Sport An exhibition of material from the Monash University Library Rare Books Collection Introduction




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Football

34. The Australian pictorial weekly : an illustrated newspaper. (Melbourne : Queensberry Hill Press, 1982)



This is a facsimile of an illustrated paper published in Melbourne in 1880, open at the issue for July 24. The engraving on the cover shows, “Sketch at the football match. Carlton v. Geelong. George Coulthard running with the ball.”

The accompanying article on Coulthard describes him as,


About twenty-four years of age, weighs about 12 stone, is 5 ft. 10 in. in height, of Victorian birth, and for physique as fine a specimen of a colonial as one could well wish to see. … For the last five years his name has been very prominent among footballers, and for playing the game in its most perfect style we would have much difficulty in finding his equal; he marks with certainty, and kicks “punt” or “drop” with admirable judgment and accuracy; is very dangerous when near his opponent’s goal, seeming rather to prefer acute angles. During last season he kicked twenty-one goals for the Carlton Club. … His fellow players show their confidence by always playing to him when possible. … His speciality is, undoubtedly, running with the ball; many are the runs he has made, warding off his opponents with his long muscular arms. This peculiar style of passing is really a treat to witness, and we may well say that Coulthard is unequalled at it, being a custom almost his own. (p. 52)

35. The Footballer : an annual record of football in Victoria and the Australian colonies / edited by Thomas P. Power (Melbourne : Henriques and Co.,

1875- )



On display is no. 4, 1878. The editor, Thomas Power was the Secretary to the VFA, the Victorian Football Association. At this time there were seven senior clubs in Melbourne, Albert Park, Carlton, Essendon, Hotham, Melbourne, St. Kilda, West Melbourne. Geelong was listed among the “provincial” clubs.


There were teams in New South Wales and South Australia and in 1879 the game began to be played in Tasmania and Queensland.


Although The footballer is mainly devoted to Australian Rules, it also has a history of Association football (soccer) and “Hints to players”.

36. Harrison, H. C. A. (Henry Colden Antill), 1836-1929.

The story of an athlete : a picture of the past / by H.C.A. Harrison. (Melbourne : Alexander McCubbin, [1924])



Harrison is usually credited, along with his cousin and brother-in-law, Tom Wills, with devising “Australian Rules” football in 1858 as a game to be played by cricketers to keep fit in the winter season.


Harrison gives the details in his autobiography on display.


Football always has been to my mind the game for strong and vigorous men, for the simple reason that it requires all the best qualities of a first-rate athlete, namely strength, courage, endurance and self-control. It also requires a sufficient amount of resource and judgment to make it really interesting to the player and yet, at the same time, is quickly and easily learned. It is also much more comprehensible to the general public than cricket for instance, and there are no dull moments for the spectator, the excitement being kept up from start to finish. One has only to hear the continuous roar that proceeds from the vicinity of a big match to know that! (p. 88)


Harrison quotes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who watched a match in Melbourne in 1921. The Englishman compared Soccer and Rugby to the local code and concluded that “the Victorian system [i.e. Australian Rules] has some points which make it the best of all – certainly from the spectacular point of view.”


Harrison gives his version of the genesis of the game in Victoria,


Till the year 1858, no football had been played in the colony. But when T. W. Wills arrived from England fresh from Rugby school, full of enthusiasm for all kinds of sport, he suggested that we should make a start with it. He very sensibly advised us not to take up Rugby (although that had been his own game) because he considered it (as then played) unsuitable for grown men, engaged in making a livelihood, but to work out a game of our own. So a number of us (principally cricketers) got together, and began to play. It was rather a go-as-you-please affair at first, but a set of rules was gradually evolved, which experience taught us to be the best. (p. 89)

37. Clark, Mavis Thorpe.

Hatherly's first fifteen / by M.R. Clark ; illustrated by F.E. Hiley. (London : Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1930)

38. “Sportswomen of note” in The sports girl, (London : Shurey’s Publications, 1922) no. 2 (14 March 1922)



These are from our extensive collection of children’s books and magazines. The dust-wrapper of the novel show boys playing Rugby; the cover of The Sports Girl, features a female soccer player. This relates to the main story in the magazine, “The wizards”. There is also a double-page spread on “Football girls and what they have done”, with details of two of their teams and group photographs.


A further article of interest in The Sports Girl is “What I think of my husband”, no. 2 in a series on footballers’ wives. This one features the wife of Fulham player, James Torrance.

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