Explore the History of australian football

Unlike the author of this article, Port Adelaide supporters were well used to aeronautics, much of it courtesy of the great Harold Oliver, seen here in action against Sturt at the Adelaide Oval. 

I half suspected that the great crowd that assembled on the Alberton Oval on Saturday last had an eye to business.

There was certainly a big football match in progress, but there was also another attraction in the shape of an aerial ascent away yonder over Cheltenham.

​The idea of getting a double entertainment for the same money on the same day and in the same place, I am sure, appealed to many.

Hats off, footballers, to Aviator Monsieur Gillaux!  He is a sport!  It could not have been mere accident that so regulated his three flights that the first took place at the quarter time, the big flight with looping the loop and finishing with a fly over the Adelaide Oval (see footnote 1) at half time, and the final flight at three quarter time.  It may have been the accident of circumstances; but, sports, it did certainly look like considerate design.

Aeroplaning is a very simple process.  The process consists of a collection of stays, guys, wires, a pair of wings, a propeller, and a petrol-driven engine, the rest is easy.  A ground is secured, a band engaged, the aviator goes up "in the air", performs a series of evolutions, and then gracefully glides back to terra firma which, in plain English, means Mother Earth (sic.).  So simple!

It was quite interesting to get among the crowd and listen to the various observations.

A dear old lady said she could see the "Airy-plain".

A gentleman with a single eye glass called it a "Mono-plane".

A well-known amateur actor styled it a "By-playin", while an excited old buffer from the land of the thistle said it was like a "Bur-r-d".

When the authorities get a move on the aeroplane will come to stay.  Some day we shall be witnessing a great race from Adelaide to Hindmarsh.  But the sport will never appeal to footballers.  They will not be able to yell at the umpire.


By our Special Reporter

Some Extra-Curricular Entertainment

From 'The SA Football Budget', Monday 29 June 1914


A Song of Joy

Of football now I'll sing a song,
   At least I'll try it on,
Of how we played the southern club,
   And passed the ball along.
Some would play with lots of luck,
   And run along and mark;
But when the lads get in the ruck,
   The umpire gets the nark.


When they play the game my boys,
   Some on the ground will roll;
While others pass the ball along,
   And have a shot for goal.

The bell rings out half-time,
   The boys are in a sweat;
They all go in the pavilion,
   Their throttles there to wet.
Our captain's going to shout;
   Our supporters do the talk;
They're loudly calling "Two to one,
   The Magpies in a walk".


When they play the game my boys,
   Some on the ground will roll;
While others pass the ball along,
   And have a shot for goal.

They all file out to play again,
   Some feeling fit and right,
Some of the boys crammed full of fun,
   And others full of fight;
But how they pass the ball along,
    They cannot tell, for fear;
The bell tolls out, they drop the ball,
   And run like - well, for - lemonade.


The ball is passed from end to end,
And then comes sailing back;
When Congear, roving, gets a mark
Right on young Dugan's back.

The game is done at last,
   A daisy of a game;
Some of the boys are very sore,
   And others gone quite lame.
The boys are all good friends,
   And very much alive;
The Magpies got nine goals,
   And the Souths had only five.


When they play the game my boys,
   Some on the ground will roll;
While others pass the ball along,
   And have a shot for goal.


Match Report No. 2

From 'The SA Football Budget', Monday 29 June 1914

South's George Wallace

The succession of perfect football Saturdays was unbroken when these teams met.

​​he occasion marked the opening of the second round.

The Souths were without Windsor and Hansen; but, realising that it is an ill wind that blows no good, their supporters had high hopes that perhaps the two juniors who filled their places would rise to the occasion and worthily fill the breach.

With the Ports it was a case of "Let 'em all come," and they were confident of success.

The opening saw the Souths putting plenty of dash into their play, and quite unexpectedly they led the attack.  After a lot of forward play by the Souths there was one rush and one goal to Port.  The Souths had all the best of it, but they were too eager, and there were too many frees being given to Port.  When once the Ports got going their forwards, led by Ashley and Co., had a good time.  Still, there was a lot of tumbling and bustling, and it was some time before a goal to Port brought the ball back to the centre line.

It was a rattling good first quarter, and the football was of a very high order.  Prominent among the Souths was Hurley, who played quite the best game for his side, while Mueller, on a wing, ran him a very close second.

The Souths deserve every credit for their rattling second quarter, and, but for the messing of Job up forward, who was not playing his usual safe and reliable game, they would have done even better.

Dunn and Ashley forward and Pope back are a proposition that so far this season no team has been able to bump up against, and they stand head and shoulders above any other men in the league in their respective positions.

The third quarter saw Souths still going strong, and they actually led by one point soon after half time, a distinction which no other team has gained against the Ports this season.  They were playing a great combined game, and where they could not take marks were content to spoil their opponents in the air.

Umpires, please keep an eye to Congear.  His clever and tricky play sometimes wins frees when they are undeserved.

Up to three quarter time the game was all Souths'.  It cannot be said that the Ports were taking things easily.  They were fully extended, and had to play all they knew to keep pace with their opponents.

​​The fourth quarter needs little description.  The Souths' condition found them out.  They had done more than any other team this season, but they had done too much; and when it came to a final effort, they could not come on.  Consequently the Ports had things all their own way, and at the final bell they had a comfortable lead.

Match Summary

Port Adelaide 2.7 3.10 6.10 9.15 (69)
South Adelaide 0.1 4.4 5.5 5.7 (37)

BEST - Port: Ashley, Dunn, Congear, Pope, Oliver, Londrigan   South: Hurley, Mueller, Job, Tredrea, Wallace, Clark

GOALS - Port: Watson 3; Chaplin, Congear 2; Magor, Anderson   South: Barry 2; Job, Tredrea, Waye


Alberton Oval, June 20

By 'Centre'

Match Report No. 1

From 'The SA Football Budget', Monday 29 June 1914

Frank "Dinky" Barry (South)

South Adelaide

Since the inception of electorate football, whereby players were compelled to play for the club which represented the electoral district in which they resided, South Adelaide's fortunes had plummeted.  Premiers 7 times in the 22 seasons prior to the compulsory implementation of the electorate system, the blue and whites had added just 1 flag to their tally in the 15 seasons since, and had not even contested the finals since 1905.  Nevertheless, the club boasted some fine players, notably Jack Tredrea, regarded even by some Victorians as the finest utility in the game, thoroughbred rover Frank 'Dinky' Barry, who would win the following season's Magarey Medal, pacy and tenacious wingman/forward Alexander Job, who had been a member of South Australia's victorious 1911 carnival team, full forward Steve McKee, who would captain the club after the war, as well as topping the goal kicking on three occasions, and veteran rover George Wallace, who would be granted his life membership of the club at the end of the season after giving 10 years of sterling service since transferring from West Adelaide.

South Adelaide's main problem, it would seem, was not so much lack of talent, as a lack of sufficient talent.  Moreover, as the account which follows appears to intimate, the players may have fallen some way short of their rivals in terms of overall physical condition.  In spite of these deficiencies, however, the blue and whites in 1914 gave the all conquering Magpies two of their toughest games: in the opening round, at Adelaide, they got within 23 points - the nearest thing to a thriller that Port was involved in all year; while in the match under review here, they restricted the Magpies to their lowest tally for the season after actually taking the lead against them on one occasion, the first side to manage this feat all year.

South went into this round 8 game in 6th position on the ladder with a 2-4 record; however, the team could be said to have recently found form, in that its wins had come in its last two outings.

Port's Jack "Spud" Ashley

Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide's 1914 combination remains unique in SA(N)FL history for its feat of going through the entire season without losing.  For that achievement alone, it deserves to be ranked alongside the greatest teams ever to play the game, such as the Essendon sides of the 1890s, Phil Matson's East Perth of the years following World War One, Collingwood (1927-30), South Fremantle (1947-54), Melbourne (1954-60) and Richmond (1967-74).  However, in Port Adelaide's case, highlighting the 1914 team's accomplishment in going through the season unbeaten only really scratches the surface of its greatness; it fails, for example, to depict the magnitude of the team's superiority over every other team in the SAFL, for not only did Port Adelaide emerge victorious from a total of 14 minor round and finals matches, it did so by an average margin of 49 points which, given the low scoring which prevailed at the time, was probably the equivalent of about 100 points in today's 'currency'.  Its 13.15 (93) to 1.8 (14) annihilation of North Adelaide in the season's premiership deciding match was arguably comparable to a modern day win by somewhere in the region of 160 points, which would put it in the same ball park as, for instance, Hawthorn's 32.24 (216) to 8.8 (56) defeat of Essendon in 1992, which is one of the heftiest dozen or so AFL wins of all time.  

Port also dominated in terms of individual player achievements, courtesy of three 'Jacks': Jack Ashley won the Magarey Medal, Jack Dunn booted 33 goals to top the league list, and Jack Robertson, one of seven Magpie players chosen to represent South Australia at the Sydney carnival, earned a prestigious Referee Medal  for the best South Australian player at the championships.

Once the season proper was over, Port Adelaide provided further evidence of their pre-eminence, first by coasting to a 34 point win over Carlton in the championship of Australia play-off, and then by comprehensively defeating a combined team comprising top players from the other 6 SAFL clubs, 14.14 (98) to 5.10 (40).

In addition to the 3 players mentioned above, star names in the 1914 Magpie line-up - which was changed on only 4 occasions all year - included 1910 Magarey Medallist Sampson 'Shine' Hosking, champion rover Angelo 'Ongie' Congear, brilliant all rounder Harold Oliver, and much travelled veteran Jack Londrigan, who skippered the side.  So strong was the Port Adelaide line-up in 1914 that champion full forward Frank Hansen, a former South Adelaide player, who had topped the SAFL goal kicking in each of the preceding four seasons, could manage just one game for the year.

Had the war not intervened and deprived the club of many of its key players, it seems reasonable to suppose that Port Adelaide would have carried on dominating South Australian football for many more years. 

Jack Tredrea

Jack Londrigan

The Captains

BACK ROW (L-R): A.J.Maynard, W.I.Boon, J.C.Dunn, C.A.Anderson, H.V.Pope, J.C.Watson
MIDDLE ROW (L-R): P.C.Magor, J.Middleton, W.H.Oliver (vice-captain), J.W.Londrigan (captain), J.Ashley, J.W.Robertson, A.McFarlane
FRONT ROW (L-R): S.Hosking, H.Eaton, A.Congear, A.Chaplin, W.R.Drummond

The Invincibles at Play - SAFL round 8, Saturday 20th June 1914: Port Adelaide versus South Adelaide at Alberton Oval