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In June 2022 the State Library held an exhibition in partnership with the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) History Centre. Our footy, our people, our stories, explored 145 years of great moments and achievements of the SANFL since its establishment as the South Australian Football Association (SAFA) in 1877.

During those early years of the league there were football clubs that were part of the competition but, for one reason or another, didn't survive.  As part of the exhibition we wanted to celebrate those football clubs that 'hung up the boots'. In those days clubs didn't have logos as we know them today, but we do know their colours, so it was decided to design a 'logo', or badge, for them.

Some of the clubs lasted only one season but they remain part of the rich history of South Australian football.

Adelaide Football Club

Adelaide Football Club
South Australia's first football club, the Adelaide Football Club (no relation to the Adelaide Crows) was formed after a meeting at the Globe Hotel in Rundle Street in 1860. Initially only playing games amongst themselves, the Club included individuals who were very important to the development of football in SA, such as John Acraman and Thomas O'Halloran. The first time they played against another club was in 1862 when they played against Modbury and Teatree Gully Football Club on a ground near the Modbury Hotel.
Disbanding in 1873 they reformed in 1876 and in the following year, after strong advocacy by their captain  Richard Nowell Twopenny, joined the South Australian Football Association in its inaugural year. While the club had its up and downs, they managed to win the 1886 premiership in the five team competition.
At the end of year club social a Port Adelaide guest: congratulated the Adelaides on their success. Their position at the front was due to perseverance and indomitable pluck. A noticeable feature was that every man in the team was South Australian bred, that being the first time such had occurred in the annals of football here (Adelaide Observer, 9 October 1886).
In 1887, they beat the visiting VFA premiers, Carlton, by an unprecedented margin of 9 goals to 3.
‘Old Adelaide’ was dissolved in 1893 following a number of disappointing seasons.

Globe Hotel, SLSA: B 6372

In the centre of this photograph is the Globe Hotel, on the corner of Stephens Place and Rundle Street
(now Mall), c1860. The Adelaide Football Club was established at the hotel in 1860. SLSA: B 6372

Bankers Football Club

Bankers Football Club
As reported in the Evening Journal , 29 March 1877:
A meeting, attended by about 30 officers of the Banks in Adelaide, was held on Wednesday, the 28th instant, to discuss the desirability of forming a Bankers' Football Club. The convener of the meeting having, reported that 50 officers had -promised their support, a  committee was formed to undertake the necessary preliminaries, and the meeting adjourned.
Bankers became an inaugural member of the SAFA. Unfortunately, the team lacked playing talent and did not win a game for the season and only scored four goals while conceding 31.
It was to be the team’s only season.
On 19 May 1877 Bankers played a match against South Park where their player, Charles Poole, received an injury from which he subsequently died.

Fatal Accident at Football
On Saturday last, whilst the Bankers and South Park Football Clubs were engaged in a match, one of the players,- named C. B. Poole, aged 18 years, unfortunately met with such serious injuries that he died on Tuesday. It seems the deceased had hold of the ball, and that in the excitement of the moment he forgot to drop it when caught by some of the other players, who in their endeavours to kick the ball inflicted such injuries as ultimately caused death. We do not know whether the recently adopted rules prescribe any safeguard against accidents of this kind, but we certainly think a role to prevent kicking the ball whilst it is in a player's hands should be enforced, and efforts should be made to prevent this otherwise manly pastime from degenerating into sheer "rough and tumble".

Kapunda Herald and Northern Intelligencer Friday, 8 June 1877

Gawler Football Club

Gawler Football Club
Gawler was a foundation member of the SAFA in 1877 but was only given junior status. It was not until 1887, following a merger of Gawler and Gawler Albion football clubs, and an application to the SAFA, that Gawler was given senior status. The ‘orange and blacks’ participated for four seasons without great success. They played their last SAFA match on 6 September 1890 at the Gawler Oval against Medindie (now North Adelaide Football Club). It was abandoned at half time due the the condition of the oval after torrential rain.

Hotham Football Club

Hotham Football Club
Hotham is believed to have been formed in 1881. Six years later the club became a senior member of the SAFA and finished fifth in that first season. In 1888 they combined with local junior club Ariel and competed under the name North Adelaide (unrelated to the current North Adelaide). That year was their last in the competition as they merged with Adelaide.
Their most famous player was Jack ‘Dinny’ Reedman, all round sportsman who would later play in six South Adelaide premierships, another three at North Adelaide, and coached West Adelaide to their first premiership in 1908 and their Championship of Australia win over Essendon the same year.
He also captained the South Australian Sheffield Shield side and played test cricket for Australia.

Kensington Football Club

Kensington Football Club
Formed in the early 1870s, Kensington joined the SAFA in that inaugural season of 1877. Their home ground was the Kensington Oval.

The Evening Journal of 9 June 1877 reported:
The Kensington Football Club held an extraordinary meeting at Mr. Caterer's schoolroom, Norwood, on Thursday evening, June 7, at which Mr. Bay Moulden occupied the chair. The attendance was fair, and 15 new members were elected. After considerable discussion about the costume, it was decided that scarlet and white striped guernseys, round striped military caps, and white trousers be substituted for the old one, and it was also resolved that the wearing of it be strictly enforced after the 16th instant. Mr. P. Wood, was elected captain for the remainder of the season, and Mr. Bayfield Moulden vice-captain.

While they never finished higher than fifth in their five seasons in the Association, the scarlet and whites were a well-supported club, however they only managed four games in their final season of 1881.

Royal Park Football

Royal Park Football Club
Royal Park joined the senior association in 1882.

 Evening Journal 30 March 1882 Page 3

 Evening Journal 30 March 1882, page 3

Shortly after the meeting above, it was reported in the Express and Telegraph newspaper (5 April 1882) that the annual general meeting of the SAFA considered the Royal Park Football Club's application to join the senior association:
The application of the Royal Park Football Club was considered, and Mr. A J. Diamond moved that the club should be admitted to the association. He urged that the admission of the club would be of the greatest advantage to the association and should be calculated to advance the interests of the game. Mr. C. Bagot seconded. The application was opposed by some of the delegates, on the ground that the club was not strong enough to successfully cope with the senior clubs, but the motion was passed by 19 votes to 4. The question as to whether the club should be allowed to play with 23 or 25 men was left to the committee to deal with.

Donning blue and white with an orange hoop they joined took their place in the the SAFA for the 1882 season. However they struggled from the start, playing only four games (all losses), forfeiting one due to lack of players and then the rest of the season’s matches after they dropped out of the competition.

South Park Football Club

South Park Football Club
A meeting was held at the Prince Albert Hotel, Wright-street, on Tuesday evening, April 10, to form a Football Club in connection with the South Park Cricket Club. There was a large attendance. After the election of officers and other business, it was decided to erect goals at once, and the date of the first full practice was fixed. Upwards of 25 members were enrolled. (Advertiser, 12 April 1877, p4).
And so South Park joined the first SAFA season. Although they never finished above third on the ladder they were known as a hard team to beat and gave a good account of themselves against a visiting Carlton team in 1881. Disbanding at the end of 1884 a number of the Club’s better players moved to South Adelaide

Charles Todd, the man responsible for the Overland Telegraph that linked Adelaide (and Australia) to the world was involved with the South Parks including being a Club Vice President.

Express and Telegraph 28 March 1879 page 2

Express and Telegraph 28 March 1879 page 2

On Saturday 26 April 1879 the opening colour match (an internal trial game) of the South Park Football Club was held on the south park lands, and at 3 o’clock, after ringing cheers for the postmaster general Mr C Todd, the ball was kicked off by that gentleman – the Concordia Band in the interim playing he’s a jolly good fellow.

. Adelaide Observer 3 May 1879 page 13

Adelaide Observer 3 May 1879, page 13

John Creswell, after whom Creswell Gardens near Adelaide Oval are named, was also involved with the club being Honorary Secretary and a player. He can be seen below, marked with an 8.

South Park Football Club, 1879. SLSA: B 10436
South Park Football Club, 1879. SLSA: B 10436.
This is the only photograph the State Library has of any of these early teams.
Go here for the names of the players:

Victorian Football Club

Victorian Football Club
Victorian played their home matches at Montefiore Hill. Despite their name they were not made up of expatriates from across the border. The club played in the SAFA from its inaugural year of 1877, when it finished as runner-up to South Adelaide, although some observers of this era, before Grand Final matches,  say both teams should have been proclaimed joint premiers. In 1883 a name change to North Adelaide (unrelated to the current North Adelaide Football Club) was made to better reflect its location. The club disbanded in 1884.  

Victorian Football Club played the first inter-colonial match involving a South Australian team when they played the Melbourne Football Club, in Adelaide, on 11 August 1877.


Evening journal, 13 August, 1877, p2

West Adelaide Football Club

West Adelaide Football Club
West Adelaide, resplendent in red, white and blue, are unrelated to the current West Adelaide Football Club. They were previously known as West Torrens (also unrelated to the current Woodville-West Torrens Football Club).
The Express and Telegraph newspaper (16 March 1887) reported: The annual meeting of the West Torrens Football Club was held at the Foundry Hotel, Hindley-street, on Tuesday evening. Mr. A. A. Fox presided, and there was a very good attendance. The secretary read his annual report and balance-sheet, which showed the club to be in a fair position. It was decided to change the name of the club to the West Adelaide, and, with sufficient inducement, to apply for a position in the South Australian Football Association.
‘The Butchers’, as they were colloquially known due to some of their players being abattoir workers, only played in only one SAFA season - 1887 and they finished in last place.

Woodville Football Club

Woodville Football Club
Originally known as Port Suburban Football Club they changed their name to Woodville in 1870. Woodville Football Club (no relation to the later SANFL club) was one of the founding clubs of the SAFA in 1877. During that season they won five of their 16 matches, two games were forfeited due to lack of players.
The Club dissolved at the end of the season due to internal disputes.
A number of their players joined the newly formed Norwood Football Club in 1878 including their captain Joe Osborn, who would lead Norwood to a premiership in that club’s first year in the SAFA.

Other clubs, such as Medindie, who became North Adelaide, or Port Natives, who became West Torrens, have not been included here as their spirit lives on in the current SANFL.

Images by Imogen Landau

Further reading:
Devaney, John Clubs of the South Australian National Football League Great Britain : Full Points Publications, 2014.

Gyss, Trevor South Australian football history, Lulu Books, 2017
Gyss, Trevor The Bankers : a short and tragic history, Lulu Books, c2010
Gyss, Trevor, The Woodville Football Club : divided it fell, Lulu Books, 2013
Whimpress, Bernard, The South Australian football story, SANFL 1983