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