Sunday, April 17, 2011

Which class is your team?

A few of us were discussing the origins of Melbourne's Australian Rules football teams. Correct me if I am wrong as I know little of football. The teams used to get their players from the suburbs of their names and a specified area in the country. None of this would be applicable today with players bought, sold and traded. Maybe the country catchment still applies.

We were wondering why Collingwood is such a passionately loved and passionately hated team. I put it down to a class thing. No suburb was quite so proudly working class as Collingwood.

The toff teams.

North Melbourne?

And the working class teams.

South Melbourne?

Did I miss any? The ones with question marks I am unsure about so offer your opinion.


  1. Where does St Kilda sit?

  2. Hi Andrew - interesting to hear your slant on these teams and the suburbs they originated from.
    In Adelaide we only have the two AFL teams Crows and Port. Originally Port Adelaide would definitely have been from the more working class area. Now-days I don't think that applies.

  3. North Melbourne, Toff?
    My father would have been rolfing by that description.
    In my father's day North Melbourne was verging on slum with 3 generations of family in one house and that would be rented.

    You have to put North Melbourne in working class for old times sake.

  4. Geelong wouldn't have been toffs; nor would have North Melbourne - very different today though - those workers' cottages cost a fortune (esp those within a sniff of University High).

  5. Nathan Spielvogel’s radio talks in 1936 on his memories of Ballarat in the previous century –
    At a club meeting in 1874 Charles Sherrard was elected Caretaker Of The Football. Footballs were scarce and Sherrard’s father was manager of the State Savings Bank and the team thought Charlie would keep their precious ball in the bank safe between games.
    Notable players:
    Waxy Maher
    Duxie Powell
    Pompy Cleary (about 17 stone in weight)
    Dolly Christie – “daring follower”
    Snobby Ellingson (killed in the Sunshine Railway Crash of 1908).

    “The worst thing about the Western Oval game in the 1880’s was the cruel ‘rabbitting’ – dropping on one knee in front of a man running with the ball and bringing him crashing to the ground.
    Many a man was seriously injured in this way.
    Champion ball-juggler Billy Moore injured so badly he never could play again.
    Fine player Billy Tootell was crippled for life and
    Jack Mills was killed.”

    The football match played against Geelong on Greens Paddock 1st July 1863 … “after half an hour Ballarat kicked a goal,
    teams changed ends and after 20 minutes Geelong kicked a goal. This was then disputed due to a Ballarat player having touched the ball before it went through (no goal umpires then).
    The game was stopped for the argument which ended in an all-in brawl which only stopped when darkness came.
    Both teams then repaired to The George Hotel and drank till the early hours.

    Speilvogel’s description says the 3 Ballarat teams were The Toffs (clerks etc) The Miners, and The Imps “mostly lads from shops”.

  6. I missed St Kilda didn't I Victor. Ah, toff. Essendon definitely toff.

    Yep, Diane, Port's reputation has reached here.

    Jah Teh, while NM was working class, is that how it is generally perceived?

    Kath, I don't know what Geelong's catchment area around Geelong was. I thought maybe there would be some squatocracy included in the team.

    Nice history Ann. Did you know people in Ballarat started to learn Chinese so that they could barrack for either the Chinese miners or the Chinese market gardeners when they played footy against each other.

  7. I know even less than you about football, so I know nothing about which team is what or from where.

  8. Anonymous9:53 pm

    St Kilda may be toff now but it certainly wasn't back in the day! V.

  9. Nth Melb definitely working class - the club's unofficial nickname is "The Shinboners", relating to its 19th century abattoir-worker origins. See:

  10. Any team that played football wasn't 'toff'. Toffs played cricket,tennis and polo.

  11. Yeah River. My knowledge has creeped into me without me having any interest. Such is Melbourne.

    V, seems there were only a couple of toff teams really.

    And croquet Jah Teh. The rented house my father grew up in had a croquet lawn.

  12. Altissima, I had forgotten about them being called the Shinboners. Ah yes, the abattoirs.