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FOOTY ON THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VIC., AUST. (SEAFORD'S SAND PIT!)

Journal by itellya

Most pioneers worked from dawn to dusk but Saturday was THE BIG DAY. They would work on Saturday morning (as even the V.F.L. players did and Jock McHale, famed Collingwood coach and a foreman at Carlton and United Breweries, once kept an opposition player late at work before a Grand Final involving his team and the Maggies.)
Saturday was the day for footy and feasting. The second activity occurred at the local dances. Not one man would dare admit that the only reason most of them attended the dances was to scoff down the entries in the COMPETITION! Every family had to bring a plate and while no wife or mother would admit it, there was a fair dinkum competition to surpass the culinary skills of all the other women.

Most footballers did pre-career training. Because of their workload and the lack of lighting, most bush footballers would have relied on their experience at State School up to Grade 8 (Merit Certificate.) The old cliche of four laps of the cricket pitch probably summed up any training that was done.

In the days that shops traded every day but Sunday until late, when Rosebud was playing at home (on the Village Green opposite the later hotel, where Doug Bachli practised his golf), all the shops would shut and the whole community would flock to watch the Buds. No doubt, most teams had similar support from their communities.

There was desperation for a game of footy. The Mornington Peninsula Football League would probably be surprised to find out that Moorooduc, Balnarring and Tuerong once had teams, mainly between 1890 and 1910 and in the 1930's, both eras of depression where footy could relieve misery. The team at Somerville was called "Railways" for a while. The smaller places competed in a second tier competition called the Peninsula District Association. Flinders once had a team and won this competition's premiership in 1906, the year it was formed by Paddy Gomm of the Somerville family (Murray Gomm.)The senior body was called the Mornington Peninsula Football Association .

The Wongs of the market garden by Chinamans Creek on David Cairn's Elenora at Rosebud West were stars for Rosebud. One of the boys was very impressive when he trained at Sandringham in the 1930's, probably on his way home from the Vic. Market. Colin McLear has much history, including photos, of the Dromana team in his "A Dreamtime of Dromana".

The Mornington Football Club drowning tragedy is well documented but what has never been mentioned is that one of Laurie Wilson's ancestors was spared because he had to work on that day to clear up a backlog of deliveries from his boss's cutting cart. (See Laurie's website BONNIE WILLIAM OF DUNDEE re the Wilsons of Tuerong etc.)

Because of low populations (such as in some country leagues today), it was necessary for neighbouring areas to band together or for clubs to find recruits from outside their area. In complaints about games found in newspapers, the cause was more often about these imports (such as Somerville's Gomms) rather than unfair play. Sorrento was lucky to have a source of players to supplement the locals because of its popularity as a resort, but some of the locals weren't bad, such as Stringer, whose namesake was best on ground in Sorrento's premiership last year. Incidentally, the cricket and footy results on the peninsula read like a local history, but this does not apply near Tullamarine.

SNAPSHOTS.
THE PENINSULA.
Balnarring F.C. appears in the papers between 1904 and 1938. The club obviously became Red Hill but not in 1937 when a Red Hill-Balnarring District F.C. was proposed. (Mornington and Somerville Standard 9-4-1937 page 8.)Balnarring had earlier combined with Flinders to form a team for the 1890 season (Mornington Standard, 25-4-1891, page 3.)
Baxter was fielding a team on a mud heap by 1938 and in 1944 a junior team from Baxter and Somerville played a game against the Frankston scouts. They merged as Pearcedale-Baxter before the 1948 season but had already played under that name in 1947.
Flinders (from which the Crib Point club was formed if I remember previous research correctly)had a combined team in 1891 with Balnarring,as stated earlier. The naval base would have provided a supply of players but probably denied many locals a game. The annual meeting of the Peninsula District Football Association was reported on page 7 of the Frankston and Somerville Standard on 12-4-1930. It was attended by delegates from Langwarrin, Frankston, Mornington, Red Hill, Seaford, Tyabb, Naval Depot, Flinders, Dromana and Rosebud. Flinders applied to enter a team and Moorooduc was not entering a team for the season. It was resolved that the body not amalgamate with the M.P.F.A.
A check on Red Hill confirmed that the club had already existed before 1937 and that the idea of the combined club was to form A and B teams but it was given permission to withdraw both teams in May 1937 with the area being added to the Dromana-Rosebud recruiting area.
THE FOLLOWING IMAGE OF A JUNIOR TEAM FROM FRANKSTON WAS TAKEN AFTER THE SCOUT JAMBOUREE FOR WHICH THE GRANDSTAND WAS BUILT. IT WAS SUPPLIED BY STEVE JOHNSON, A DESCENDANT OF HENRY CADBY WELLS.

Surnames: BACHLI GOMM McHALE McLEAR STRINGER WILSON WONG
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by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-02-05 20:40:17

Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.

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Comments

by itellya on 2012-02-06 05:09:57

by itellya on 2012-03-30 20:41:18

Steve Johnson has been very kind to me, supplying two Frankston footy photos and much other material. The other black and white photo is attached to the Frankston journal; it appears to be pre W.W.2 and the jumpers appear to be the same as Essendon's. I speculated that such a jumper may have been the origin of the name of the present FRANKSTON BOMBERS. While researching SEAFORD FOOTBALL CLUB, I found a 1920 article referring to Frankston as the "red and blacks" so it seems that my theory was correct.McCulloch of the Seaford Sand Pits was playing for Frankston at the time so it seems as if the Seaford club was formed shortly afterwards but did not originally play on the present ground.

One of Steve's presents was "Fishing, Sand and Village Days", an oral history of Frankston from the early 1900's to 1950. Jack McCulloch gave great detail of the operation of the sandpits but it was Ted Miles who gave great detail about their locations. The present Seaford ground is located on one of these pits which explains the steep embankment between the ground and railway line.(Page 38.)

Wondering when the Seaford Club had started, I looked up its website which listed its premierships, the first (P.D.A.) being in 1924. Unfortunately the history page would not load.

A letter from J.W.Brown (headed SEAFORD SAND PITS) in the Frankston and Somerville Standard (25-9-1925, page 6) mentions that a letter from the Seaford Football Club approving the purchase of the site had been presented to the previous council meeting. (This approval probably included an agreement to pay a third of the cost.)

An article in the same paper (26-5-1934, page 1, headed SEAFORD PROGRESS. Sports Pavilion Opens.)gives detail of the purchase of the site. In October, 1925 a referendum had been conducted to authorise the purchase of the former sand pit for 600 pounds. The council's contribution was 400 pounds of which half was handed back by Mr McCulloch for ground improvements. The Seaford Club was, in 1934, to play its first season in the senior body after much success in the Peninsula District Association. In 1925 a Mr McMurtrie had presented a report about the site's suitability and the article stated that those who knew the worked out sandpit and the fine sports oval that now stood there would realise how sound the quoted report was.
The question is: WHERE DID THE CLUB PLAY ITS FIRST THREE (OR SO) SEASONS?

by itellya on 2012-03-30 21:38:29

Seaford did not gain promotion to the senior body in 1934 as implied above. What actually happened was that the senior body and the Mornington District Football Association merged in 1934 to form a new league with A,B and C divisions, Seaford starting in B. The Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League website has some fascinating information but unfortunately nothing prior to 1908 as far as I could see.

In the 1890's clubs organised games on a less formal basis (as the V.F.A. did in its early days with teams from Ballarat etc.) One of these games was the Mornington- Mordialloc game in 1892 that resulted in the drowning tragedy. It is of interest that an annual practice match is proposed from this year to honour the unfortunate victims.

The MPNFL website contains many photos of early teams and details of premiers, officials etc. of the early leagues. It also has pictures and details of AFL players whose careers started on the peninsula. Although it names each player's club of origin, no indication is given of later involvement here. For example, Wally Guy was later a stalwart of the Dromana club. I was surprised to find out that the Bud's star of recent years, Greg Bentley, actually started there.

by janilye on 2012-03-31 20:42:21

The original ground was at the end of Robinsons Road and Admans Street, being known as The Flat. Bill Klauers plough was used to make a boundary line and saplings were cut from his nearby farm as goalposts. Players changed behind a large boxthorn tree nearby.

by janilye on 2012-03-31 20:53:47

The Seaford Football Club was born in late 1921, when formation meetings were held at Armstrongs Grocery Store, Martins Garage and Weatherleys Milk Bar.

by itellya on 2012-04-02 06:04:17

Thanks janilye, that's great! I wonder what the football club would have been called if it had been formed in 1912. The only Seaford at that time seems to have been the estate established by William Cherry, presumably at Altona. Did our Seaford have a name prior to the establishment of the station in 1913?

by janilye on 2012-04-02 10:35:34

From what I have read, when they first started this club, in 1921 they recruited players from Richmond that's why they were called 'The Tigers"

by janilye on 2012-04-02 10:37:23

Couldn't very well call them "The Cherries" could they. hahahahaha

by janilye on 2012-04-02 12:04:40

Seaford was just swamp till they drained it for farming, then in 1913 they built the railway station.
There was something I read about it at Frankston, refering to the place as the Frankston Wetlands. Not to be confused with the Seaford-Edithvale wetlands which were north of the railway station.

by itellya on 2012-07-30 10:52:56

"Better Days" a souvenir of the opening of Rosebud's new netball courts at Olympic Park on 28-7-2012, is an account of the first semi final between Somerville and Rosebud in 1936. It contains much detail about the players and their families. The initial printing ($3 per copy) sold out at the Rosebud-Somerville game last Saturday but it has been made available to the two clubs for fundraising purposes. A sample of the information about the Somerville players is added as a comment in my SOMERVILLE journal.
Here is a sample of the information about the Rosebud players, pasted from BETTER DAYS.
THE TEAMS.
Somerville. C.Harding (capt.)*, H.Armstrong*, K.Bryant*, R.Gomm*, G.Bryant, C.Martin, C.Murray, G.Gomm*, W.Clark, R.Armstrong*, J.Wood, G.Kay*, G.Bullen*, H.Thornell*, S.Clarke, J.Sharp, P.Currie,* J.Wotherspoon*, 19th-L.Iles. (* Member '35 premier team.)

Rosebud. H.Hancock (capt), E.Wong, M.Freeman, H.Lacco, G.Jennings, T.Baker, K.Lacco, E.Brady, W.Jinette, J.Broughton, H.Alderson, T.Chadwick, L.Godfrey, G.Wong, W.Jensen, F.Wood, A.Gray, T.Maw, 19th-T.Singleton.

Rosebud information.
Before giving the details of the 1936 team, I will supply some information about my informants.
Peter Wilson was the grandson of Walter Burnham whose dwelling was on the foreshore near the Burnham jetty at the end of Boneo Rd. Vin Burnham's recollections of life in early Rosebud are on Steve Burnham's website. I only met Peter once, at the launch of the late Colin Mclear's A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA. All of Peter's information comes from his ON THE ROAD TO ROSEBUD.
Bill Dryden played football for Rosebud from 1946 to 1963. He is a descendant of two pioneering families, the Drydens on the north side of Mt Diogenes (Hanging Rock) and the Peatey family of Jamieson's Special Survey (from Safety Beach to Bulldog Creek Rd), the north east corner of Harrisons and Bittern Rds, and Rosebud. His Uncle Horrie and his father had played for Rosebud much earlier. Bill's grandfather, William married Susan Peaty. His son William John, born in 1911 in Kyneton was Kyneton's best and fairest in 1929 and 1930. His brother, Horrie, played for Rosebud in 1929.

THE ROSEBUD PLAYERS.
The captain was probably Herb Hancock who built a shop midway between Seventh and Eighth Avenues and leased it to Arthur Brandt, according to Peter Wilson. The 1950 directory lists Herbert Hancock as a builder. The captain was a good goal kicker, capable of excellent snapshots, and seems to have formed a talented attacking duo with Liversidge in the early 1930's. Some of his best bags (and the relevant issue of the Frankston and Somerville Standard) were: 7 against Pearcedale
(25-6-1932 p.6), 5 against Red Hill (17-7-1936, p.6), 10 against Pearcedale (13-9-1935, p.6), 6 out of 10 against Dromana (16-7-1932, p.6) and 9 against Tyabb (10-6-1935, p.16.)

E.Wong was Eddie. The family had a market garden on the property of David Cairns on the highway west of Boneo Rd. Dalgleish Street is named after a connection to the Cairns family and Elenora at the Rosebud Hospital was the Cairns home. The Wong garden gave its name to Chinamans Creek. The Wong boys were nippy players and one of them highly impressed onlookers at Sandringham in the early 1930's. (Argus 4-5-1932 p.14.) He was probably on his way home from the Victoria Market. The Wongs used to deliver their vegetables throughout the Southern Peninsula and I think I have seen a reference to another Wong garden near Sorrento's home ground.
In 1955, Eddie was living in Mirriam Avenue, Rosebud West, when the funeral of a Batten infant was to leave his home. (Argus 12-4-1955, p.12.) George died in 1947 and may have been the 1936 footballer, aged 36. George Wong-Shing, the husband of Margaret and son of the late William and Yip Wong died on 18-5-1947 at the age of 47. Many members of the family were buried at the Rye Cemetery with Wong Shing and Wong Toy given as what I take to be surnames. Dot Wong has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Rosebud West Renewal Project.

The Freemans were residents in the Rosebud Fishing Village (the blocks on the foreshore) and in 1900 a member of the family owned 16 acres between Boneo Rd and First Avenue that became part of Ramsay Coupar's 56 acre The Thicket. This farm is now occupied by Warranilla Ave and the other curved streets south of Hope St ( which was part of Hindhope.) The Freemans were connected by marriage to several Rosebud families including that of Captain Henry Everest Adams who settled very early at Adams Corner (Wattle Place.) I believe it was Captain Jamieson, an old whaler, who taught a Freeman lad how to fish and handle a boat. (Isobel Moresby?)

The Laccos are regarded as one of the best builders of wooden boats in Victoria's history. Google LACCO, WOODEN BOATS! There is a statue of Mitch Lacco building a boat beside Henderson's Real Estate; as correctly pointed out by Bill Dryden, it is on the wrong side of Murray Anderson Rd because Mitch built his boats on the east side. The originator of the family in Rosebud, Fortios Lakonis, born in Kranidion, Greece in 1855, was granted lot 20 of the Rosebud Fishing Village on 16-10-1872. It was this block, on the west side of Durham Place, that Emily Durham and her family occupied for about half a century. Emily, nee King, married a Greek fisherman and they had a son named Tony, who was the grand father of Judith Mavis Cock. This girl had two claims to fame: her father won the Distinguished Flying Cross in W.W.2 and she won international fame as Judith Durham. Emily later married a Mr Durham and Tony took his surname but Judith Durham has Greek ancestry.
Fort Lacco married Emily's sister, Elizabeth. who died on 6-8-1934. (The Argus, 7-8-1934.) Thus it is that the Lacco's are related to Judith Durham. Mitch Lacco was their son.

Forest Edmund Joe Wood has been honoured by the naming of Wood St between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. Like Thomas Chadwick he was a real estate agent and Flinders Shire councillor. Joe opened a general store almost opposite the lighthouse at McCrae and operated a library in it. In about 1946, Joe and Bart Rogers saw that Rosebud needed a new hall,the Mechanics' Institute opposite the school being too small, and formed a citizens' league to run the first Rosebud Carnival, to raise funds. He also suggested a ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento. Joe seems to have been a councillor by 1944 so it is probable, despite a lack of mentions of him before that time, that he would have had to be in the area by 1936 to gain enough respect in the community to be thought worthy of a seat on the council. The fact that J.Wood was named one of the Bud's best against Hastings-Tyabb in 1938 seems to be evidence that F.Wood of 1936 was indeed Joe. (FSS 12-8-1938, P.8.)

FSS, 25-11-1933, P.4. SEAFORD. OBITUARY. Regret was expressed on the peninsula last Saturday when it was learned that Mr W. Dryden of Rosebud had met his death by accident at Rosebud. The deceased was a well-known footballer in the district having played for Rosebud a year or two ago and last year (sic,season!) captained the Seaford Club. He just recently left Seaford to accept employment at Rosebud. He leaves a widow and two young children. (i.e. Bill and Jim.)

It was the depression, which would explain what a star player was doing with used boots. His recent and fatal employment at Rosebud provides a possible reason for his move to Seaford. Not many people would know that the Seaford Football Ground was originally McCulloch's sand pit bought half by public subscription and half from council funds. The Seaford pits provided most of the district's employment. McCulloch put much of his proceeds toward amenities and was a strong supporter of the club. One could imagine him recruiting Bill on the promise of a job for him and his brother, E.Dryden. (All from Trove except for Bill's tale. Bill and Jim starred at school sports!)
Contact Pam Nichols at Rosebud F.C. and Murray Gomm at Somerville F.C. to order BETTER DAYS.

If I find time, I'll add some great detail in following comments about footy on the peninsula, such as a women's football match in 1946 that drew 700 spectators and Rye's team of the early 1900's!

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