Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Day 5: On Our Way to Wembley

The seemingly indefatigable Todd Blackwell picked me up from the Premier Hotel at 930 on 17 September and we drove through light Newcastle traffic to Johnston Park, the home of Westy, West Wallsend FC.The ground reminded me a little of some outer suburban Melbourne grounds that are nestled in bush settings.

Johnston Park, 'Wembley', the home of West Wallsend FC
However, this one - affectionately known as Wembley (some wag's response to another ground in Newcastle being named Crystal Palace?) - is different. It has the feeling of historical permanence. It's been here a while and is not going to be used for any purpose other than football in a hurry. It will be getting a brand new electronic scoreboard (situated to the right of the photo) in the coming months. The board will be named in memory of the young club rising talent Jaryd Hayter who died tragically at work.

I travelled to Wembley as part of my ongoing process of trying to come to grips with the strength of Newcastle soccer culture. Here I met Bob Hepplewhite (groundsman, caretaker, club legend) who led us around the clubrooms with a torch (power was cut for repairs). Bob apologised profusely for this and for the fact that the club hadn't seemed to have retained the trophies and memorabilia collected through the years. He showed me a couple of good photos and some trophies that needed a bit of a polish and we went outside into the light.

Of the stories he told us my favourite was of Reg Date, the legendary Wallsend player against whom Bob had played as a young man. Reg said to Bob, "If I kick the ball in your direction, you better get out of the way. You might get hurt." Bob responded dismissively, until he saw close-up the power of his kick. Reg could break nets with the ferocity of his shots and so Bob was indeed careful.

But more that the story, Bob made me realise just how embedded in the game's history he and his old club are.

Later in the day I contacted club secretary Megan Crowhurst and she sent me some good photographs but I imagine that of the hundreds that have existed only a fraction remain available. Four of these are presented below. They are particularly useful to me because they reveal images of some of Westy's Anzacs.

West Wallsend 1899-1900-1901
Back Row: Alex Muir, R. Durie, F. Leckie
Middle: J. Maunder, W. Teasdale, R. Harden (Capt)
Front: J. Curran, R. Howie, S. Swan, R. Leckie, J. Robertson
Officials (left to Right) F. McCann, P. Strachan, Dr Hocking, J.H. Denton, P. Dick,
F. Leckie and R. Leckie are brothers. J. Maunder is the father of Henry and Podge.
W. Teasdale became Manager of Cullen Bullen Colliery on the South Coast.
West End Bluebells, 1918
Back Row: T. Coates, W. McKenzie, J. Laverty
Centre Row: F. Craig, J. Couttes, R. Sneddon, A. McKay, A. Hodge
Front Row P. Convery, G. Kaiser, T. Coates, T. Sinclair, W. Smith
West Wallsend British Football Club
NSW Junior Champions 1913-14. District Premiers, 1914
Back Row - J. Curthbert (Treasurer), E. Robinson, W. Lee (Vice Capt.), Jim Leckie (Capt.), John Leckie, F. Cantello (Trainer)
Middle Row - F. Craig (President), R. Turnbull, B. Clapham, A. Anderson, G. Taft, A. Hodge (Manager).
Front Row - P. Muir, N. Turnbull, T. Gelder, H. Botte, L. Johnson

Of the 1913-14 Westy NSW Junior champions team, Cantello, Clapham, Jim Leckie enlisted and died at the front. It is likely that others also joined up but this is yet to be ascertained.

West Wallsend 1920
Back Row (L to R) - W. Lee, W. McKenzie, H. James,
C. Coutts, R. Sneddon, H. Maunder, W. Smith, A. Hodge
T. Coates, F. Brown, W. Maunder, T. Snclair, D, McLauchlan
2nd. row; 1st. & 2nd. last name missing.

Hopefully I can find out just what this cup represents.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

West Wallsend NSW Junior Champions 1913-14

It's a measure of the strength of Newcastle soccer that West Wallsend would win the NSW Junior Championship in 1913-14. But perhaps more significant is the number of these players who a few short years later would be battling and dying in the trenches in France.

Of the above players Cantello, Clapham, Jim Leckie enlisted and died at the front. It is likely that others also joined up but this is yet to be ascertained. To be clear, these players are not children. They are young men (early 20s at time of death). Yet the waste is clear to me.

I was asked today: why do research that makes you sad? Sometimes I wonder.

Toowoomba Soccer Honour Roll 1918

Paul Nicholls passed this Darling Downs Gazette article from 9 May 1918 via twitter. It is reproduced in full below. I have numbered the list to get the count right and make it easier to observe the numbers killed. It needs to be noted that by 1919 the number of enlistments registered rose to 140

Now to find the object if it still exists. 
(Drew a blank on the Queesnland register of war memorials

An, Honor board containing 110 [actually 107, out of whom at least 22 were killed] names of former members of the British Football Association, was unveiled last evening at Herriott's rooms by Mr R. Harwood a vice-president of the association. There was a large gathering, and the ceremony was carried out in due solemnity. The board itself is a striking piece of work, being solely designed and executed by Mr. H. V. Allom, the junior secretary of the association, and a pupil teacher at the Harlaxton State School. The letters of the names of the men who answered their country's call have been neatly carved out, and on the whole, the board itself reflects great credit on Mr. Allom. 

Mr. H. New (secretary of the senior association)) introduced Mr. Harwood who, before unveiling the board, suitably referred to the nature of the gathering. He spoke in praise of the gallant work that many members of the association had performed on the field of battle. To the relatives of those whose dear ones had fallen, he tendered the sympathy of the association, and trusted that those who were going strong at the front, would be spared to return.

THE NAMES. The names on the board are:— 

  1. A. Adams, 
  2. S. Adams (killed), 
  3. F. Anderson, 
  4. H. Barker, 
  5. S. Besant (killed); 
  6. J. Butler, 
  7. W. Binns, 
  8. E. Brown, 
  9. G. Board (killed), 
  10. A. Black. 
  11. J. Boule, 
  12. L. Birch, 
  13. R. Brazier. 
  14. R. Burrowes, 
  15. W. Bury (killed), 
  16. R. Burke, 
  17. S. Cousens, [killed]
  18. J. Cousens, 
  19. H. S. Crowe. 
  20. W. Crowe, 
  21. A. Cooke, 
  22. B. Cooper, 
  23. N. F. Coote, 
  24. A. Davies, 
  25. P. Dawes, 
  26. E. K. Davies, 
  27. P. Drummond, 
  28. H. G. Dawkes, 
  29. A. Dundasch, [killed]
  30. W. Dundasch, 
  31. F. Dunstan. 
  32. H. Falconer. 
  33. Jas. Falconer, 
  34. Jno. Falconer, 
  35. Les. Folk, 
  36. G. Foreman, 
  37. F. Fountaine (killed), 
  38. D. Gallogly, 
  39. D. Garry, 
  40. E. Garrett (killed), 
  41. C. Garrett, 
  42. F. Gilson, 
  43. J. Gilson, 
  44. L. Groom (killed) 
  45. C. Groom (killed). 
  46. W. Head. 
  47. G. Harrington, 
  48. A. Hart (killed), 
  49. A. E. Hazell, 
  50. F. Harth (killed), 
  51. G. Harth (killed), 
  52. E. Hanzell, 
  53. W. Heilig, 
  54. W. Hillocks. 
  55. E. Hillocks, 
  56. F. Hughes (killed). 
  57. W. Hughes, 
  58. W. Holmes, 
  59. W. Inglis, 
  60. J. Kelly, 
  61. F. G. Linden, 
  62. F. Martin (killed), 
  63. P. Martin, 
  64. S. Martin, 
  65. H. Martyn (killed), 
  66. W. Millward. 
  67. W. Millican; 
  68. H. Minter (killed), 
  69. A. Mollison, 
  70. D. Mollison, 
  71. Jim Montgomery (killed), 
  72. Jas. Montgomery, 
  73. F. Morgan. 
  74. S. Morgan, 
  75. M.Munday, 
  76. F. Murdoch, 
  77. J. M'Leod (killed), 
  78. ?. M'Cormack; 
  79. A. M'Kean, 
  80. J. M'Kean, 
  81. J. M'Manus (killed) 
  82. J. Proellock (killed), 
  83. A. Palmer, 
  84. F. Roberts, 
  85. J. Robson. 
  86. W. Read. 
  87. W. Ross, 
  88. J. Shearer, 
  89. G. Skuse, (killed), 
  90. A. Smith, 
  91. H. G. Smith, 
  92. T. Smith, 
  93. E. Summerfield, 
  94. J. Stevenson, 
  95. S. Tacey, 
  96. S. Tregea, 
  97. A. Tregea, 
  98. W. Tregea, 
  99. S. Townson, 
  100. D. Vance, 
  101. A. Weis, 
  102. J. Wiley, 
  103. A. Williams, 
  104. D. Watson, 
  105. H. Younger, 
  106. J. Yule, 
  107. W. Yule.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Merewether Advance FC 3rd team in 1905

Many thanks to Greg Groombridge from Merewether Advance Football Club for sending this image of the MAFC1905 3rd team. The photo was supplied to him by Ian Nunan whose grandfather is the Greg Ritchie in the photograph. It's tattered but has lots of character. Some of the names are given below. D Williams and J Powell are listed on the Honour Roll.



A. Lovell  J. Fairhall P. Fairhall (coach)   H. Danvers  W. Robson

_________ ________ ________     Johnson (vc)   D. Williams  G. Ritchie (Pres)

J. Luxton     ____________ J. Powell

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Carrying Coals to Newcastle? Day 1.

Breakfast in Hamilton and pick up a local paper with a double spread on local soccer (plus a bit of overseas) and a back page promo of the impending Grand Final. Sigh.

Yesterday was a big day. Up at 6 and off to Tullamarine airport. Flew into Sydney at 10am and wended my way to Glebe Point Rd where I caught up with Greg Werner and we spent the day nattering about NSW soccer. We were both filling in time before the launch of John Maynard's,The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe at Gleebook's at 6pm but Greg was both generous and full of great stories.

During the day I took some calls so I think my feelers are starting to work. Michael Parris from the Newcastle Herald called me and I think he's working on an article for publication next week. Geoff Brown from the Edgeworth Eagles contacted me and he has promised me some terrific stories. I'll catch up with him at the grand final.

The launch went well but if I may be critical, the absence of prominent advocates of indigeneous soccer was noticeable. A good smattering of sokkahtwitter was there, including Paul Nicholls, John Smith and a number of other but where were the Craig Fosters and other leading figures of indigenous soccer advocacy?

The book was launched by Larissa Behrendt who, for a non-soccer person, (or to use John's marvellous appeallation, 'a wobbly-ball person')  did a good job of getting across the issues and opening John up for some stories in their Q and A after the 'official' launch.

A good set of questions from the floor demonstrated just how important this book (and the issues and problems it consolidates) is.

It was great to make contact with John again (and his redoubtable publisher Bonita Mersiades) and hopefully I will catch up with him on Wednesday (day 6).

My problem of getting to Newcastle was solved by the very generous offer of my new hero Todd Blackwell to give me a lift from Glebe to the door of my hotel in Broadmeadow. We shared a terrific couple of hours, crossing the Harbour Bridge then the Hawkesbury and into Newcastle. I think I learned the team colours of the Newcastle NPL teams on the way and heard Todd's story of his role as semi-official photographer for Newcastle soccer among many other stories.

He's a great guy. Thanks again Todd.

Today I will meet David McGaw shortly who has (also incredibly generously) offered to take me to a number of memorial sites this afternoon where I will get a picture of the task in front of me, trying to track down all of Newcastle's soccer Anzacs from the first world war. It's a big task but it will be rewarding.

More on this later.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Billy Maxwell

Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW : 1900 - 1954), Wednesday 22 June 1910, page 8


The competition for the Gardiner Cup was set going last Saturday, the two teams to be put out of their misery with a jerk being Canterbury and Sydney. The sudden-death nature of the competitions puts the teams on their mettle, for a defeat means obliteration from the list of aspirants. 'Adamstown, the holders of the cup, jonrneyed down to do battle with Sydney, and although the Rosebuds were without the 'assistance of many of last year's dandy players, they managed, after a very poor game, to settle the pretensions of Sydney.

'Bob' Elgie was again in gaol for Adamstown, but one looked in vain for thedandy pair of backs— Doyle, and that sturdy atom of humanity, Campbell. Others of the champion team who were missing were ' Skinner ' Maxwell and George (halves), the Jennings Brothers, and Price (forwards).

Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), Friday 13 September 1912, page 11

Soccerites will regret to hear of the death of Billy Maxwell, the well-known Adamstown half-back. Which occurred at West Newcastle on Wednesday last from pneumonia. When he was in his prime, four years ago, he had very few equals on the field. He Was a member of the Broadmeadow and Adamstown Clubs, which won the Gardiner Cup, State champioship, and also the Ellis Cup. He represented New South Wales against New Zealand and West Australia, and also played for Northern Districts In the Inter-district games against the Metropolis and South Coast. He leaves a wife and family, and also two brothers, both of whom are members of the Corrimal Club.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), Tuesday 25 February 1913, page 6

Last night a meeting of the committee who are arranging a benefit to Mrs. W. Maxwell was held at Carnley's Hotel. Mr. J. Jennings presided. The chairman reported that Messrs. Stephenson and Howarth, of Paradise Pictures, had agreed to give a show in aid of the fund. The report was received, and it was de cided that the benefit take place on April 5th. Some details were arranged, and it was resolved to approach the British Football Associations of the State to assist in the benefit. The meeting then closed. 

Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), Friday 30 May 1913, page 11

(By O.L.)

The Gardiner Cup match between "West Sydney and Merewether, which is to be played on the Broadmeadow Show to-morrow, is to assist the benefit fund which is being raised to assist the widow of the late "Skinner" Maxwell, an Adamstown player, and in his day one of the best half backs in the State.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Merewether Advance Roll of Honour

Northern Times 23 October 1917 reported that "a pleasing feature as far as Newcastle was concerned, that since the war began, and recruits had been called for, the numbers that had gone from the Newcastle district were far in excess in average, of any other district in Australia." The piece argued that the "Merewcther Football Club had done that part well by sending 71 of their members who had made a name for themselves on the battlefield, as well as the football field." These were words spoken at the occasion of the unveiling of the Roll of Honour for the MAFC enlisted players.

The board was described as being "constructed of Queensland maple, measures 6ft wide by 5ft. 6in. high, with canopy top, supported by fluted pillars and scrolls, and bearing the Union Jack and Australian flags and a football. The colours of the club are hung on each side ot the board, which is inscribed: Merewether Advance Football Club, Roll or Honour; for King and Country."

Unfortunately, the board seems to have been lost, perhaps demolished along with the arts building that housed it. Hopefully it was rescued and is sitting somewhere ready to be discovered when I venture to Newcastle this Saturday for a bit of a research and discovery trip.

Below I have transcribed the names as best I could. I'm still haing difficulties with a few (see the asterisks). Also, the board lists only 67 names and not the 71 claimed so there are more names to find.

Merewether Advance Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918

E. Back
A. Lewis
F. Poole [D]
E. Poole [D]
W. Victor
R. Betholli
H. Wallace
C. Pickersgill
J. Pickersgill
A. Shepherd
W. Westhead
E. Clark (E. Clarke was killed)
J. Bartley
J. Doyle
A. Jennings
J. Thorpe
T. Wardaugh
F. Albert [D]
E. Richardson [D]
H. Grey*
F. Newburn
P. Coppock
D. Lloyd
J. Pearce
W. Powell
J. Jones
G. Adamthwaite
H. Finch
E. Peacock
A. Jones [D]
T. Allanson [D]
J. Allanson
E. Firth
J. Ferguson [D]
F. Banks [D]
C. Stewart
J. Powell
G. Ruddy [D]
J. Stewart
C. Hobson (wounded)
T. Hope
J. Gill
R. Twist
W. Twist
J. Ruddy
A. Wright
T. Bell
R. Trimingham
R. Mallen
A. Searle
G.* G**** (Alfred Gibb?)
F. Thopmpson
G. Houghton
G. Barnes
A. McLean
J. McKenzie
F. Harvey
D. Williams
G. Searle
W. O’Neil
J. Elliott
E. Sparkes
A. Williams
J. Blackburn
J. Banks
J. Mitchell
J. Winters
H. G*oley (M. Gidley)
J. Hobson

Friday, 6 September 2019

100 years ago today 12 September 1919

Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), Monday 8 September 1919, page 8

Mention of the English "Cup ties" and "finals" were revived on Saturday, when Footscray Thistle played Windsor in the final for the Dockerty Cup at Middle Park, in the presence of a large crowd. Footscray, aided by a strong wind, led at half-time by 1 goal to nil. In the second half, with the wind Windsor attacked, but Footscray broke away, and in an endeavour to clear, Tunn kicked the ball through his own goal, adding another to the Footscray lead. From this on, although Windsor had all the advantages, they failed to give the Footscray goalkeeper anything difficult to handle. When the whistle blew the score remained unchanged, and Footscray won, 1 goal to nil.

Saturday September 6

Dockerty Cup Final
Footscray Thistle 2 (???, Tunn o.g.) Windsor 0 Middle Park Ref: J.Downie
Footscray Thistle: W.Twigg, Clarke, H.Twigg, D.Rowatt, A.McLean, Liversedge, W.Biggart, J.Rawlinson, Thomas, Carr, A.Fletcher.

The Herald

Spotswood v. Preston, at Spotswood— M'Donald.
Windsor v. Footscray Thistle, at Middle Park— Medlicott.
N and D, v Melbourne Thistle, v. Middle Park— M'Cully. Pt.
St David's v Albert Park, at Middle Park— Butler,

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 - 1954), Friday 12 September 1919, page 7

 Followers of the Soccer game on Saturday witnessed a stirring match be tween the Dinmore Bush Rats and the Bundanba Rangers, who won by 4 goals to 3. At half-time T'Rats were leading by 3 goals to 2, but T'Rangers put it over the Dinmoreites in the next half, scoring 2 goals.

Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954), Friday 12 September 1919, page 2

Thursday, 5 September 2019

IYKYH 5 September 2019

  1. Mark Boric.
  2. More on Whyalla. Greg werner made this comment on fb: "A really fascinating chat with Darren, but interesting that there was no mention of Yakka Banovic who hailed from Whyalla and has since moved back after a stellar career."
  3. Garry McKenzie has wrecked my plans, sending me a random link that has sent me off down a wormhole. St Helens -> MIMAG -> buried history of Mt Isa soccer in its pages + phenomenally good images. Lesson about the way serendipity plays a role in our efforts as historians
  4. Paul Nicholls has sent us a fantastic piece of writing. He's trying to find a path between the data rich research of someone like Peter Kunz and other more philosophical-critical writing like mine. He's treading a really interesting path, giving a soccer tale a mythological feel
  5. I'll be off to Newcastle on a research trip friday week. Looking forward to getting acquainted with all the old clubs as well as NewcastleSokkahHistoryTwitter in the process.
  6. I'll be going to John Maynard's launch in Sydney.
  7. Victorian Historical committe survey

100 YAT

Jason Goldsmith


Tuesday, 3 September 2019

100 years ago today 5 September 1919

Discuss Paul Nicholl's comment about limits of one date

Saturday August 30

V.A.B.F.A. Metropolitan League
  • Northumberland and Durham United 3 (Soames, Dillon, Robinson) Albert Park 1 (T.Anderson) Middle Park Ref: H.Baker
  • St David's 2 (Nelson, Kerr) Spotswood 2 (Owen2) Middle Park
  • Preston 2 Windsor 3
  • Melbourne Thistle 0 Footscray Thistle 3 (Rowlinson, Thomas, Rowatt)

Saturday September 6

Once more nothing in the papers

Dockerty Cup Final

Footscray Thistle v Windsor Middle Park Ref: J.Downie

Toowoomba Chronicle (Qld. : 1917 - 1922), Friday 5 September 1919, page 6

It were well if those returned boys who have already expressed their willingness to play with other sporting club teams, could be relieved of their responsibilities to play with the Returned Soldiers' Club team. At the meeting held at the Soldier's Church of England Rest Rooms last night, this appeared to be the big difficulty in forming a cricket team for the ensuing season. With that sportsmanship, characteristic of the boys on the battlefield, they are determined, as soon as they. can, to get an eleven together--whether they are mediocre or not--to take part in the senior competition in Toowoomba. Captain Kimber (president of the R.S.S.I.L.A.) presided, and included among those was Lieutenant B. Nicholls (secretary). The Chairman in introducing the business said that object was to discuss the ways and means of the desirability of forming a returned soldiers' sports club, under the auspices of the league. All the men should take part in sport—clean sport—and he thought that they should endeavor to foster the sporting instinct in the men, and football, cricket, etc., would help it. They had the men in their ranks, enough to form cricket, football and baseball and, if necessary, bowling teams. It was a bit late now to discuss the football season, but the cricket season was coming along and they should have a team in the competition. This year, in football, they had come out with a Soccer team and so far they had not lost a game. (Applause.) Lieutenant Nicholls desired to know if the sports club would be open to league members only or open to all returned soldiers. It was decided to open membership to all returned soldiers. Mr. V. Rawlings moved that the club be affiliated to the Toowoomba Cricket Union. Mr. H. Poon said that many good cricketers were coming homeland with en like Charley Burness, Geo. Phie and Alf. Walker and others, they could get a good team. Mr. W. P. Stewart moved that a re-turned Soldiers' Sporting Club be formed. This was seconded by Mr. J. Graham, and carried. Captain Kenyon raised the question of finance, and asked would the league find that or would the clubs contribute to it—would the Returned Soldiers' Cricket Club be independent? Would the members mind paying their subscription to the Cricket Union as well as to the association? The chairman remarked that the gathering was not as representative as it might have been; there were a good few downstairs who did not bother about coming upstairs. He added that a sports club would bring the men together a lot more.
Mr. W. P. Stewart then moved,— "That next season a cricket team be formed, as there were sufficient cricketers among the returned boys to form a team next year."
This was seconded by Mr. B. Reid, and carried. Mr. Rawlingjs thought that about £10 would be sufficient to start the club. Mr. Brett asked if it were not necessary to appoint sun-committees to deal with the various sporting associations. Mr. Graham moved,—-'That a subcommittee bo appointed, to deal with tiie formation of a cricket team, and the following wore appointed:— Messrs. If. Puon, A."?. (ircen, V. Rawlings, L. Urett and .(. Graham. These were appointed to see prospective pfavers and report at a future d:'te. Messrs. X. Oelkers and V. Rawlings reported their inability ' to play with the soldiers' team, on account of their having promised their services to other teams i:i the competition.

Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), Friday 5 September 1919, page 4


The Kerr Cup match, Hamilton v. Annandale, created a sensation. Though Hamilton were leading by four goals to one at half-time, Annandale made such a splendid finish that they won by six goals to four. The local team is still wondering what happened. These games have not proved the attraction they have in the past, but Fernleigh. Annandale and Canterbury have made such reputations here that any future visit thev may make to the North will attract a large crowd. This week both the Wallsend Park and the Showground will be utilised for Gardiner Cup games. Adamstown and Minmi will meet at Wallsend Park to decide which will enter the next round. They have met twice, once at Minmi (a draw of one goal all), and again at Adamstown were Minmi defeated by three to nil. Minmi should turn the tables to-morrow as their cup team is an exceptionally strong one. Their renowned centre-forward, Cramp, will probably be with them, having recovered from his illness. Adamstown may be unable to play Doyle and Hayes, but Sneddon will be in his place and the genial Jocker will assist materially. Hamilton and West Wallsend will clash for the fourth time this season at the Show Ground. Hamilton will drop Williams owing to an injured foot, and will play Merrion in his stead. They are confident of winning, but as West Wallsend are playing their Ellis Cup team there's an element of doubt about the matter. Adamstown and Woodpeckers appear to be unable to reach finality, and will re-play their semi-final for the Lyall Cap again this week. The junior semi-final between Rovers and West Wallsend will also be played, and thus some few representative players who took part in the Newcastle v. Sydney and Maitland matches are raising the question of payment for their services. This matter is serious and considerable discussion is expected at the full delegates meeting tomorrow night. If they receive the amount they suggest they will immediately become professionals, and it will be interesting to note how their status with the Gardiner and other cup matches will be affected.