Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

SA’s soccer’s lost wartime tribute found

By Rob Greenwood, taken
from Adelaide Advertiser 13 November 2019

A PIECE of state soccer history, honouring the nation’s wartime sacrifices, has been located in suburban Adelaide and there are growing calls to preserve it for future generations.
On August 3, 1941, the SA Soccer Football Association planted 125 white cedar trees at Rowley Park as a tribue to local players who had enlisted to serve in World War II.
But within eight years the Brompton venue, which had initially been intended to become the home of SA soccer, had been leased off and converted into a speedway track.
While the association moved 3km to the now Hindmarsh Stadium, the trees were thought to have been swallowed up by the housing development that took over the site in the 1990s.
That was until a discovery by Melbourne-based soccer historian Ian Syson last week, who spotted a number of them still standing in and around dwellings on the former ground.
Some of the white cedar trees planted on the former Rowley Park soccer ground. Picture: Ian Syson
Some of the white cedar trees planted on the former Rowley Park soccer ground. Picture: Ian Syson
The trees were planted at the Brompton venue in 1941 to recognise local soccer players enlisted to serve in World War II. Picture: Ian Syson
The trees were planted at the Brompton venue in 1941 to recognise local soccer players enlisted to serve in World War II. Picture: Ian Syson
“We thought probably the trees had been chopped down to make way for the new housing estate,” said Dr Syson, a retired academic from Victoria University.
“But there are still scores of those trees left and they’ve built the new housing estate around the trees.
“Each of them was planted to represent a South Australian soccer enlistment in the second World War.
“If each tree is for a soldier, some of those trees would represent a dead soldier and someone killed at war.
“They have a sacred significance.”
Dr Syson’s images show the trees dotted around John Hindmarsh Frontage, Francis Ridley Circuit and Rowley Lane in the development, which borders Torrens Rd.
A plaque on the former Rowley Park site acknowledging its past use as a speedway track. Picture: Ian Syson
A plaque on the former Rowley Park site acknowledging its past use as a speedway track. Picture: Ian Syson
Part of the housing development on the previous Rowley Park soccer ground is dedicated to a reserve. Picture: Ian Syson
Part of the housing development on the previous Rowley Park soccer ground is dedicated to a reserve. Picture: Ian Syson
The FFA history subcommittee member, who is compiling a book titled Newcastle Soccer Anzacs, said the find had encouraged him to expand his project to cover other states.
He hoped acknowledgment on the site’s soccer history, similar to the plaque recognising its past speedway activity, would commemorate the memorial and protect the trees.
“It was actually a soccer ground before it was used for speedway,” said Dr Syson, who believed about 80 per cent of soccer players across Australia enlisted for military service.
“It’s important, but sometimes soccer doesn’t understand it’s own connection with this history.
“The AFL and the rugby league have built a connection with Anzac over the last 20 years or so, but soccer has stood by and watched.
“Soccer has as much right to claim an Anzac connection, because soccer basically halted itself during the first World War and the other codes not so much as they kept playing.”

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Brompton Park and Ted Rowley and the 125 White Cedar Trees!

Rowley Park Speedway in Brompton was named after Mr Enoch Proctor (Ted) Rowley one of Australia's best known goalkeepers in the early days of Australian soccer.

During his eight years in Kalgoorlie (where his uncle lived) he became almost a legendary figure in the soccer world being regarded as WA's best goalkeeper, He also played 1 game of Aussie Rules kicking 10 goals but gave the game away and sticking with the round ball.
On 3 August 1941, 125 white cedar (Melia azedarach) trees were planted in honour of enlisted soccer players in 2 rows at a ground owned by the SA Soccer Football Association in Brompton Park, Brompton, Adelaide, South Australia.
In 2019 this is located on Torrens Road between Kennington Ave and Coglin St in Brompton, Adelaide.
It appears that the rows of trees are to the left of the image along Torrens Road and on the Coglin Street side.
For the record, by November 1941 - 150 players and officials, 35% of the membership and officials had enlisted in the fighting forces of WW2.
Surrounding streets and parks are named after Ted Rowley including Rowley Lane (Brompton), Rowley Terrace (Woodville) and Rowley Reserve (Woodville).
And what of the 125 White Cedar trees?
It seems that these trees (and their seeds) still exist at the John Hindmarsh frontage, Rowley Lane and have spread through to Coglin Street.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Soccer Honour Rolls

The discovery of the photograph of the 1917 Merewether Advance Honour Board in Newcastle (right) jogs my memory that other First World War soccer honour boards were created around Australia. Several members of soccer twitter searched for and reminded me about them also. It seems that we have a list of six known boards at the moment.

I suspect that there would have been many other honour rolls produced by soccer clubs around Australia and New Zealand, but here are the six we know about (plus a Second World War bonus at the bottom of the article).
  1. Merewether (76 names in 1918)
  2. Adelaide Locomotive (30 names in 1916)
  3. Granville Association (over 60 names in 1916)
  4. Pyrmont (70 names in 1918, with more to be added)
  5. Toowoomba (140 names in 1919)
  6. WA (over 400 names in 1922)
Unfortunately, the Places of Pride web site listing such boards has no record of them. And lest we start to generate a conspiracy about the deliberate marginalisation of soccer, only four Australian rules boards are mentioned while the rugby codes have but one each. Given that hundreds of football clubs across codes contributed thousands of players to the war effort this is a major problem. Is it an oversight in the way we memorialise footballing soldiers or does the responsibility lie with the sporting clubs themselves? Soccer is notorious in the way it shelves and discards its own history. Maybe the other codes have similar tendencies.

In the near future I will investigate the whereabouts of each of the boards and the existence of others.  So far, attempts to uncover the Merewether Board have been fruitless. I won't hold my breath but you never know.

NB. Here's a very specific one from WW2 "bearing the names of members of the South Australian Postal Institute Junior Soccer Club who have enlisted".

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Soccer and the Communist Archive

Trove has once more proved a bonanza. 

We are constantly seeking new lines of archival research. 

A couple of months ago Garry McKenzie found a some soccer stories in MIMAG, the glossy corporate magazine of Mount Isa Mines. Further invesitgation revealed a substantial soccer history of the region, including results, team lists and images. 

In this last week I have found another such string of information hiding in plain sight. In a sense it was under my nose all of the time because I had researched the area extensively in a previous role to do with Australian literature. Specifically, Tribune (the newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia, a Stalinist organisation) which contains its own soccer narrative within its pages. 

Moreover, its photographers have left a tantalising collection of negatives that point to more substantial holdings.

One advantage that the Tribune has in Trove is that it runs all the way to 1976 whereas the holdings of most other publications stop in 1954 (for copyright reasons).

The following is from the 12th of August 1976

To be accurate, by the mid-1970s soccer references have largely thinned out. Because of the CPA's departure from the Soviet line, the USSR's tour in 1975 received little (or perhaps no) coverage. Some of them are also references to other sports by way of comparison. RL Players Union for example.

The 60s and the previous two decades are the decades where soccer gets some decent focus, albeit inconsistent. In the immediate post ww2 period the game becomes relatively prominent, perhaps on the back of the sentiment expressed in the following letter to the editor from March 1945:

Tribune, Thursday 22 March 1945, page 6

Letters To Editor
Soccer News 
Dear Sir.—I wish to suggest that some space in the Sporting section be devoted to Soccer News. The visit of the British Navy has stimulated much interest in this game especially as Navy teams including many prominent British players will be competing in the forthcoming season. Five thousand people attended a recent exhibition game in Bankstown. One hears widespread disappointment at the inadequate reports of the code to the daily papers and I am sure that if regular reports could be published in the Tribune we could win many supporters for our paper.— HECTOR ROSS

There's a sense that Tribune is aware of the potential of the game to boom and that reporting on it is a way into the hearts and minds of workers. 

It also demonstrates some familiarity with issues affecting the game.

It understands the fundamental mechansim of soccer's constant tendency to split on the back of club v. broader interests. On 14 Mar 1947 it reports "the Soccer authorities have made many blunders in the past. Broad-minded control is essential and the authorities should not let parochial club interests mar their major decisions." It's a sentiment that we still hear today.

The Tribune is also across the constant question - the sleeping giant question - about whether soccer will ever take a place alongside the dominant football codes.

So I suspect there are a number of socceristas involved in the Australian communist hierarchy.

While this all sounds pretty useful, and it is, there is a rider. They are not particulalry interested in the game for its own sake. It's used as a way into other issues: as a stalking horse, a pretext for political attacks on opponents, a vehicle for the promotion of the Soviet Union, an issue to attract migrant workers.

As an example of this lack of love for the game, in 1963 Tribune quoted famous communist author Frank Hardy as making the light-hearted comment that "Socialist Australia would not abandon Rugby and Australian Rules in favor of soccer". 

So why would an organisation that claimed to be part of an internationalist movement wants to assert parochial local culture over global cultural commerce? Without getting too far into the complexities of Australian left-wing politics, this is a period in which cultural nationalism asserts itself on the left. The straight promotion of soccer shifts to more careful and qualified support.

So what will you find in Tribune:
  • glowing and substantial coverage of tours from Soviet bloc countries
  • a curious and obsessive Melbourne-centred focus on Croatian soccer supporters and the purported links of some of them to the Ustashi
  • features on individual communists and trade unionists who are involved in the game
  • at times reasonable political/cultural analyses of the game in Australia and internationally.
In 1967 in an article title "Australia Shines in Big Soccer" it asked a question close to my heart and the rationale for IYKYH: "SOCCER is reputed to be a "young" game in Australia. When was the first Soccer Association formed here?" In doing so the author reveals a nuanced and deeper understanding of the history of the game than might be expected. It's almost as if the writer anticipated the idea of: short memory!

Steak Knives

But that's not all. The Tribune had another string to its propaganda bow: photography. It sent photographers to cover many of the touring Soviet bloc teams. I have found three small digital cachets of photos, two of which are linked here:
They are high quality photos taken by good photographers. Their existence points to the probabilty that there are many more such cachets, yet to be unearthed.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Slovan Bratislavia v Pan Hellenic 1966

More images from the Tribune archive. This time from Pan Hellenic's 1-1 draw with Slovan Bratislavia (Czechoslovakia), at Wentworth Park, 23 January 1966.

From SLNSW Item 080: Tribune negatives including South African dance troupe, cleaners, and soccer match, Wentworth Park, New South Wales, January 1966.

Thanks to Sydney Olympic FC - Social Media 101 @olympic_101 and Sydney Olympic Supporters @SOFC_Supporters for help with the captions below

From left: George Pappas (Secretary) (Half cut off), George McCulloch, David Johnston, Johnny Sanchez, Sotiris Patrinos, Brian Tristram, John Karagiannis, John Cole, Doug Wright, Jim Fernie, Helmut Rademacher.

Far left Doug Logan; 3rd from left Johnny Sanchez (?), 4th from left Sotiris Patrinos, 6th from left John Karagiannis

Torpedo Moscow v NSW 1965

These images are from the Tribune archive. Tribune was the main newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia.

The images are held in 'Item 004: Tribune negatives including international soccer matches between Torpedo Moscow and Sydney and N.S.W. XI, Sydney, New South Wales, February-March 1965' at the State Library of NSW. More photos will be uploaded forthwith.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

100 year ago today 24 October 1919

Newcastle Sun, 24 October 1919, page 5


Soccer Code

The fixtures are: — Kerr Cup Final. — West Wallsend v. Balmain Fernleigh, 3 p.m.; referee, Mr. W. Stott; linesmen, Messrs. R. Sklllings and R. Gall. Hamilton v. Adamstown, 1.30 p.m.; referee, Mr. W. Hughes. Both games at Show Ground.

The Kerr Cup final, which will be played on the Show Ground tomorrow will officially close the season. The game, and the importance of it, should make a fitting termination to what has been a very successful season. 

For the Kerr Cup final the two teams who met in the State final will be matched. Balmain Fernlelgh are the undisputed premiers of Sydney, and the winners of the State championship. West Wallsend finished at the top of the Newcastle table and wound up by winning the Ellis Cup. They suffered their only defeat this season in that much discussed State (or Gardiner Cup) final, but are the premiers of the Newcastle district. Both teams will be at full strength. Fernleigh will include Half-back Allen Ferguson, who recently became a benedict, and he will replace Sid Storey. The Sydney team will be F. Storey (goal), H. Fisher and H. Batten (full back), E. Ferrier (captain), K. Leadbetter and A. Ferguson (half backs), P. Lazonby, J. Adams, H. Porter, F. Hancock and F. Yabsley, forwards. This team is identical with the 11 which defeated West Wallsend in the last final. West Wallsend will play W. M'Kenzie in goal; W. Lee ana H. James, full-backs; J. Coutts R. Sneddon, cap tain), A. M'Kay, half-backs; W. Smith, B. Kaiser, T. Coates, T. Sinclair, D. M'Lauchlin, forwards. This is their Ellis and Gardiner Cup final team. 

Coutts, returning after a fortnight's rest, reports that the bad back is nowa good one again. The Kerr Cup will be presented to the winners immediately after the game and to ensure a winner double extra time will, if neccssary, be played. Captain A. A. Stirling has promised to make the presentation. 

The history of the Kerr Cup is short. It was presented to the N.D.B.F.A. in 1914 by Mr. W. Kerr, of Sydney, it was put up for senior competition and won by Merewether in 1914, and again in 1915. Owing to the war it was not competed for in 1916 or 1917. But in 1918 it was played for in a knock-out competition and won by West Wallsend. 

This year's finalists both had three teams to beat before they reached the final round. Westy defeated Wallsend, Annandale and Pyrmont, while Fernleigh beat Adamstown, Sydney Y.M.C.A., and Minmi. A word of advice to the locals might not be amiss. Play two backs — not one. Fernleigh are fast, and the one back game is the worst possible thing to play against fast forwards — it leaves your goal too open. So Messrs. Lee and James remember this, or Kerr Cup will find its way to Balmain. 

The early game will be between Adamstown v. Hamilton combinations. Adamstown will select from Smith, Cassidy, C. Davies, Lambert, E. Liddle, W. Liddle, Ford, Stewart, Grey, Bush, Jenkins, Eggleston. Hamilton will select their eleven from their seconds, thirds and juniors, and so should give Adamstown a hard game. 

An Old Enthusiast 

In the invitation to Mr. Stirling to present the cup to tomorrow's winners the association's choice was popular. Andy is one of Newcastle's old Soccer players and when with West Newcastle was one of the best inside forwards in the State. He played with West Newcastle the year (1898) they were beaten In the Gardiner Cup final by Pyrmont Volunteers. At that time Dinnie Hamilton, now secretary of Adamstown, was also in West Newcastle Club. This reference will no doubt awake memories among some Soccer old hands, who are still active followers of the code. Men such as Brolgy Elgey, that great goalie, John M'Cartney, the present patron N.D.B.F.A.; Ted Buxton, present vice-president N.D.B.F.A.; Sam Genge, and a host of others, all 'bobbers' of the Show Ground stand to day. Andy Stirling was also treasurer of the association last year, and was re-elected this year, but resigned owing to business claims and his many friends will be glad of the honor accorded to him. 

Adamstown Carnival 

On Saturday, November 8, Adamstown Club will run that patriotic carnival off. The A.I.F. team will be selected by the soldiers' representatives and the Rests team will be selected by the N.D.B.F.A. selection committee. The game will form part of the sports which will include the final of the five-a-side competition and various other events which will be advertised in this paper. 

Balmain's Record 

Should Fernlelgh win the Kerr Cup they will have created a wonderful record, in that they entered three competitions — Sydney League, Gardiner Cup, Kerr Cup, and won them all. They say they are sure to create the record.

Short Memory Syndrome:

The eternal forgetting of the game

One of soccer's great problems in Australia is memory. Soccer forgets; the whole of the broad culture forgets the long repetitive messy history of soccer in Australia.

One interesting phenomenon is what I am calling Short Memory Syndrome (thanks Garry McKenzie and Midnight Oil). The whole First Kicks project forces me to confront this syndrome repeatedly. It's the process whereby soccer is announced as being introduced to a town or region for the first time when, in fact, earlier examples of the game being played there can be found.

Why is this the case?

Our national sporting narrative constructs soccer as an outsider/foreigner/interloper that is always trying to find new places to settle. History is the place where soccer never happened and its every effusion can appear like a brand new one.

But there are several parties who are to blame for this:
  1. Many soccer insiders who are not interested in looking backward. This might go from the complacent souls at George Cross whose brilliant new website is complete in every regard -- except for Victor Brincat's fabulous history which remains inexplicably absent -- to the mendacious fools at Hakoah who threw the Australia Cup into a skip.
    Like when the ancient pharaohs died, when soccer bodies and administrations decline their artefacts, records, memorabilia, history are cast aside. For example, the A League was founded on a smashing of history. In the process some clubs that had built their own empires on the smashed history of earlier clubs were in turn sidelined by history.
  2. While soccer people are often culpable, this doesn't absolve those outside the game with the broad task of social historical memory who fail to record soccer's presence.
  3. Negative - Copy
    1. State Library of Victoria and 1909 photo of St Kilda team. The description of cointent reads "The St Kilda British Football Club. This was the start of soccer in Australia."
    2. Australian War Memorial in which a ruling assumption seems to be that soccer wasn't very important to the AIF.
    3. John Lack's history of Footscray, which, had it been more complete, might have changed the contemporary debate over Footscray Park
    4. Fiddian's history of Brunswick st Oval which is simply embarrassing in its failure to record a soccer presence on the ground. I don't ascribe to him any kind of malevolence though.
  4. Then there's the nasties: those whose stated goal is to wipe soccer from the map and the record. An element within sporting culture, council decision-making, journalism and history is malevolent in its attitude to soccer and would be happy to see the game disappear from our culture. This very small fraction deliberately erases soccer from its records of history. When this fragment exists in important locations of cultural transmission then ....
So If You Know Your History will have a new segment: Short Memory in which blatant examples of forgetting will be raised and discussed.

Interestingly, I looked at the lyrics of the eponymous Midnight Oil song and saw these lines which Peter Garrett shouts:
If you read the history books you'll see the same things happen again and again
Repeat repeat short memory they've all got it
When are we going to play it again?

Examples of SMS 

1. Kirup

Blackwood-Warren Sentinel (Bridgetown, WA : 1950 - 1954), Thursday 2 August 1951, page 3

A soccer match will be played at Kirup next Saturday between teams from Kirup and Grimwade. This, I think, will be the first game of soccer played at Kirup, so as it will be a novelty to a lot of people we hope to have a good' roll-up of spectators. A. Cooper has volunteered to be referee and a lot of local lads are keen to play. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the secretary of the Manjimup Soccer Club for sending up a copy of the rules and the promise of a ball. A hockey match will be played prior to the soccer, so roll-up and enjoy some, good clean fun. (Read the match report here)

Nelson Advocate (WA : 1926 - 1938), Friday 2 September 1927, page 2

At East Kirup on Sunday last repesentatives of the above clubs met in freindly contest, and although the weather was far from agreeable, the game was well contested. The home team won by one goal. Easts scored through W. Baxter soon after the kick-off while a little after a corner kick was taken by their outside left, and Baxter again suceeded, neatly heading the ball through. In the second half Bridgetown took he offensive, and after some exciting lay at the visitors end D. Adams egistered a goal. -Final scores were East Kirup 2 goals, Bridgetown 1 goal. On Sunday next the same teams will meet at Bridgetown,, when eather permitting it is hoped a good game will be witnessed.

2. Horsham


The Vienna boys choir vsited Horsham and played a game of soccer against the Marist rothers' College. Intriguingly, the Border Watch reports that
Marist Brother's' College is accommodating them on Saturday, with what should prove to be an interesting interlude.
At 10.30 they will assemble at the College mid play a soccer match against a team of MBC junior boys, who are quite adept at this game.

Soccer at the Front: the 34th v The Tommies

This is a tremendous article that relays a letter from Peter Coppock, the Australian soldier and Merewether Advance footballer who participated in a game between the 34th Battalion from Maitland and a team of English soldiers (Tommies). It speaks to the importance of soccer to this group of Australian soldiers and their qualities as players. The letter reveals Coppock's good humour and also to some extent his modesty (downplaying his achievements). 

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, 4 February 1918, page 3

Mr. W. B. Tamlyn, secretary to the Northern Association, has received a long and interesting letter from Peter Coppock, the ex-Merewether and inter-State half back. Peter comments on Soccer matters in general, and says either Wallsend or Weston Alblons would win the competition. He was a good Judge, as these two teams met in the final, Wallsend, it will be remembered, winning 2 goals to nil. The versatile Peter states that he selected a team to play some R.F.A. Tommies. He had a job to get a team, but succeeded, and the following is an account of the game, which was played just behind the lines: The 34th Battalion (or Coppock's team) won the toss, gaining no advantage neither sun nor wind being in evidence. The Tommies Immediately attacked, but Taylor surprised them and put the ball well down the field to Bates. The winger got across a beautiful centre, but the forwards were too slow, and the Tommies' backs cleared the danger. Jones, however, banged the ball back, and it was sent just over the bar. The next few seconds found the Tommies' centre forward making towards the 34th goal. He tricked Lovett, the ex-Teralba boy, and closing in beat goaly Sneddon, and so the Tommies led one to nil. This reverse stirred the 34th up, and they hotly attacked. A lot of bustling took place near the Tommies' goal, and Messenger had bad luck with a quick shot, which hit the post and bounced out again to Jones, who, closing quickly in, put through, thus making the scores one all. Excitement was very high, the supporters of the 34th making themselves heard, and shouting out all sorts of odds on the 34th, but the Tommies indulged in some splendid passing bouts, and for a time had the 34th tied up, but Sneddon in goal could not be beaten, and the interval score was one goal each. 

Starting the second half, the colonials made for the Tommies' goal, and things were very willing. The Tommies' goaly was in good form, and always appeared to be in the right spot. James put in a good shot, but this was sent well up the field. Lovett and Taylor were defending well, and sent the ball back. The Tommies' right back jumped up to head the greasy ball, which glanced off his head to Harris, who put out to Bates, whose good centre made matters very exciting. The general mix-up in the Tommies' goal area caused a great deal of laughter. On one occasion there were three players on top of the ball, and the Tommies' full back put it out with his hand, but the referee did not see the offence, and the 34th claims for a penalty were ignored. The ball was eventually sent clear, but Jones put in a hot shot; which hit and broke the upright. The game was delayed for a few minutes until the wounded post was repaired. Resuming, the Tommies made for the 34th goal, and from a suspicious looking offside position their inside scored their second goal. Referee "'Buggie" White's decision for a goal caused him to be strifed by the 34th supporters. The colonials were not yet beaten, and made desperate attempts to draw level, but luck and the Tommies' good goalkeeper kept them out. The last few minutes of the game were all in the 34th favour, but no further score took place, and the Tommies had won a hard fought game by 2 to 1. The 34th, though beaten, were not disgraced. The Tommies' team have not been defeated, and the hard game played was a great surprise to all who saw it. Peter says it reminded him of the games 'twixt Morowether and West Wallsend, Cessnock and Weston. 

The 34th team was: A. Sneddon (Cessnock), goal; E. L .Taylor (Cessnock), H. Lovett (Teralba), backs; F. W. James (West Wallsend), W. Jones (Adamstown), P. G. Coppock (Merewether), half-backs; T. Pease (Adamstown), R, A. Bates (Minmi), J. Brady, E. Messenger, and Harris, forwards. "Buggie" White was selected to play, but arrived late, and so was persuaded to act as referee, and did his work, so Coppock says, well. A. White, the ex-Adamstown player, was selected, but did not play. The colonials' colours were blue and gold.

The above should be very interesting, practically all the 34th team being Newcastle Soccerites. Peter concludes his letter by saying he is quite well, and sends good wishes to all his Soccer friends. He also adds a P.S. to say he had been awarded the Military Medal for doing his duty in the battlefield. All join in congratulating this Soccer soldier on the honour conferred on him. Though Peter says it was for doing his duty, yet it is good to know he could do it so well as to merit the honour he received. He also signs himself lance-corporal, but does not say when he received that rank. Coppock is not the first Newcastle Soccerite to win the M.M. Steine, the ex-Wallsend player, recieved the award some months ago.

Hetherington Vol 1 Page 263 reports the following improved performance from a team of solely Newcastle region players

Dispatch From The Front. 

During the season, a special dispatch from France brought the news that the 34th Battalion of Newcastle had beaten an English Army Unit 3x2. For the record the Newcastle team was Sneddon (Cessnock), Lovett (Teralba), Taylor (Cessnock), Jones (West Wallsend), White (Adamstown), Peter Coppick (Merewether), Gaul (Cessnock), Slavin (West Wallsend), Colquolon (Cessnock ), Bates (Minmi), Bilbie (West Wallsend) 

As a tragic footnote to the story, Coppock survived the rigours of the war only to be struck and killed by lightning in 1922 at The Homestead, Weston's home ground. The folowing is from Hetherington Vol 1 Page 313.


In September this year, while a number of players and spectators were sheltering in the iron dressing shed at The Homestead, it was struck by lightning. The bolt killed player Peter Coppock, one of the finest half backs to play the game. Also killed was a fine young fellow, Gordon Hadfield, who had just turned 15 years of age. Several other people received shocks with three of them requiring hospitalisation. 

Monday, 21 October 2019

The 1919 Newcastle Soccer Season

These are notes from Vol 1 page 270 of Harry Hetherington's astounding compilation of facts on NSW soccer. This is an introduction to the 1919 Season. I find it very hard to believe that 500 Newcastle players 'fell' in battle -- the figure was closer to 100, but Hetherington's presentation makes that coinclusion a reasonable one.
The return of thousands from the war gave all sports a great boost. Many of those returning had seen football overseas and their interest in the game was apparent on the Australian football scene, especially in Newcastle.
A large influx of miners from England, Scotland and Wales brought many players and spectators to the north, thereby causing a big upsurge in patronage.
Early in the l919 season, the Northern District British Football Association (NDBFA) issued a comprenhensive list of players who had fallen in battle overseas. Over 500 names were printed in the Annual report .
Some of the high ranking players lost included Adam Ramage, Dave Clarke, Bill Atkin, Frank Jones, Jim Winters, W. Stevenson, T. Parkes, G. Pollard, J. Searles, W.C. Sneddon, R. Convery, D. Gibb, W. Callender, R. Croker. Captain E. Manefield won the Military Cross while the Military Medal and Bar went to LCP Coppick [Coppock]. W.Wymer, W. Eagles, Archie Forbes, L. Parkes were also awarded the Military Medal and Bar.
West Wallsender J. Bilbie, was a recipient of a Certificate of merit from King George V for bravey in saving a person from the river Thames. Another leading West Wallsend Player Ned Brennan, lost a leg after being injured in battle.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

IYKYH 17/10/19


Mark Boric Express

Acknowledged by Simon Hill

Sadly, Paul Nicholls won't be able to tune in tonight or for the subsequent three weeks. But the good reason is that he is enrolled in a creative writing course which will only benefit himself and his growing readership.

Map and memorials with Paul.

I've received some excel spreadsheets from Tony Persoglia and I will soon start compiling the stats for Melbourne soccer in the 19C.

biographical focus

Reg Date -- League-soccer challenge

Soccer and War

Les Clisby: some notes

Telegraph, 27 April 1936, page 13

Young Pilot Eligible to Become a "Caterpillar" SYDNEY, April 27.
The young Air Force pilot (Mr. L. R. Clisby), who saved his life with a parachute when a Moth plane crashed at Poing Cook on Friday, is eligible for membership of the Caterpillar Club. The Caterpillar Club was formed In America by a leading parachute maker, Irvin. It is the most "exclusive" organisation in the world. Its members are those who have saved lives from planes by a parachute. At present there is only one Australian member. Flight Lieutenant W. G. Rae, of No. 3 Squadron, Richmond. He became a "caterpillar" when the wing of the Bulldog Fighter he was flying at Point Cook commenced to give way in the air, and taking to his parachute, he saved himself.

Australian Christian Commonwealth 17 July 1936
report of a wedding 
Mr. Les. Clisby, the young airman who had such a miraculous escape from death when his 'plane buckled in the air, and landed with the aid parachute at Point Cook recently, was best man

Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), Friday 12 April 1940, page 14

Soccer Clubs Practise For Opening Of Season
Soccer Player In R.A.F. 
At the weekly meeting of the Northumberland and Durham Club on Tuesday night reference was made to the great feat performed by a former member of the club, Les Clisby, who as reported In 'The Advertiser,' brought down three German planes 'somewhere in Europe.' It was resolved to send Clisby a letter of appreciation showing the club's in terest in his performance, and congratulating him on his achievement. It was also decided to write a tetter of appreciation to his mother. Another ex N. and D. player mentioned in the news in connection with aerial exploits on the German frontier is Millington who, when he entered the R.A.F. was a member of the Ascot Park Club. Nearly all the old players — Roper is a notable exception — have signed on for the season and Allen will assist when required.

Died 14 May, only a month after this notice

League v Soccer Challenge 1946

This is a nice piece and is worth contrasting with a similar moment 18 years later in Melbourne when the stars of the VFL took on champion Melbourne team Slavia-Port Melbourne in a charity match at Olympic Park,

It speaks of a more generous time or perhaps a more generous culture in which Rugby League and soccer players could meet in a spirit of good fellowship. Moreover it seems a culture in which players were more adaptable to another code. In the Melbourne game, the VFL footballers were reportedly all at sea in a game that at least superficially appears more soccer-like than Rugby League.

Daily Telegraph 23 September 1946, page 22
Headaches For League MenBy GEORGE CRAWFORD
Canterbury Rugby League players, having their first ex perience in Soccer yesterday, finished the game with headaches after trying to head the ball. They defeated Canterbury Soccer team 22-20 in a 50-50 Rugby League-Soccer match at Henson Park.  
The first half of the match was Rugby League, and the second half Soccer. Three points were awarded for each goal — equivalent to a try — in the Soccer session. The Rugby League team led 19-5 at, the end of the Rugby League session. The Soccer team scored five goals to one in the Soccer session. Strange things happen in such freak matches.  
Yesterday, Soccer champion Reg Date was the star in the Rugby League session. Playing at outside-centre, he cut through with the skill of a Test player. Veteran Rugby League player Henry Porter was the star in the Soccer session, playing at right-back. North Sydney Rugby League secretary (Mr. Reg Bowd) said: "Date would have made a Rugby League Test centre."  
Soccer ex-international, J. ("Bully") Hughes said: "Porter is the first player I have seen this year to bottle-up Date.''

100 Years ago today 17 October 1919

Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950), Friday 17 October 1919, page 2

Adamstown and Koira met in the Nurse Cup Competition at Woonona on Saturday last. The former won after an exciting game by 1 goal to nil. In the same competition Balgownie played the Y.M.C.A. (Sydney), both teams on a previous occasion having played a draw. The game resulted in a draw, neither side scoring. A fine exhibition of football was shown by both sides. Woonona meet Cockatoo Dock in the Nurse Cup Competition at Woonona on Saturday,
The following is the draw for Saturday, 18th in the third grade division : — Gwynneville v, Port Kembla at the Port, C. Gilmore, referee ; Unanderra v. Dapto at Dapto, A. Robb, referee.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Soccer Footage at the Australian War Memorial

This post records some of the footage of substantial soccer content at the Australian War Memorial. They take two forms. The first is actual footage of soldiers playing soccer. The second is speeches in which Australian soccer soldiers are memorialised.

1. Footage of Australian forces playing soccer

  1. RAF Station Salbani, West Bengal, India ... Starting from around 3.10, Crew soccer team with their RAF coach Flight Officer Sid and soccer match. 434840 Flight Sergeant Mick Pullen a North Melbourne Australian Rules football player tries to stop a penalty (and does a really shit job). 
  2. Visits to war graves, Sandakan North Borneo and Bougainville. Includes soccer footage of Australian team around 4.00.

2. The following Australian servicemen died on active duty and the recordings linked are speeches of their commemoration. 

Each played soccer as their only code of football. Some listed below only played at a significant junior level whereas others reached a high level. The material here is probably more important for the textual story told rather than the actual footage. It is interesting that the Memorial focuses on their soccer careers.
  1. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (18797) Corporal Ronald John Engstrom, 1 Field Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers, Vietnam War.
  2. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (8513334) Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey, 2 Commando Regiment, Afghanistan.
  3. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2786939) Second Lieutenant Terrence Edward Langlands, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam War.
  4. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (213) Private Francis Williams, 34th Battalion, AIF, First World War. Frank 'Goub' Williams played for West Wallsend.
  5. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Chaplain Squadron Leader Gordon Gladstone Wood, Overseas Headquarters London, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.
  6. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (429286) Warrant Officer William Bruce Judd, No. 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.
  7. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (420215) Warrant Officer George William Liels, No. 454 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War
  8. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (185458) Lance Corporal Shannon McAliney, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Somalia
  9. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Captain Peter James McCarthy, Royal Australian Corps of Transport, Australian Army, UN Middle Eastern Operations 1988.
  10. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (481) Squadron Leader Peter St George Bruce Turnbull, No. 76, Second World War.
  11. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (VX77341) Lance Sergeant Abraham Bezalel Beth-Halevy, 2/12th Battalion , Second World War. Played for the Palestine team that touredAustralia in 1939. He remained in Australia but saw the war as an opportunity to fight against Nazism.
  12. The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (SX7429) Corporal James Hinson, 2/48th Infantry Battalion, Second World War. AWM claims he represented Australia. Played for Birkalla Rovers in Adelaide.