. After Arthur 'Porky' Sykes withdrew just before the start of the Prahran game, Williamstown found itself without a 19th man. When Cliff Cook injured his arm in the second quarter and it seemed the Villagers would have to play a man short, assistant secretary Larry Floyd agreed to play his one and only senior match for Williamstown, kicking one goal.
VFA Recorder, May 5, 1934 - captain-coach Ted Cahill
VFA Recorder September 8 1934 - Williamstown's goalkickers for the season, led by captain-coach, Ted Cahill, with 47 who also was awarded the best and fairest for the year. Assistant secretary, Larry Floyd's, one goal in his sole senior appearance for Williamstown in round 8 is included on the list.
Following a meeting on the Monday night after the Prahran debacle, the year's first victory came in round 9 at Williamstown over Brunswick by 15 points, after the Villagers were trailing by 18 points at three-quarter time before kicking 5.3 to NIL in the last term. Captain-coach Ted Cahill booted 6 goals and was named best player for 'Town. A draw followed at Williamstown the following week against Sandringham, where the Villagers led by 33 points at the last break before the Zebras stormed home with the wind, kicking 6.3 to 1.0 to tie the scores at 14.10 apiece in the last minute of the match. It was claimed by some that the behind scored by Sandringham to level the scores was an error as the ball hit the outside of the behind post but the score stood. Also, Williamstown's Bob Hyde hit the goal post twice during the game, the second time from right in front during the hectic last quarter. Another 6 consecutive defeats followed, three by 6 goals or more.
Team lists for the round 2 match at Northcote on May 5, won by the 'Cotes by 106 points, 30.10.190 to 11.18.84, the highest score ever kicked against Williamstown to that point in time. Northcote's champion full-forward, Frank Seymour (#20), booted 14 goals, which was more than the entire tally managed by the Villagers in the encounter. Captain-coach, Ted Cahill, kicked 6 for Williamstown. In the return match at Pt Gellibrand in round 13, the Villagers had difficulty in even fielding a team and had to engage the services of a local baseballer just to make up the numbers.
In the round 13 game against eventual premier Northcote at Williamstown, the Villagers had difficulty in fielding a team after three players (captain coach Cahill with an injured finger, Bill Stebbings was injured at work on the morning of the game and 19th man Jack Burke failed to appear) withdrew before the match. Emergency, Jimmy Lewer, was included as was Jack Jarrad, a local baseball player. Jarrad had acted as 19th man the week before against Sandringham without getting on the ground and played a further game against Preston in the final home-and-away game of the season against Preston. An injured Bill Holt went home and got his gear and acted as 19th man after the game had commenced. The Argus reporting on this game stated that 'wild scenes in which the field umpire (Mowlam) was stabbed in the arm with a hatpin and a boundary umpire (Lewis) was kicked on the leg marked the conclusion of the Williamstown v. Northcote match. Considerable criticism and abuse was directed at Mowlam by a section of the onlookers during the game and this culminated in an attack upon him as he left the field in company with the boundary umpires. When Mowlam attempted to enter the wired enclosure leading to the dressing rooms he was jostled by a number of infuriated spectators, including several women, and blows were aimed at him. Police hastened to his assistance and another melee occurred inside the enclosure. There was disorder for several minutes during which Mowlam was stabbed.' Gordon Simmons and Jack Pitt of Williamstown were both reported, as was Bates of Northcote. Simmons and Bates were suspended for four matches for having struck each other, while Pitt was reprimanded for having thrown the ball in the face of a Northcote player.
Williamstown again had trouble finding numbers for the round 16 game at Brunswick and started the game without a 19th man. Jack 'Bull' Martin sustained an ankle injury early in the second quarter but remained on the field. Unable to continue after three-quarter time, his place was taken by a youthful supporter named Harold Musicka. 'Snowie' Lawler kicked 5 goals in the 48-point loss. The season's second victory came in the penultimate round with a 25-point win at Sandringham, after leading at every change. Lawler was in form again with a haul of 7. The dismal season concluded with a 6-goal loss to Preston at Williamstown.
VFA Recorder September 8 1934 - Vice-captain, Jack Barnes, transferred to Williamstown District as captain-coach following the fallout from the 122-point loss at Toorak Park in round 8. He was awarded the VFA sub-districts' competition best and fairest award despite playing just six games.
Injuries took a toll and, on occasions, officials such as Larry Floyd, supporters such as Jack Jarrad and Harold Musicka, and even trainers had to take the field just to make up the numbers. After the Prahran match at Toorak Park, playing coach Ted Cahill and an official had an altercation relating to Cahill's salary of 2 pounds and 10 shillings per week (most of which he gave away to his unemployed teammates). Vice-captain Jack Barnes sided with his captain and both resigned. At a meeting on the following Monday evening, the committeeman apologised for his 'unwise remark' and Cahill withdrew his resignation, but Barnes never played for Williamstown again and immediately transferred to Williamstown District as captain-coach where he was awarded the VFA sub-districts' competition best and fairest award despite playing just six games.
Cr Harry Harvey, pictured here in the 1937 Williamstown Centenary booklet, became a vice-president of the Football Club in 1933 and would remain in that position until the end of the 1937 season.
The team managed 196 goals and 203 behinds (1379 points) to 279 goals and 259 behinds (1933 points) kicked by the opposition. Cahill was leading goalkicker with 47 in a team that finished last with just two wins, a draw and 15 defeats, two and a half wins behind the 11th placed Brunswick. He also took out the best and fairest title. Other major goalscorers were Stan Lawler with 23, Jack Pitts with 13, and Jack Burke, Bob Addison and Billy Blake all with 10. Ted Cahill polled best for the Club in the voting for the Recorder Cup while Fred Brooks did best in the VFA Medal, both well behind the respective winners, Danny Warr of Preston and Jim Dowling of Brunswick. 35yo Charlie Stanbridge was selected to represent the VFA against the VFL at the MCG on June 16 just before he was cleared to Camberwell. The Association trailed at the first three breaks by 7 points, 3 points and 1 point before the League booted 7.11 to 4.3 in the final term to run out victors by 33 points, 21.17.143 to 17.8.110, before a crowd of just under 18,000.
An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the goalscorers of 1934.
Growing tired of the disappointments, frustrations and dissension, most of the Committee said they would not be available for the coming 1935 season and the Club was in severe debt and the future was most precarious. The assistant secretary and occasional seconds player, Larry Floyd, took over the secretary post and organised a new Committee, with only Mick Maloney and George Musicka from the old Committee willing to carry on. One of his first moves was to secure the services of John 'Jack' Le Brun, an experienced administrator in junior football circles and founder of the Williamstown District club in 1924, who would become the Club's VFA delegate up until the war recess in 1942 and then again from 1948-56 and a vice-president from 1936-39 and from 1946-48. Floyd had such an impact on the Club that the pavilion at the ground was named in his honour in 1963.
Former captain of 1932, Gordon Helwig, a member of the RAAF, was involved in a plane crash at Pt Cook on October 9, escaping from the wrecked plane with just bruises, cuts and shock. Life member and Williamstown's VFA delegate, John 'Jack' Dennis, tendered his resignation after 25 years service in October. At the annual meeting in respect of the 1934 season held in February 1935, Jim Gray (president from 1931-35 and vice-president 1929-30) and committeeman Steve Maloney were awarded life membership. Player of 1877-78, Fred Kilgour, passed away at his home opposite the ground at 64 Morris Street on April 9 aged 75.
Charlie Stanbridge played in Williamstown's 1921 premiership side before transferring to Port Melbourne the next season where he played for 3 years before joining South Melbourne for 5 seasons where he played 69 games. He then returned to Port Melbourne for 3 seasons before coming back to Williamstown as captain-coach in 1933 but went to Camberwell as assistant coach during 1934.
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, in October of 1934, while still engaged with the RAAF, he was involved in an aeroplane crash at Pt Cook, escaping from the wrecked plane with just bruises, cuts and shock. He passed away on May 24, 1964, aged 63.
The Argus, October 10, 1934
The Age, October 10, 1934
The Age, April 10, 1934 - player of 1877-78, Fred Kilgour, passed away at his home opposite the ground at 64 Morris Street on April 9, aged 75.
Harold Johns finished up with Williamstown at the end of 1934 after 125 games and 47 goals since 1925. He was captain for part of 1931 and vice-captain in 1933. He was suspended for 10 weeks in 1931 for elbowing a Prahran opponent. He received life membership belatedly in 2019.
ver took the field.'
Honorary city health officer and founder of the Williamstown Hospital, Dr Hector Rath Maclean, was a vice-president of the Club from 1886 until 1892. He passed away on August 27, 1934, at the age of 72 at his home in Parker Street, Williamstown.
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