Williamstown Football Club History 1860-1879

 

To view premiership teams click www.williamstown.com.au/premiership-photos

 

Tom Wills, one of the founding-fathers of Australian Rules football, was present at the meeting of May 17, 1859, when the ten original 'Melbourne' rules were drawn up. Wills was captain of Melbourne in 1858-1859, Richmond in 1860 and Geelong in 1867-1868 and 1872-1873. He was a cousin of Henry Harrison. Wills committed suicide on May 2, 1880, aged just 44. 

What we now call Australian Rules football was played in Victoria and the other colonies from the 1840's, but in 1858 it came into greater prominence when some cricketers, football enthusiasts and schoolboys played a number of scratch matches on the Richmond Paddock in Melbourne. The Melbourne Football Club was re-formed on May 14, 1859, at the Parade Hotel, East Melbourne, (later named the MCG Hotel) after a scratch match against South Yarra on Richmond Paddock (now known as Yarra Park). Melbourne had been first formed on July 31, 1858, when a code of rules had been written after a scratch match on the Richmond Paddock organised by Jerry Bryant of the Parade Hotel, but these were based on school football rules but made simpler so they were easier to follow and were based to some extent on the book 'Tom Brown's School Days'. 

On May 17, 1859, a committee of MCC members including William J. Hammersley (a sports journalist), James B. Thompson (an Argus journalist), Thomas H.Smith (a school headmaster) and Tom W. Wills, met at the same hotel and agreed to authorise Wills' cousin, Henry Harrison, to draw up a set of rules based on rugby but modified to suit local conditions. As a clerical officer at the Customs Department, Harrison was well-equipped for this task and his rules, freely drawn from all codes including rugby and its Gaelic offspring, were adopted unanimously by his colleagues at a subsequent meeting. His new set of ten rules became the code under which most other clubs eventually played and earned Harrison the title of 'The Father of Football'. He was also the tide officer at Customs and lived and worked in Williamstown in 1853. Apart from these gentleman, Bryant was one of Melbourne's early officials and did a lot of work for the advancement of the game, while Tom Jones became a prolific writer of the game for publications such as The Footballer and The Australasian. 

The founding committee were of the belief that football was not only a good way for cricketers to stay fit over winter but that organised sport helped instil British values, imported from English public schools, of self-sacrifice for a greater cause (for the team and, by extension, the country), that a healthy mind went hand-in-hand with a healthy body, and that such qualities helped make an athlete a role model that others in society could emulate.

The modern Australian code can be traced back to these original 'Melbourne rules', which quickly became the 'Victorian rules' and, eventually, 'Australian Rules', and made Australian football the oldest codified form of football in the world. It has been argued by some that an indigenous form of football called marn-grook influenced Tom Wills, who incorporated its elements into the 'Melbourne' rules. Wills was the first captain of Melbourne in 1859 and Harrison was a teammate. 

The first 'official' recorded game of Australian Rules football is thought to have been a meeting between Scotch College and the Melbourne Church of England Grammar School on 7 August, 1858, at the Richmond Paddock where 40 players on each team battled for three hours under agreed rules which were not written down. As scores were tied at one goal each, the game was resumed two weeks later and, when no goals were scored, the game was adjourned until September 4. Again no goals were scored and the match was declared a draw. Tom Wills umpired the game, which had no marked boundary line and the goals were approximately a mile apart. There is anecdotal evidence that an earlier match took place at St Kilda between Melbourne Grammar and St Kilda Grammar on 5 June, 1858, but this cannot be verified. There was allegedly another game between Melbourne Grammar and a St Kilda team at St Kilda on July 31 that was abandoned due to a dispute over the rules. 

The South Yarra and St Kilda clubs (not connected to the current AFL entity) were soon formed, and occasional teams representing East Melbourne, Albert Park, Prahran and University also appeared. Geelong Football Club came into existence on July 18, 1859, at a meeting in the Victoria Hotel on the corner of Moorabool and Malop Streets in Geelong, where Wills amalgamated several small clubs to achieve this and also became its first captain. Harrison took over as captain of Melbourne. 

 

The May 17, 1859, 'Melbourne Rules', later renamed 'Victorian Rules' following the meeting in May, 1860

Richmond appeared on the scene in 1860 but originated out of the cricket club and was not related to the current AFL team and Tom Wills and Henry Harrison both moved across from Melbourne to play with them, with Wills becoming captain of his third club. Wills also captained Melbourne in a game against St Kilda on July 7, while Harrison also played for Melbourne against Geelong later in the year. Both men played for Geelong in later years. Although he was an excellent player, Wills concentrated on the organisastional side of the game and put in a terrific amount of work starting new clubs around Victoria and in adjacent colonies, and the advancement of the game suffered a great blow with his untimely death in 1880. He did not appear to have played any part in the formation of the VFA  and nor was he ever a secretary or delegate of any club. 

Mark Pennings in his book, 'Origins of Australian Football: Victoria's Early History' writes that 'Booroondara, Collingwood, Williamstown and University were other clubs that emerged' (in 1860). He added that 'there are no reports about matches played by Booroondara or Williamstown'. He also records that 'the first football "council" was held at the Argus Hotel (in Collins Street) on May 28 (1860).' The Argus newspaper confirmed on 29 May, 1860, (see below) that a Williamstown delegate was invited along with eight fellow delegates to the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to reconsider the 'Melbourne' rules, formalise them and to reach an agreement on them. They were renamed the 'Victorian Rules' at the meeting and continued to evolve into the game we all know today. Pennings wrote that 'representatives from Melbourne, St. Kilda, South Yarra, Richmond, Scotch College, University, Williamstown, Collingwood and Booroondara were in attendance'. The Collingwood team was not connected to the current AFL team. The invitation to participate in formulating rule changes for season 1860 would not have been extended to the Williamstown Club if it did not exist or was not regarded as a bona-fide team by the Melbourne Football Club, which called the meeting. Geelong was not present as it went into recess shortly after its inception, until being revived in a gathering at the British Hotel in Corio Street, Geelong, on May 21, 1860, and played its first senior match against Melbourne at Argyle Paddock in Geelong on September 1. 

The 'Rules of Football' as drawn up at the meeting at the Argus Hotel on May 28, 1860, where a Williamstown delegate was present.

Documented evidence from the Melbourne and Williamstown press of the day suggest that the football club was formed by members of the Williamstown Alliance Cricket Club in order to keep fit during the off-season. The Age reported on Tuesday, 29 May, 1860, (see below) that the Williamstown Football Club was formed on 18 May, 1860, at the first annual general meeting of the Williamstown Alliance Cricket Club, held at the Mechanics Institute in Electra Street. Hugh Ronald Reid was elected the first secretary and treasurer of the football club and also played. Reid was a founding player and also first secretary of the Alliance Cricket Club. (Later, in 1873, Reid was one of the founders and chairman for 27 years of the Melbourne Steamship Company and passed away in March 1910 aged 70). The article went on to state that 'the first match of the season was appointed to take place on the Queen's Birthday', which was a scratch match. The Williamstown Independent newspaper reported on 2 June 1860 (see below) that 'the members of this newly-formed Club enjoyed their first game on Saturday last.' Furthermore, in the Williamstown Chronicle of Saturday, 16 June, 1860, (see below) Williamstown Alliance invited interested locals to meet at their ground, Market Reserve, for football practice. The Williamstown Chronicle also reported on 30 June, 1860, (see below) that the football club was to play a 'friendly' scratch match on Market Reserve that day at 10.30 am.

The Argus, May 29 1860

 

 The Age, May 29 1860

Williamstown Independent, June 2, 1860

Williamstown Chronicle, June 16, 1860

 Williamstown Chronicle, June 30, 1860

The annual report of the football club for 1914 refers to it being a 'jubilee' year, meaning the 50th year of existence, which puts its formation as 1864. However, secretaries of football clubs often had to rely on information that was not always accurate. In this instance, there appears to be confusion about the year the Club was re-formed with the actual year of its formation. With the demise of the Williamstown Alliance Cricket Club, which amalgamated with the older Williamstown Cricket Club in 1861, it is possible that the football club merely went into recess until 1864 or that any matches that did occur in this period were simply not reported on by the newspapers of the day. Williamstown's comparative slow advancement in the football world was not in keeping with its importance to Melbourne as a port, but communication and transport were difficult and militated against regular visits by the clubs of the inner suburbs. It was not unusual for the Club to have to make up the season's programme with matches against the local rowing club, bowling club or even the soldiers from Fort Gellibrand. Another issue was the fact that players were not bound to any one club so having the same group of players each week could not be relied upon. Furthermore, the publication entitled 'The Footballer' of 1875 noted that 'at the beginning of 1864, football, which had been growing in favour, received additional impetus from the advent of Emerald Hill, Royal Park and Carlton. Stimulated by the example of these latter, Brunswick, Collingwood (not the current AFL team, which was formed in 1892) and Williamstown followed suit'. There are also references to the fact that Williamstown Football Club was formed in 1870, which is known to be incorrect as the club was reorganised for a second time in that year. 

Clubs also began to appear in regional areas, with Sandhurst forming in 1861 (captained by James Thompson, who was one of the MCC committee who drew up the 1859 Melbourne rules) and a Ballarat side in 1862, together with Bendigo, Kangaroo Flat and Maryborough. Royal Park also emerged in May, 1862, along with an Essendon/Flemington combination, followed by Eastern Hill (East Melbourne) in 1863. Richmond disappeared in 1862 while St Kilda disbanded in 1863 due to insufficient numbers to field a side but re-emerged in 1873. The famous Carlton club was formed in July 1864 but did not play a game until 1865, while Emerald Hill became a formalised club in 1864 and later became Albert Park. A Fitzroy team also appeared in 1864 but was a different club to that which joined the Victorian Football Association (VFA) in 1884. Brunswick and West Melbourne were also  on the field by 1865, whereas Geelong almost disbanded in this year due to lack of interest and numbers. 

William Riggall, pictured here in the Melbourne Leader of August 15 1908, played for 'Town in a game at Williamstown on July 2 1866 against Carlton when he was actually a Blues player. After Carlton's Jim Williams kicked the opening goal, Rigall, who had agreed to play for Williamstown as an emergency, broke his leg after being thrown into the picket fence by Carlton's Frank Hillsden and the game was abandoned. Riggall had also played for Royal Park in 1865. 

So, although there is documented proof that a Williamstown team existed in 1860, there appeared to be a period of inactivity which was not uncommon in those early days of our game, where clubs would form one year, go into recess the next and then reappear again at a later stage. Also, due to the relative newness of the sport, the newspapers of the day didn't rate a game of football highly and, subsequently, did not report on them. The next attempt to reform the football club appears to have been in 1864, although there are no records in existence or newspaper articles to testify to that fact, although Pennings wrote in his book that 'Williamstown reappeared after an absence of some years (in 1865)'. The Melbourne Herald reported on July 5, 1865, that the Williamstown Council granted the football club approval to use Market Reserve for the 1865 season. Williamstown played a number of other junior teams in 1865, including games against H.M. Customs, captained by Henry Harrison, on August 5 (result unknown) and a team from the Richmond district called Union, but its first recorded match took place against Carlton at Royal Park on July 15 which resulted in a 2-0 loss (only goals were recorded and the best of three goals decided the winner). In the return match at Williamstown on July 2 1866, after Carlton's Jim Williams kicked the opening goal, William Rigall, a Melbourne and Carlton player who had agreed to play for Williamstown as an emergency, broke his leg after being thrown into the picket fence by Carlton's Frank Hillsden and the game was abandoned. This is generally thought to be the game's first serious injury, and he was attended to by Dr. Edward Figg of Williamstown, who was a vice-president of the Club in 1886.

Riggall had also played for Royal Park in 1865 and Carlton in 1866. The only other recorded game in 1866 was on June 9 when Williamstown played H. M. Customs, or the Melbourne Customs Club, at Market Reserve and the match was a nil-all draw 'after two hours hard work and many severe spills on either side', as reported by The Argus on June 11. Captain, John Wigmore, Hunter and Sutton were best for 'Town, while future president of Williamstown, the local MLA for 17 years and founder of the Williamstown Advertiser, Alfred Thomas Clark, represented the Customs team. 

Click on the link below to view one of Bruce Davis' productions on the early days of the Williamstown Football Club

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgXixsEPKM8&feature=youtu.be

There was an important meeting in the history of the game on May 8, 1866, at the Freemasons Hotel which was chaired by Henry Harrison, when club delegates undertook a revision of the original 'Melbourne' 1859 rules, which were refined and supplemented. Harrison acted as codifier of a final list of thirteen rules, which were signed off by the representatives of Melbourne (Harrison and R.W. Wardill), Carlton (T.P. Power and B. James), Royal Park (J.E. Clarke and Chadwick) and South Yarra (G. O'Mullane and H. Murray). It was a tribute to Harrison that once again his rules were adopted unanimously and clubs were springing up all over Victoria. 

                                                                             

Henry Harrison, captain of Richmond (1861), Melbourne (1861 and 1863-1871), and Geelong (1862 & 1868), was the codifier of the revised rules of 1866. He was the first vice-president of the VFA in 1877 and was president of Melbourne from 1897 to 1906. He was also elected to the committee of the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1871 and was vice-president from 1892 until his death in 1929 at the age of 92. He was a cousin of Tom Wills. 

After 1866 there again appears to be another period of inactivity or temporary recess by Williamstown with no records of any games played, although in Pennings' book Williamstown is still listed as a minor/junior club for the 1869 season. It is more than likely that the Club would have played a few unrecorded matches during the period 1867-69 around the district against other local teams that were not worthy of reporting because it was often difficult to organise matches in the metropolitan competitions, due to the distance and the poor condition of Market Reserve. This state of affairs were not uncommon around the 1870's and, even if Williamstown played only one or two scratch matches, or none at all, it is entitled to claim a continuity of existence from a much earlier point as there were no other clubs playing in Williamstown at that time.

1867 saw a proliferation of new clubs emerging, including a second Fitzroy team, East Melbourne, Rysleigh (from the South Melbourne district) and Pentridge. South Melbourne also arose out of the amalgamation of Emerald Hill and Albert Park in May but reverted to the Emerald Hill name the following year and then Albert Park in 1869, while Royal Park disbanded. A new entity from North Melbourne arrived on the scene in 1869 to replace Royal Park, along with Albion (from the South Melbourne district), Carlton United, East Brunswick, Northcote and Surrey (from the Richmond area). North would rapidly achieve 'senior' status by 1874.

An important change was made in the rules just before the 1869 season began. A time period was set for matches instead of the team scoring the first two goals being declared the winner. By 1870, there were only four major clubs: Melbourne, Carlton, Albert Park and South Yarra with about two-dozen junior clubs playing in Melbourne's parks at the beginning of the decade. In country Victoria, the major clubs were now Geelong, Ballarat, Sandhurst and Kyneton. 

The Williamstown Chronicle reported on April 21, 1870, that so few members attended the annual meeting in respect of the 1869 season, that a club could not be formed. However, the Chronicle reported on May 7, 1870, that 'steps are being taken to reorganise the Williamstown Football Club.' Mr James Arthur Thompson, who played for the Club in the 1860's & 1870's, was instrumental in affecting the reorganisation of the football club once again in 1870, and it was reported in The Argus on May 23 that 'a meeting of the club will be held at the Mechanics Institute on Tuesday next for the purpose of thoroughly organising the club'. The Chronicle stated on May 28 that 'thanks to the exertions of Mr Thompson, a sufficient amount was collected last week to purchase a ball and on Saturday afternoon about a dozen players had a friendly game'. Thompson was also a long-serving member of the Williamstown Cricket Club, and was its secretary in 1888 when he drew up the agreement by which the football club finally agreed to utilise the present cricket ground for all their home games after the merger with South Williamstown. 

                                                                                          

Statue of Alfred Thomas Clark in Williamstown Botanical Gardens, the Football Club's first recorded president in 1870 and who would serve 11 years in that role over three terms (1870-71, 1873-1875 and 1882-1887). This statue has been located in the Gardens since 1891, following Clark's death at sea in 1888. 

Whilst no records can be found of any games in 1870, the Club must have been in existence due to the reference in the 1875 edition of 'The Footballer' to the 'new edition of Williamstown, which was formed in 1870.' The Australasian newspaper, when reviewing the senior and more important junior clubs at the end of the 1870 season, listed Williamstown amongst 'Other Clubs' and gratuitously added that the brief reference was 'just to show that the existence of the club was not entirely forgotten'. Also, 1870 was the first year that the Club had a recorded president in Alfred Thomas Clark, local MLA for 17 years and founder of the Williamstown Advertiser, and local printer, Duncan McLeod, was the first recorded secretary since Hugh Ronald Reid in 1860. Clark and McLeod held those posts for two seasons until replaced by John Alexander Springhall snr (president) and Charles Piper (secretary) for the 1872 season before Clark and McLeod resumed their roles in 1873. Jack Litchfield then became secretary in 1874 and 1875. The early captains of the team were John Wigmore (1866), C.F. Payne (1870), Horace Norman (1871-73) and D. McCallum (1874-75). The Argus of April 6, 1872, reported that, at the annual meeting held in respect of the 1871 season, that 'the colours of the club were also settled, light blue with a white stripe'. This is confirmed in a report in the Chronicle of May 15 1874 that 'it was resolved to adopt a knickerbocker uniform of blue and white'. Also, in the Williamstown Advertiser of May 2, 1925, an article by 'Old Timer' states that the Club's original colours were 'blue jersey, knickers and hose, and a blue cap with a white band running from front to back.' In this article, it was also stated that Jack Litchfield was 'one of the most brainy players that perhaps Williamstown has ever produced. Litchfield was at home when kicking the ball either left or right foot and he often puzzled his opponents when they thought they had him in a corner by the dexterity in which he would get rid of the leather.' 

                                                         

Williamstown Chronicle, May 14, 1870 - the meeting organised by James Arthur Thompson in an effort to restart the Williamstown Football Club.

                                                                

Williamstown Chronicle, May 14, 1870

                                                     

Williamstown Chronicle, May 21, 1870

                                                                                                  

James Arthur Thompson, a native of London, arrived in Williamstown in 1864 and immediately engaged in local sports activities, mainly cricket and Australian Rules football. He played for the Football Club in the 1860's & 70's and organised the meeting in May 1870 that restarted the Club. As Cricket Club secretary in 1888, Thompson was responsible for drawing up the agreement under which the Football Club agreed to use the cricket ground for home games following the merger with South Williamstown. He was a Williamstown resident for 45 years and was president of both the Williamstown Cricket Club and Baseball Club when he passed away suddenly on December 22 1909, aged 62. 

The first record of Williamstown winning a game was reported in the Chronicle on August 5, 1871, when it defeated Wesley College three goals to nil a week earlier (refer report below). There was also a game against an East Melbourne Twenty at Williamstown on August 5 which, it was reported in The Argus of August 7, that 'resulted, after a well-contested game, in a decisive victory for the former' (East Melbourne), two goals to nil. It was also reported in the Williamstown Chronicle of August 12 (refer report below) 'the match, which lasted about two hours, was a well-contested one. The playing on both sides was very spirited, and, even though the Williamstonians exerted themselves most manfully, they were unable to get a goal, the superior playing of the East Melbourne team getting them two goals'. The return match against Wesley College was at Fawkner Park on August 26 with Wesley winning one goal to none (refer report below). There was also another game at Williamstown on September 2 against the Southern Club which, according to The Argus on the following Monday, 'the Williamstown men won, obtaining a goal kicked by A. Weatherall.' Williamstown's last encounter for the season was on September 23 at Fawkner Park against a combined Southern and Wesley team 'which resulted in a decided victory for the united clubs', according to The Age of September 25. Best players for the Villagers were John Buchanan, John Alexander Springhall jnr, W. Tickell, C. Payne and Horace Norman. In total, 5 games were played in the 1871 season, 2 of which were won and 3 lost. 'Town kicked 4 goals and had 9 goals scored against them. The team finished second on the ladder of 'other juniors'. 

                                                                                     

Williamstown Chronicle, August 5, 1871 - a report of the game against Wesley College on July 29 which resulting in the Villagers' first recorded victory, 3 goals to NIL. The 'J. Buchanan' referred to in the article is John Buchanan, who would later die by drowning along with five colleagues in the Spotswood sewerage tunnel disaster on Good Friday, 1895, aged 38. He was the lead engineer on the project. Buchanan captained the team for one game in September 1872 against South Yarra Seconds when the regular skipper, Horace Norman, was unavailable. 

                                                    

Williamstown Chronicle, August 12, 1871

                                                                                   

Williamstown Chronicle, September 2, 1871

From this point in time, the Williamstown Football Club would continue uninterrupted until today except for the recesses in 1916-18, inclusive, in respect of World War One and 1942-44, inclusive, in respect of World War Two and 2020/2021 as a result of the Coronavirus/COVID 19 epidemic. In 1872, the Chronicle reported that, of the ten matches played by the Club that season, four games were won, three were lost and three were drawn. One of the draws was with a strong junior team from Hotham, while they defeated East Melbourne Seconds (twice), South Yarra Seconds and Southern. The game against East Melbourne on July 6 was moved to the Gardens (Fearon) Reserve owing to 'the wet state of the Market Reserve' as was the game against South Yarra Seconds on July 27. John Alexander Springhall senior became just the second president of the Club in 1872 for one year only, replacing Alfred Thomas Clark who had been in the role in 1870 and 1871 but Clark returned to the position in 1873.

It was also reported that, at the annual meeting for the 1872 season, held at the Mechanics Institute on April 1 1873, that 'the committee hopes to be able to start a second twenty, owing to the great increase of members'. Horace Norman was re-appointed captain for the third consecutive season at the meeting but resigned before the first practice match on April 26. In 1873, 9 games were played for one win, 5 draws and 3 losses while 3 goals were scored against 8 by the opposition. The win was against South Yarra, while the draws were against an Albert Park 15, Essendon, Abbotsford and St. Kilda. The defeats were at the hands of North Melbourne (twice), Studley Park and Hawthorn. Alfred Thomas Clark resumed as president in 1873 and would remain in that role until 1875. 

In 1874, the Club played 12 matches, six of which were won, three were lost and three drawn. 24 goals were kicked, the most by any of the 'junior' clubs, while the opponents booted 12. One of these matches was on August 1 where it was reported in The Argus two days later that the 'Williamstown Club sent a team to Hawthorn to play the local club, but the game was brought to an abrupt conclusion in consequence of the Williamstown men declining to play any longer with the umpire, who they considered was not impartial.' New captain, D. McCallum, who had replaced Horace Norman in this season, led his men off the field in protest when he failed to have the umpire changed after a bad decision. 

In a landmark event in football's development, at a meeting on May 22, 1872, at Garton's Hotel in Swanston Street, club delegates/secretaries amended the 1866 rules including a change of ends after half-time instead of each time a goal was scored and authority for umpires to interpret the rules and call infringements and award free kicks rather than just being an arbiter in disputes between captains. They were also given the power to stop play and throw the ball in the air to clear a scrimmage and to start the second half.  

Essendon, Hawthorn and St Kilda (in its second reincarnation) emerged as junior clubs in 1873, but it was only the 'Dons that would go on to become on of the great clubs in football. Neither Hawthorn or St Kilda were connected to the current AFL clubs. This year also saw the demise of South Yarra, which finally disbanded after several mediocre seasons. About 100 clubs were now playing in Victoria, including 70 junior and school teams in Melbourne and about 10 junior clubs in Geelong. 

Williamstown Chronicle, August 12, 1871

Williamstown Chronicle, August 26, 1871

The first ground used by Williamstown was the Market Reserve, opposite St Mary's Catholic Church, and bounded by Cecil, Cole and Hanmer Streets. This was before the girls school was built alongside South Williamstown State School. A letter to the editor of the Williamstown Chronicle in the edition dated August 12, 1871 (refer above), stated that 'some years ago a site was granted to the borough council of Williamstown for market purposes, but instead .... it was let to some private person for grazing their cattle and horses on. The result is that a boy crossing the paddock on Sunday last got a kick from one of the horses and, is now .... in a very precarious state. There is only a three-rail fence around it, and no notice up cautioning persons not to trespass, and it is generally believed that the reserve is a public one. I am informed that a deputation from the local football club waited on Mr. Withers, the lessee, asking for the use of the ground to play a match on, which request was refused.' Perhaps due to the ground being also used to graze livestock, it was not a good surface for football and was often criticized by visitors. St Kilda claimed 'that the surface was covered with lumps of rock' and, following a nil-all draw against 'senior' team Albert Park on June 21, 1873, the South Melbourne Record of the same day described the ground as 'bounded on all sides by dangerous fences, and firmly embedded all over the ground were huge boulders of stone; then the rain that had fallen during the past week has converted it into a perfect swamp, in fact, there were not 10 yards of dry ground in the whole enclosure.' The Argus of June 23 1873 stated that 'the Williamstown ground, which is ..... one of the worst that could be selected for football purposes, as independent of being almost a quagmire, it is covered in different places with large pieces of bluestone which makes it very dangerous to play upon.' The Leader newspaper of 28 June 1873 very similarly described it as 'one of the worst grounds that could be selected for football purposes, as, independent of being a regular quagmire, it is covered in several places with very dangerous obstacles in the shape of large pieces of bluestone.'

Former player of the 1980's, Glen Holder's depiction of the great Ned Kelly during the 1873 season. 

Williamstown's longest-serving president, Trevor Monti, has a keen interest in the famous Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly, and was adamant that Kelly played 11 games with the Seagulls in 1873 as a 'tough centre half-back with unconventional tactics'. Furthermore, he was on track to winning the Club best & fairest before being reported for head-butting the emergency umpire in his last game and was subsequently suspended for six matches. Kelly was just 17yo when he was imprisoned from June 1873 to January 1874 on the floating prison hulk, Sacramento, which was docked at Pt Gellibrand. He came ashore each day to work on construction of the sea walls and later on the artillery bunkers adjacent to the cricket ground. Kelly was returned to Pentridge after his prison stint at Williamstown and then immediately went back to the family home in Greta in Victoria's northeast upon his release. Trevor Monti wrote the first official summary of the Kelly trial which was published in 1981 and he has maintained an intense interest in the bushranger ever since.  

To see more of Trevor Monti's views on Ned Kelly, click on the following link to a clip from Channel 31's Local Footy Show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP3ZLxQ_ObA&feature=related

North Melbourne and St Kilda entered the 'senior' ranks of football in 1874, competing with Carlton, Melbourne, Geelong and Albert Park. Also, following the annual meeting of club delegates/secretaries at Nissen's Cafe in Bourke Street on May 12, a new rule was introduced that players could only represent one club during the year. There were no further alterations before the formation of the VFA in 1877. 

John Rees, pictured here when he was Town Clerk of Williamstown, began his long career with the Williamstown Football Club in 1874. He played until 1878 and then crossed to fellow local club, Battery United, in 1879 where he became captain during the year and led the team again in 1880. He returned to Williamstown in 1882 after the amalgamation with Battery United and became captain in 1883. He played one further season in 1884 when Williamstown obtained senior status. Rees was leading goalkicker in 1878 (3 goals) and equal leading goalscorer with Jimmy MacKrell in 1883 with 8 majors. 

One of the new 'junior' clubs that emerged was Cecil, which would soon become South Melbourne and would go on to win five VFA premierships, an effort only surpassed by Geelong during the pre-VFL era. St Kilda amalgamated with University in late June of 1875 when it became unable to field a team. Williamstown finished fourth on the list of 'leading junior clubs' at the end of 1875, winning 5 games out of the 9 played, with 3 draws and just the one loss, in the best result in the Club's brief history. Amazingly, 21 goals were kicked during the season with just one major scored against the Villagers. In the game against a St Kilda Second Twenty at the Gardens (Fearon) Reserve on May 30, 'Town were victorious 7 goals to NIL, a huge margin at the time. J.K. Ogilvie Smith and R. Murray both kicked 3 goals. The same scoreline was registered in a game against Hawthorn, also at the Gardens (Fearon) Reserve on June 19, with Trott the only multiple goalkicker. There was also a 1 goal (kicked by Will Outen) to NIL victory over senior team, Richmond, at Royal Park on September 4. Williamstown's newly-reformed Second Twenty also did well in this season with 5 wins and 2 draws from its 10 matches. 

Williamstown's ground was shared with another club called Battery United, which was formed in 1877 and became the second strong team in the Williamstown area and similarly found games difficult to organise in its early seasons. Its first president was Alfred Thomas Clark, local MLA for 17 years from 1871-87 and founder of the Williamstown Advertiser, who was the first recorded president of Williamstown Football Club in 1870. SJ Fowler was one of the early secretaries and one of their first captains was Johnny Rees, a former Williamstown player. Battery United's colours were blue and white, and it may have been at this stage that Williamstown, whose original colours were dark blue knickerbockers, guernsey and hose with a blue cap with a white stripe down the centre, adopted black and yellow in 1884 when Williamstown entered the VFA due to Geelong already having a dark blue and white uniform. These colours were retained until 1888, and also featured a black cap with a yellow Maltese cross.   

Williamstown Chronicle, May 15, 1875 - at a meeting held at the Mechanics' Institute in Electra Street on Monday, May 10, 1875, it was resolved to adopt a 'knickerbocker uniform of blue and white.'

In April 1879, The Argus reported that the Williamstown Council 'resolved to give the local football club permission to play their matches for the coming season in the Gardens Reserve', then regarded as one of the best grounds in the Colony, but not on a permanent basis because the oval was still subject to casual lettings by the Council. Although odd matches had been played there in the past, including a game against Carlton on 17 August, 1878, that attracted more than 5,000 spectators, most fixtures were played on the Market Reserve. The new ground was a vast improvement and was looked on by the new administration of President Cr John Jobson and Duncan McLeod, returning as secretary, as a big step towards gaining senior status. The only major success that Williamstown experienced in these formative years was in 1876 when it competed with other 'junior clubs' for the Junior Challenge Cup. In 1865, the Athletics Sports Committee began a competition for football clubs that was known as the Challenge Cup, with the principal competitors being Melbourne, Carlton, Geelong, Royal Park, South Yarra and University, but games were often played against 'junior' clubs such as Williamstown, which were allowed 23 or 25 players against the senior club's 20 players. Lack of a controlling body meant that the more powerful clubs such as Melbourne and Carlton tended to concentrate their fixtures against each other and were under no obligation to spread their roster of games. One solution was the establishment of a Junior Challenge Cup in 1872 by the Athletic Sports Committee to cater for the second tier clubs such as Williamstown, East Melbourne, Richmond, South Melbourne, West Melbourne and Brunswick, as by 1875 clubs had been divided into three categories - senior, junior and minor. 

Williamstown Chronicle, May 13, 1876 - the 'Cup campaign' referred to in the article is the Junior Challenge Cup which is explained below.

It was decided at a meeting of junior clubs held at Hansen's Hotel on Bourke Street in April of 1876, that the winner of the Junior Challenge Cup, to be contested by Fawkner, Sandridge Alma, St Kilda Alma, South Park, South Melbourne, Windsor and Williamstown, would be decided by the awarding of points for wins (2 points) and draws (1 point), a system that would be eventually adopted by the VFA in the late 1880's. Windsor disbanded by the end of June and the remnants were amalgamated with St Kilda Alma, which in turn also withdrew from the competition by mid-July. 'Town suffered their first and only defeat for the season on July 8 at Albert Park against South Park, in a match described by the Williamstown Chronicle of July 15 as 'since the origin of football in Williamstown, a twenty had never to contend with such despicable and unfair players as represented the South Park on Saturday last. Some 500 of the Parkites' usual spectators, consisting of the real larrikin element of Emerald Hill, mustered upon this occasion to obstruct in every possible way the Williamstown players. Directly the ball was sent on its journey no less than twenty individuals rushed from the crowd and made themselves as conspicuous in the match as their friends, the Park club. Appealing to the central umpire was useless, that responsible functionary filling his post so unsatisfactorily that is was compulsory to relieve him of his duties, but his successor did not in the slightest degree remedy matters. We think Waycott, the Williamstown captain, should have stopped the match at a very early stage.' The match was lost one goal to NIL. 

Williamstown Chronicle, September 2, 1876

At the completion of the season, the Cup was awarded to Williamstown, which won 10 of its 12 games with one draw to beat a team called South Park by just one point, 21 to 20, followed by South Melbourne (15 points) and Fawkner Park (13 points). The result was decided in the last game of the season against South Melbourne at Albert Park which resulted in a 2-0 win to Williamstown. A total of 16 goals were kicked by the Villagers against 1 kicked by the opposition. 'The Footballer' publication of 1876 stated 'the denizens of the fishing village have a substantial proof to show of their ability and zeal in pursuit of the manly sport, having won the Junior Challenge Cup after a close run with South Park'. Bob Waycott was captain and P. Conroy vice-captain. R. Murray was leading goalscorer with a total of 7, with J.Rees, Will Outen and P. Conroy kicking 2 goals each and H. Haslam, John Kilgour and J.K. Ogilvie Smith each scoring one major. The Seconds played 9 matches of which 3 were won, 5 lost and 1 drawn, with 11 goals scored by the team and having 14 kicked against them. D. Rogers was leading goalscorer for the Seconds with 6, while Bobby Weatherhead, A. Murray, Wilson, Singleton and J. Davidson each kicked one. 

With 104 members, a good ground, sound administration, the Challenge Cup and a Seconds and Thirds teams, it seemed that Williamstown was due for senior status, but that would not happen until 1884, despite secretary Duncan McLeod's best efforts. The Cup itself was long-lost until discovered in 1995 in the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum (now the Australian Sports Museum) at the MCG by James Grzonek, son of Club historian, Ray Grzonek, during a casual visit to the museum. The trophy, which had been presented to the then-president of the Club, Cr John Jobson, by members of the victorious team at a dinner in the Oddfellows Hall, had been purchased by the museum in late 1993. The Australasian on October 21 named Billy Haslam, A. Murray, J. Rees, John Kilgour, J. Davidson, captain Bob Waycott, Tom Monteith and Sutton as best players for the Villagers during the season. By 1876, The Argus considered 'the Club to be in a very flourishing condition, no less than 102 members being on the books, whereas in past seasons the number has scarcely passed the half century'. A 'Third Twenty' was also formed in this season and took to the field for the first time against Battery United at Market Reserve on July 8, winning 4 goals to 2. For some unknown reason, the Club did not appear to continue with the 'Third Twenty' in 1877. 

At the annual meeting in respect of the 1876 season, held at the Mechanics Institute on Electra Street on April 19, 1877, John Jobson was re-elected president, Charles Scott replaced Duncan McLeod as secretary/treasurer, Bob Waycott was re-appointed captain with Billy Haslam as vice-captain for the 1877 season. C. Sluse was elected skipper of the Seconds with R. Dalton his deputy. 

The 1876 Junior Challenge Cup, won by Williamstown, was discovered at the Australian Gallery of Sport (now the Australian Sports Museum) at the MCG in 1995 by James Grzonek, son of Club historian, Ray Grzonek

                                                                 

                        

There were a number of meetings of interested clubs before the Victorian Football Association (VFA) was formed on May 7, 1877, to promote and extend football throughout the colony and to facilitate inter-colonial contests, but this did not bring about the administrative reforms that were expected, eg secretaries of senior clubs refused to relinquish their right to draw up the season's programme as they were of the view that this was a 'club matter'. In effect, this meant that clubs could control promotion to, and relegation from, the senior grade by the simple process of including a strong junior team in the senior fixtures, and little progress was made over the next few years due to the selfish club interests which prevented such things as paid umpires, points for wins and draws, boundary umpires, independent tribunals for reported players and a properly drawn-up fixture. Mr W.J. Clarke was the first president, with Henry Harrison (Melbourne) and R. Robertson (Carlton) the vice-presidents and Harry Hale Budd (Melbourne) the first secretary and Thomas P. Power (Carlton) the first treasurer. Power was also the editor of The Footballer publication during its short life from 1875-82. 

The Challenge Cup and the Junior Challenge Cup were discontinued with the formation of the first controlling body, the VFA. The new competition included seven clubs with senior status (Melbourne, Carlton, Hotham, Albert Park, St Kilda, Geelong and Barwon) and many junior teams, but only the senior teams qualified for the VFA premiership, which was taken out by Carlton. It was in this season that cricket clubs began courting football clubs to share their grounds and football thus began the transition from free public parks to enclosed grounds and admission fees, a move which financed improvements to the grounds and facilities and secured the future of cricket clubs. It also enhanced recruitment. 

Williamstown Chronicle, May 26, 1877

Williamstown's 1877 annual report revealed that 12 games were played in that season, of which only 2 were won, 8 lost and 2 draws. One of the draws was against senior club, Melbourne, the premier team of 1876, on July 28, while there was also a one-goal defeat at the hands of another senior team at St Kilda on June 9. 'Town defeated a St Kilda team of only 13 players two goals to nil at Williamstown on June 23. 'The Footballer' commented that 'St Kilda, having won on its own ground, sent a ridiculous team to The Vliiage, and there bit the dust for her stupidity.' The only other win for the season was over Hotham United. The loss against South Melbourne on the Gardens Reserve was the first ever sustained there by the Club. 

West Melbourne visited Williamstown on September 1, 1877, and The Argus reported two days later that 'West Melbourne complained of the partiality of the crowd, and stated that the team was hooted all the way to the railway station because it beat the local players.' The West Melbourne secretary even wrote to the Williamstown Chronicle (see below) to complain about the behaviour of the 'Town players and supporters, and stated that 'during the whole of the game the Williamstown team played very roughly, and at times very unfairly, 2 or 3 of them being very conspicuous in this part of the game. The crowd also encroached on the ground and interfered with the play, any good play on the part of our team being hooted in a shameful manner. After the game we were followed to the station by a motley crew who hooted their indignation at us for having beaten the Williamstown.'

Williamstown Chronicle, September 8, 1877

 

A total of 7 goals were kicked for the year, of which P. Conroy scored 5 and R. Dalton jnr and J. Rees kicked one each, while 15 goals were scored by opponents. The team finished eighth on a ladder of 14 teams. The Villagers kicked 16 goals during the previous season, and the decrease in performance was put down to the retirement of several of the Club's better players, including Tommy Beeching (1875-77) and R. Murray (1871-76), and the superiority of competing senior clubs such as Carlton and Melbourne. There was also an issue of players simply failing to turn up for games. It was reported in the Williamstown Chronicle of April 20, 1878, following the annual meeting in respect of the 1877 season, held at the Mechanics Institute on April 17, that 'on a great many occasions not more than 10 of the team chosen put in an appearance, the average for the season being about 15 per match'. The Captain, Bob Waycott, and vice-captain, John Charles Frederick Ulbrick, who were both re-appointed at the meeting for the 1878 season, instituted a fine of one shilling for players who failed to turn up for games without a valid excuse. On a more positive note, it was reported that 'the number of members obtained during the season reached the large number of 109, which is the largest number yet obtained since the formation of the club'. The Second Twenty were more successful, winning 5 of their 12 matches, losing 3 with 4 draws. They kicked a total of 13 goals, with F. Raymer leading the way with 3 majors and J. Rees 2. The opposition kicked 15. T. Crane was appointed captain of the Second Twenty for 1878 with C. Hernan vice-captain. Tom Monteith received a 'handsome silver-mounted emu egg ..... for the best all-round player during the season 1877'. 

Essendon and West Melbourne were new senior clubs in the VFA in 1878, while the organisation of fixtures continued to be a problem and only nine games of the 16 proposed by Williamstown in 1878 were played. By way of example, St Kilda's proposed visit to Pt Gellibrand on July 13 was cancelled due to the Saints only having 11 players available while East Melbourne cancelled its scheduled game with Williamstown because the East players preferred to watch the Carlton v. Melbourne game. A notable change to the game occurred in 1879 when behinds were registered for the first time although they still weren't counted in the result and the winner was still the side that kicked the most goals. Williamstown had an indifferent season but did manage to play a game against Melbourne which was lost, 2.0 to 0.1. The Leader of July 22 reported that 'Melbourne had a stroll in the park against juniors Williamstown on the Melbourne Ground (not the MCG). In fact, the home side was so dominant that Williamstown's goal sneaks and one or two forward players had so little to do that, with Melbourne back players, they kept themselves warm by playing leap-frog, while the play was going on at the other end of the ground.' 

Williamstown Chronicle, May 18, 1878

Williamstown ventured to Geelong for the first time in 1878 and lost six goals to nil on the Argyle Paddock on July 6, but fielded a weakened side due to several of the best players, including John Kilgour, future captains D. Burke and J. Monteith, and J. Davidson, 'being unable to get away from business, and their places had to be filled by Second Twenty men.' The inaugural VFA premier team, Carlton, also paid a visit to The Village for the first time on August 17, drew a crowd of 5,000 to the Gardens Reserve and won by a single goal, 2-1. The other game against a senior team was a one-nil loss at St Kilda on May 25 when the Saints started off with just nine players but picked up enough substitutes to eventually muster sixteen men. In the return match at Williamstown on July 13, St Kilda sent a telegram saying they had only 11 players at the railway station and the match was abandoned.

Williamstown Chronicle, August 17, 1878

These were four of the 9 games played during the season, of which only 2 were won, 5 lost and 2 drawn. 'Town finished 7th out of a competition of 15 teams. A total of 7 goals were kicked by the Villagers and had 16 scored against them. The leading goalkicker was Johnny Rees with three, while J. Monteith kicked two and D. Burke and John Charles Frederick Ulbrick one each. The Second Twenty played 11 matches of which 4 were won, 3 were lost with 4 draws. A total of 14 goals were kicked by the Seconds and had 8 scored against them. The leading goalkickers were C. Percy, F. Raymer and D. Burke with 2 each. The Club had a total of 86 members in this season. Captain of the past three seasons, Bob Waycott, departed for Sydney at the end of the year and was replaced by D. Burke with P. Conroy vice-captain. A. Fowler was elected captain of the Second Twenty with three vice-captains in Litchfield, Percy and Jamieson. Geelong won their first of seven VFA premierships in this season, ending the dominance of Melbourne and Carlton over Victorian football. 

Andrew Rider, a photographer, stationer and newsagent located at 55 (now 177) Nelson Place, Williamstown, from 1863-96 took this portrait which is described on the State Library of Victoria website as being of 'two Williamstown footballers, whole-length, almost full face, man on right chin curtain beard and moustache, both in blue and white uniforms of long sleeved pullovers, pants with striped socks and caps, both standing, man on right with hands on hips, image dated 1879'. The identities of the two players is unknown but it is the oldest photo in the Club's collection.

A major change occured in the game in 1879 when behinds were recorded for the first time although they didn't count towards the result of matches and the team that kicked the most goals was still the winner. South Melbourne became a senior club in 1879 while Barwon dropped out and St Kilda, after struggling to field a team for most of the year, disbanded again in early September. The first inter-colonial matches between Victoria and South Australia took place on July 1 and 5, both won easily by the Vics, and the first games were played under electric lights in this season in June and August. This attempt by a University professor to stage an intercolonial match between Victoria and South Australia at the MCG under lights were attended by large crowds but were deemed a fiasco due to the poor quality of the lights, which were described in the Williamstown Chronicle of August 16 as being 'fitful and irregular.'

 Williamstown Chronicle, May 10, 1879

Geelong won back-to-back premierships and had not lost a game since September 1877, winning 44 consecutive matches. Williamstown played 15 matches in 1879, winning 4, losing 8 and drawing 3. Games were played against senior teams South Melbourne at Albert Park on May 3, losing 2.24 to 0.1, at St Kilda on June 7, losing 3 goals to nil, and at the MCG on July 26, losing to Melbourne, 4.32 to 0.2. It was reported in the Australasian on August 2 that 'Melbourne scored four goals against juniors Williamstown on July 26 but should have had many more .... but the Williamstown goal umpire, due to some ocular defect, reduced the number of goals awarded as compared with those kicked to about half'. There was also a return match at Gardens (Fearon) Reserve against St Kilda on July 19 which was won two goals to NIL but, as the Williamstown Chronicle of July 26 reported, the Saints 'had a very weak team, several of their best players not turning up.' The return match against South Melbourne on August 23 was lost 3 goals to nil. In the Williamstown Chronicle of 19 July 1879, in respect of the game played the previous weekend on 12 July against Sandridge (later renamed Port Melbourne), it was reported that 'the Sandridge team were accompanied by a great many supporters, the greater portion of them belonging to that objectionable class termed larrikins who encroached upon the playing ground thereby greatly impeding the game. The language of these unwelcome visitors was anything but select at times.'

Williamstown Chronicle, May 31, 1879 - Williamstown's highest score and greatest winning margin to date was achieved in a game at Heidelberg on May 24, 1879.

An improved total of 19 goals were scored while 22 were kicked against the Villagers. 10 of 'Town's goals (plus 40 behinds) came in a match at Heidelberg on May 24 when the local team failed to score in the most decisive score and victory ever posted by the Villagers to that point in time (see report above). Leading goalkicker was again vice-captain, P. Conroy, with 6, with half of these coming in the Heidelberg match, followed by Jack Litchfield with 4, J. Goble 3, and W. Senior, C. Cardwell, A. Fowler, J. Jamieson, E.G. Moss and Worrell one each. The team finished 10th out of 17 junior teams. Membership totalled 64 in this season. The Second Twenty had a more successful season, playing 9 matches of which five were won, two lost with two draws. A total of 17 goals were scored by the Seconds with only 9 kicked against them. Leading goalscorer was J. Goble with 5 followed by J. Minto with 3, C. Percy 2 while F. Raymer, Jack Litchfield, H. Cardwell, C. Hernan, T. Wauchope, B. Vaughan and Cooper got one each. At the annual meeting held in respect of the 1879 season at the Mechanics Institute on April 7, 1880, E.G. Moss was appointed captain for the forthcoming season with J. Monteith vice-captain. The captain of the Second Twenty for 1880 was C. Hernan with C. Percy vice-captain.  

Another local club, North Williamstown, emerged in 1879 and, although destined to be no more than a junior club, it nevertheless made its mark on local football history by fielding three teams and producing a number of senior players for Williamstown and other clubs. Its home ground was where the current Williamstown High School now is. The first secretary-treasurer was John Christison, the first captain J. Doull and D. Dorgan vice-president. 'The Footballer' publication of 1879 stated that the 'Fishing Village is strong in football, and musters three clubs, Williamstown, North Williamstown and Battery United ..... although there is not much to choose between the last two. Whether from defections from its ranks or indifference, the elder club (Williamstown) has not shown the spirit ..... that characterised its doings when the Junior Challenge Cup was carried off in 1876.' 

 

     Year    

 

                                                    President

 

                              Treasurer

                                 Secretary

 

     1870

Alfred Thomas Clark 

 

 Duncan McLeod

     1871

Alfred Thomas Clark

 

  Duncan McLeod

     1872

John Alexander Springhall snr 

Charles G. Piper

Charles G. Piper

     1873

                 Alfred Thomas Clark

 

Duncan McLeod

     1874

Alfred Thomas Clark

  

W.H. Browne

     1875

Alfred Thomas Clark

John E. 'Jack' Litchfield

John E. 'Jack' Litchfield

     1876

John Jobson

Duncan McLeod

Duncan McLeod

     1877

John Jobson

Charles Scott

Charles Scott

     1878

John Jobson

Charles Scott

Charles Scott

     1879

John Jobson

Charles Scott 

Charles Scott

 

     Year    

 

Captain

 

 Vice-captain

             Leading Goalkicker

 

Seconds

Captain

Seconds

Vice-captain

     1870

C.F. Payne 

 

 

   

     1871

Horace Norman 

 

 

   

     1872

Horace Norman 

 

 

   

     1873

 Horace Norman 

 

 

   

     1874

D. McCallum

W.H. Browne 

 

   

     1875

D. McCallum

P. Conroy

 

C. Scott

 

     1876

Bob Waycott

P. Conroy

R. Murray (7)

C. Scott

 

     1877

Bob Waycott

Billy Haslam/J.C.F. Ulbrick

P. Conroy (5)

C. Sluce

R. Dalton

     1878

Bob Waycott

John Charles Frederick Ulbrick

Johnny Rees (3)

T. Crane

C. Hernan
1879

D. Burke

P. Conroy 

P. Conroy (6)

A. Fowler

Litchfield/C.Percy/J.Jamieson

 

 

FOR FURTHER DETAILS OF THE FABULOUS HISTORY OF THE WILLIAMSTOWN FOOTBALL CLUB FROM 1880 TO THE PRESENT DAY, PLEASE REFER TO THE RESPECTIVE DECADES UNDER THE 'HISTORY' TAB.

 

Four Williamstown men have been President of the Victorian Football Association – James Hall (1901-02), J.J. Liston (1929-44, he of the Liston Medal and Liston Stakes and the second-longest serving VFA president), John Grieve (1989-1992) and Tony Hannebery (1993-94, former player, 10-year President of WFC and former All-Australian Amateur footballer).

Williamstown has proved a great training ground for coaches as well. Wally Carter and Terry Wheeler both coached VFL/AFL teams after success at Williamstown. This club is a great organisation – like many football clubs it has a great reservoir of committed people who are here only to see the club succeed.

Williamstown Football Club won a premiership in each decade of the 1900's except the second – 1907, 1921, 1939, 1945, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1969 (Second Division), 1976 (Second Division), 1986 and 1990, followed by two more in 2003 and 2015. Each of these Premierships hold special memories for our club.

Games record holder: Ben Jolley 217 (2008-2018)

Goals record holder: Ron Todd 672 (1940-1949)

Most premierships as coach: Wally Carter 3 (1954-55-56)

Longest-serving coach: Gerry Callahan 202 games (1958-67, 118 wins, 81 losses, 3 draws)

Longest-serving captain: 6 seasons, Gerry Callahan (1954-59) and Ben Jolley (2012-17)

Most premierships as player: 5 Gerry Callahan, Ray Smith, John Ramsay (1954-55-56-58-59)

Longest-serving president: Trevor Monti 17 years (1999-2015)

Longest winning sequence: 22 (1956-57)

Longest losing sequence: 19 (1994-95)

Norm Goss Medallists: Tony Pastore 1986, Barry Round 1990, Adrian Fletcher 2003, Michael Gibbons 2015

J.J. Liston Trophy winners: Charlie Stanbridge (1933*), Fred Brooks (1935**), Neville Huggins (1936** and 1937*), Arthur Cutting (1938* and 1939**), Des Fothergill (1941*), Johnny Martin (1956), Barry Round (1987), Brett McTaggart (1988), Saade Ghazi (1989), Paul Dooley (1996) and Michael Gibbons (2016 and 2018)

*The award was then known as The Recorder Cup. Stanbridge also won the VFA Medal the same year, as did Neville Huggins in 1937, Arthur Cutting in 1938 and Des Fothergill in 1941. 

** The award was then known as The VFA Medal. 

J. (Jack) Field Medal winners: Best and Fairest in Second Division Ian Nankervis (1968) and Colin Boyd (1976) 

To see all williamstown premiership sides please click on the link below
Premiership Photos

To see williamstown football club team of the century click on the link below
Williamstown team of the century

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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