For a short period of time football fever and success ran high at what today may seem the most unlikely of places, in quiet wayside township of Wallan East.
For many the focal point of social activities of this little community lay at the local Hotel, euchre and dance nights at the Public Hall, Sunday church services at St. Marks, the athletic & sports days, Saturday afternoon cricket and tennis in the summer, or just in catching up with friends at the local General Store & Post Office – all of which now resigned to history and are no more.
From 1904, and for just over 20 years the surrounding towns/townships of Broadford, Darraweit Guim, Donnybrook, Kilmore, Seymour, Wallan and Wandong etc provided the core of a regular district football competition. As in many rural areas such competitions were eventually ‘swallowed up’ by more vastly spread competitions as transport became more accessible.
Wandong had been the local ‘trailblazers’ alas in ‘disguise’ when they entered a team in the North-East Association for one season way back in 1893 (where Kilmore and Broadford were already members). It was really a combined Wandong and Wallan team however, but given that the other teams in that Association at that time were Avenal, Broadford, Kilmore, Nagambie, Seymour and Tallarook they needed to convince the club Delegates that they should be admitted. Their distance way ‘to the south’ was of a genuine concern, certainly by playing their home games just that bit further north at Wandong had sweetened their application for admission.
In a long season for Wandong only one win was recorded (against second bottom Kilmore) in 12 rounds as Tallarook went on to win their third consecutive premiership, but Wandong were able to fulfil all their playing obligations, bar one week at Nagambie.
Locally Wallan Wallan had been regular premiership winners up until the Great War, Broadford teams and Darraweit Guim had picked up their periodic premierships through the years, Kilmore successes were very infrequent, even Lancefield won a couple in the formative years whilst Wandong had just the one premiership – and that in the final season of the local Midland Association in 1926 which by then had been reduced to a mere three team competition.
A Athletic Club had been formed in Wallan Wallan and they apparently held their earliest Meetings at Market Reserve in Wallan Wallan (opposite Laffan’s present day garage), however by 1877 theses meetings (held on boxing Day and/or the Queen’s Birthday in May) being conducted in the paddock adjoining the Wallan East Railway Hotel…..so named Dwyer’s Ppddock, Guthries paddock, Parkers paddock and Bond paddock,all being licensees of the Railway Hotel……
So began what was to later become later known be known simply as the Railways Reserve and it was to also be used for football and cricket matches. Its location was almost immediately next to the Railway Hotel on the north side, and slightly recessed way from the roadway (not to be confused with the latter day cricket ground at the T intersection – NW corner – at the south end of the township).
So just how to what may appear to many a ‘modern day person’ a little wayside siding of little more than a mere single road at Wallan East have sufficient means and resolution to even contemplate forming a sports team, let alone a football team that required at least 16 or more players ………..?
Wallan East FC (1914)
A club was first formed at Wallan East in 1914, due to the ongoing and not always friendly sporting rivalry between Wallan East and neighbouring Wallan Wallan residents. There had been an uncomfortable split in the Wallan Wallan FC just as to where its home games should be played during that 1914 season, and as ever over the perennial argument – ‘should they play their home matches at the Public Park in Wallan Wallan or on the Railway Reserve next to the Railway Hotel at Wallan East’ ?
The rivalry had at this time also extended to the local Athletic Club, and now Wallan Railways had also formed their own Athletics Club in 1912 conducting its own Easter programme in opposition to the former clubs Boxing Day programme……………! Similar with the local cricket team, but that it a whole different story for another time……
With plenty of railway men living or camping and employed at Wallan East, the township was a hive of activity that often centred after working hours around the local Railway Hotel. Indeed the population of Wallan East at this time may well have exceeded that of its near neighbours at Wallan Wallan, which may surprise some folk today…… Added too which Wandong was only forming its football club intermittently despite having a large population due to the vast numbers employed in the local timber industry, such as with the Australian Seasoned Timber Company
So Wallan East decided is was able to, and did form its very own football club and they began with a practice match on 13 Apr 1914 (Easter weekend) when they easily defeated a club visiting from Oakleigh on their little ground. On the same day a Wallan Wallan team now in turmoil and in a very weakened condition where soundly defeated by the visiting the Lennox FC who were a Richmond Juniors team.
25 April 1914 the Wallan Wallan FC held a meeting and decided that all their home matches would be palyed at Wallan Park. It was further reports that the Railway or the Wallan East were going to form thier own club.
Eventually all was then ‘patched up’ between the two clubs by the season commencement proper and only Wallan Wallan entered a team into the local Association. Just as to where it was agreed the home games would be played is not known, though club meetings that season are known to have been held in Nurses Hall, next to the Railway Hotel – a likely agreement would have been to divide the home games evenly……. Then after, any notion that a rival club would be formed at Wallan East disappears fr several years. Wallan Wallan now with the pick of all the local footballers went on to win the Midlands Football Association premiership that season finishing a whole 4 games clear on top of the ladder (no finals). Of the 12 games played only third placed Darraweit Guim defeated them (once), and that was only by 2 pts. A total of 11 wins in all were recorded, though they were ‘stripped’ of one win on protest against the Kilmore Juniors, though conflicting reports survive – Wallan Wallan in an oversight had not obtained a permit for their seasoned champion player in William Stockdale, who was also playing some games in the VFA with Port Melbourne. William was later killed at Gallipoli.
At home Wallan Wallan concluded their matches for 1914 in late September and early October against Whittlesea (who had finished 4th from seven teams in the neighbouring Bourke-Evelyn Association) – which may have given a comparative gauge to local footballing standard, had not the full strength local team not been playing against only fifteen players, with the visitors having several of its regular away in Melbourne …… Wallan Wallan were victorious 7-12 to 5-6. The following weekend a return match was played at Whittlesea with the local team now replenished in numbers reversing the previous result. Scores – Wallan Wallan 3-6 to Whittlesea 6-6.
Aside from the Wallan Wallan FC club still sometimes, playing its matches at the Wallan East ground during intervening years in Association matches (1915-1926), it was not until 1933 season that another truly Wallan East based football team was to reform.
With the final and inevitable demise of the local football Association after the 1926 season, for the next four years (1927-1930) a combined Darraweit Guim/Wallan team had played with some success in the Bourke-Evelyn Association under the name of Midland Rovers. This competition involved more travelling for the new Wallan based team, to which the locals had previously been used to. Whilst the results of most of their matches played is recorded, further research is required as to where it played its home games. It appears the club may have played its home games in 1927, 1929 and 1930 at a ground next to the former Inverlochy Hotel (certainly some games were played there). What is known is that in 1928 the club divided its matches between the Wallan East Railway Reserve and the Wallan Recreation Reserve (which by this time was also being referred to as the Green Hill Reserve – nowadays Greenhill being condensed to the single word). Midland Rovers won 6 of its 7 home matches in 1928 (the precise venue of 4 of these games today being known), that included winnings both known games played at Wallan East a 29 pts win against South Morang followed be a 28 pts win the very next weekend against Thomastown. This club in its four season existence was to play in both the 1927* and 1928 Final, losing both games, the former by only 2 pts against Whittlesea 6-1 to 5-9 and in the following being emphatically beaten by Epping 5-5 to 17-12 ( playing many a game on the Wallan East ground. After this club did not reform for 1931 season there was no football at all in Wallan for the next two seasons.
Controversy reigned after the 1927 Final as Epping still had a as yet unheard protest to be heard by an Independent Tribunal from their Semi-final loss to Midland Rovers.
* the match was protested but the case was dismissed, however Epping later successfully protested the result of the Semi-Final loss against Midland Rovers. The Hearing was finally heard some four days after the Final had been played, with Epping claiming that the opposition had included an ineligible player in their team. No further details are available as to weather the protest was successful or not, but Epping still had the Right to Challenge (they being the minor premier team), so a Grand Challenge Final was played and they went on to defeat Whittlesea. Whittlesea that then protested on the grounds that two Epping men were playing were ineligible according to the rules. Whittlesea, without occupying much time at the hearing, withdrew both charges. The tribunal ordered the £2 2/- lodged with the protest to be forfeited, and Epping were then declared the premier team.
A poor 1929 season was followed by Midland Rovers being eliminated in the 1930 Semi-finals.
The Midland Rovers did not reform in 1931, but meanwhile representatives of Seymour, Broadford, Tallarook, Wandong (themselves members and Semi-Finalists of the Bourke Evelyn Association in 1927 and 1928), Pyalong and the Kilmore football club formed a new Association now embracing a larger much area than its preceding District Competition up until 1926 season. Whilst Pyalong were to withdraw just prior to the seasons commencement the new competition called the Hume Highway Football Association (which was fondly remembered for years but many after its final demise) came into existence. A very well organised and supported, surviving until just after the second World War, when it too could not avoid became a ‘victim’ of the even larger Associations/Leagues that surrounded the District.
Local team Donnybrook played which had also been playing in the Bourke-Evelyn Association, remained there for 1931 season, after which even this large Association had to merge with the Panton Hill Football Association to form the Panton Hill & District Football League.
There is no surviving record of why Midland Rovers Rovers did not reform, after having made the Semi-finals the previous season – however neither Wallan or Darraweit could raise a single team/club for the new Assocaition.
So FINALLY fast forwarding from the aborted effort in forming a football team at Wallan East after a single match was played, and then the Midland Rovers having played some matches in 1928 at the Railway Reserve t – in 1933 a combined Wallan, Darraweit Guim and Wallan East team was formed, and played all its home games at Wallan East. The team went by the name o–f the Wallan East & District FC and adopted the colours of black with a yellow sash (ie Richmond FC colours).
1933 Final ladder –
Wallan East & District
Broadford Independents (Juniors)
Winning their semi-final match against third placed Seymour Juniors 8-22 to 5-17 Wallan East & District went straight into the Final where they played the Broadford Independents who had defeated Tallarook 10-17 to 9-15 in their Semi-Final . Wallan East were however defeated in the final by 23 pts, scores – 3-8 to 6-13 but because they had finished as minor premiers – as was still the rule at this time, the top team if defeated had the Right to Challenge (ie a second chance).
With minor premiers Wallan East & District exercising their Right to Challenge a Grand Challenge Final was played the following weekend– but the Independents were again too good, this time winning by 43 pts, scores 3-14 to 11-9 to now claim the premiership outright.
NB: teams with Juniors or Cubs after their names were a Seconds team from that town, ie Kilmore (1933) and Seymour (up until 1939) their First teams playing in the Waranga North-East Assocociation. The Broadford Independents similarly were a Second team – however they also had their own identity as they had also formed their own club. Second teams post 1939 were identified clearly as Second teams.
In 1934 Wallan East & District persuaded champion Darraweit Guim and strongman Joe Johnston out of retirement. He had not played since 1926 season, retiring in his mid 20s after having played in the Romsey 1921 premiership, Darraweit Guim premierships of 1924 and 1925, and having captained the latter in 1920 and 1924 to 1926 seasons. A no drinker he was a fair but tough player he would not take a backward step on the ground. However it took some persuading to get Joe to don the black and red colours – he hated Wallan with a passion on the football and cricket fields, and it was only when he was convinced that it wasn’t really a Wallan side that he relented (he later went on after 1934 season to play and captain his Darraweit Guim team again between 1935 and 1948). In 1921 and 1922 with no local competition he went and played at Romsey where the future Carlton champion Alec Duncan was discovered in 1921, with other players also attracting League and Association interest. The following season Joe himself was playing some dominating for Romsey and on the back of that was by reigning premier club in Richmond, to play in a VFL split round fixture on a Monday Public Holiday* however he was unable to take his place in the team – due to an injury he received in a match while playing for Romsey against Lancefield on the Saturday. Despite catching a train to Melbourne on the Saturday night to obtain treatment his injury did not heal it time. He was never selected by the Richmond senior team again.
* this would have been the Monday 5 June 1922 match aginst Essendon at Punt Rd n which Ricmond were defeated 7-12 to 9-10 with a crowd of 40,000 present.
However following season the Richmond club however were still obviously still keen to obtain his services, as follows-
Once again in 1934 the Wallan East & District team again finished the home and away matches as minor premiers.
1934 Final Ladder –
Wallan East & District
Wallan East after winning their semi-final match against Tallarook, they later played the reigning premiers Broadford Independents (who had only finished the season in 4th place) in the Final. The Independents had defeated Wandong in their Semi-final and this was the last game ever played by the Wandong FC, which has been in permanent recess since that time. The Final was played at Tallarook and this time no Challenge Final was required as the Wallan East & District team won the match and the premiership by 23 pts, scores 9-19 to 7-8 – in what was one of the roughest and bloodiest finals ever played in the District. Seventeen (17) Independent players were reported (one of whom received a 4 year suspension for threatening the umpire, another 12 months for kicking and fighting) whilst only one Wallan East & District player in strongman Joe Johnston from Darraweit who had retaliated was reported (he was stood down for the first two weeks of the following season). The Broadford team generally was reprimanded by the tribunal for riotous conduct and the club was also ordered to give up possession of the ball used in the match or to pay the cost.
NB the only Independents player not reported was Tom McMahon, and he was later awarded his clubs Best & Fairest award………!
At the time no one would have known but the 1934 Final was to be the last match ever played by the Wallan East & District team.
To help celebrate their 1934 premiership success Mr and Mrs H Thomas hosted a smoke night.
Also in 1934 saw the passing of Thomas Hunt owner and Editor of the Kilmore Free Press a paper he founded in 1865. Such was his dislike of football for which he had no time, that in the last couple of years of his life he declined to publish reports in his paper – which has made finding results of many football games played locally in this period (1932 to 1934) very challenging and records are vastly incomplete.
The Wallan East & District 1934 premiership flag only says Wallan East. Possibly there was insufficient room for all the ‘additional lettering’, or maybe the HHFA did not have the flag made until early in 1935, by which time the new Wallan East club had been formed ? Despite the clubs official name during 1933 and 1934 season including & District, everyone including the local Press, printed fixtures etc simply referred to the club as Wallan East……….so that was what was printed on the flag………………..!
In the short two years of the Wallan East & District FC existence it never lost a single home game at the Railway Ground, and in its very first season they were minor premiers of the Hume Highway Association. So in effect between 1914 and 1934 no home team ever lost a match at played Wallan East……..!
In 1935 the Darraweit Guim FC had reformed (after an absence of 8 years) and they also entered its team into the Hume Highway Association . This meant the reigning premiers WE&DFC now had to dissolve their club – as Darraweit had been a part of its ‘Constitution’. A new club was then formed and simply called Wallan East FC (still playing in the Black with a yellow sash of their predecessors) and were like Richmond also nicknamed the Tigers. Though in many ways per Press reports the Wallan East club continued on as though no new club had been formed..!
The new Wallan East FC began the season with a credit balance of £10 carried over from the former club. Office bearers for the season were –
|President –||H Thomas|
|Vice-Presidents||NL McDonald, E Cabey, JE Young and L Creusot|
|Secretary –||GH Hilton|
|Treasurer –||E Wilson|
|Assistant Secretary –||T O’Brien|
The season commenced with a Charity practise match at Kilmore (billed as the Annual Match) raising money for the local Hospital. Wallan (no East…!) were defeated 6-6- to 13-13. Further Charity matches are recorded in 1936 and 1937 with only the latter begin played at Wallan East with the Kilmore side being way to strong on each of these occasions
Over the next 5 seasons (1935-1939) Wallan East made the finals on every occasion, being Runners – Up twice and being eliminated in the Preliminary Final twice and were Semi-Finalists once.
On occasions throughout this period Wallan East FC were occasionally referred to merely as Wallan.
The Sporting Globes reported on 30 May 1935 that _ Hughes from South Wallan was evidently the goods and had been played in employment by the St. Kilda club. There is no record though of this Hughes player having made the grade even in their Seconds team.
In the 1935 HHFA Association Best and Fairest Award Wallan East captain won the Players Cup on a countback –
|Tom O’Brien||Wallan East||3,3,3,1||= 10||Won on Countback|
|J Lobb||Donnybrook||3,3,2,2||= 10|
|Joe johnston||Darraweit Guim||= 8|
Whilst in the Wallan East FC Best & Fairest (voted on by the public) the award was won by Roy Johnson on 60 votes ahead of Tom O’Brien 35 votes, and he received a gold medal donated by Mr L Creusot.
The new Wallan East FC began its season in fine early season beating the newly reformed Darraweit Guim tea, as follows –
In the reverse meeting at Darraweit in July Wallan East were annihilated 2-7 to 15-13 by a much improved Darraweit Guim team. The highlight from a spectators points of view being the ‘merriment they got when a frightened horse bolted across the arena, scattering players in all directions’.
Wallan East maintained the record of their predecessors by being undefeated at the Railways Reserve all season.
Euchre Parties (tournaments) and Dances were popular features of fund raising done by the Wallan East FC in this period, with Mr & Mrs H Thomas of the Railway Hotel frequently hosting the nights. Mrs Chamberlain, Mrs Little and Mr Burns were players who were often amongst the prizes on offer, with Miss Alice on piano often providing the musical entertainment.
In May 1936 a permit was acquired for JT Tyrrell from the Newell FC
The Seymour Juniors inflicted the Wallan East teams first ever defeat at the Railway Reserve on 21 June 1936, with a 3 pts win. Scores 8-10 to 8-13. This ended a home run winning sequence of nearly 4 years which amounted to at least 18 wins consecutive wins on the Railway Reserve.
Back – Jack Butler, Ted Little, Ben Hadfield, Comedy King, unknown, unknown, Bob Dillon, W Bretherton,
P Poulter, L Ramage, Scott Lincard, W O.Brien
Middle (tom or Terry Hare ?), Terry Young, Bert Boyd, Bill Kelly (capt), Joe Tirrell, Keith Hansen, Allan Young
Front – F Catanach, Reg McDougall, Bill Forbes. Dave Franklin
NB – one of the two unknown players in the WEFC 1936 photo is likely Jack Dayton ?
The 1936 Wallan East Creusot medal for the Best & Fairest player was won by W O’Brien. L Creusot was a supporter and club Delegate representing the Wallan East club in this period. He was ofter referred to to as the Chairman as football club functions ie the MC…..
Finishing the 1937 season in second place, they lost their Semi-Final against Broadford Independents, and then defeated Tallarook in the Preliminary-Final 10-9 to 9- 2. They were then defeated in the Grand Final by minor premiers Broadford Independents by 36 pts after fading badly in the final quarter. Scores 9-10 15-10. The match was recorded as a rugged affair and though defeated Wallan East had the three best players afield in Sorraghan (Centre), T O’Brien (whose brilliant marking was a feature at CHF, also kicking 3 goals) and Young (at CHB).
KFP Thurs 19 Aug 1937
The following season (1938) Wallan East this time were the minor premiers, in a season of much confusion. In 1938 the HHFA who played under VFA rules had to adopt a series of new rules that the VFA had implemented, including changes in the rules regarding throwing the ball/ flick pass, holding the ball, boundary throw ins, various free kick rules and the introduction of the 15 yard penalty. The first two rules in particular caused much confusion in its precise interpretation during the HHFA amongst players, umpires and of course the spectators……….
The Kilmore First team left the Waranga North–East Association and came into the HHFA for 1938 season
Wallan East in 1938 also recruited Mick Deayton, (formerly of Burnie FC, Tasmania) on permit from Essendon in June. After playing with the strong Burnie team in the Tasmanian North-West Union Competition for some time in early 1937 signed with Esssendon, and was impressive in his early practise games with his power and incredible speed – however he had to wait to complete his residential qualification. Once the paperwork was sorted and permit approved was then selected in the Essendon second team (Reserves), as well as being loaned to the Essendon Town VFA side (where many Essendon Seconds players played). Again in 1938 he started well in the Essendon early season practice games, but received a nasty blow to the jaw in April – and did not make the final Essendon training list, finally being released by the club in June 1938. He made an immediate impact with Wallan East on arrival in June, kicking 6 goals (from seven shots, the other being a poster) of their total of 9 goals for the day against Darraweit Guim. All his shots being from between 50 to 65 yards out from goal.
In 1938 the Wallan Ease FC finished as minor premiers for the first and only ever time. The final ladder was as follows –
In their Semi-Final they played third placed Kilmore and won by the slender margin of 4 pts, scores 11-9- to 11-7. Third placed Kilmore defeated Tallarook in the other Semi-Final by 7pts and in a high scoring Preliminary-final Kilmore defeated the Seymour Juniors 20-17 to 17-12.
In an intriguing the 1938 Grand–Final played at Broadford, Wallan East were ahead of Kilmore by 4 pts at quarter-time, while it was all even at half-time, and they were ahead again by 4pts at three-quarter time, however they were ultimately upset and defeated by the slender margin of 8 pts, scores 9-12 to 10-14. Gate receipts were £19/7/- before a crowd of 397 paying spectators. In reversing the result of Kilmore’s last two engagements against Wallan East during the season, they recorded their Clubs first premiership since 1920 season (when they had defeated Darraweit Guim) which was won in the final season of the old Central Mernd Association.
1938 Grand Final – Kilmore won their first premiership since 1920 (incorrectly reported on in the Press as 1919) when they narrowly defeated Wallan East in and interesting with a record crowd present (Gate takings of £19/17/-, equating to 397 spectators paying for admission) at Broadford.
In an edited report from the KFP Thurs 22 Sept 1938 on the Grand Final
First Quarter – Wallan East were first to attack, after receiving two free kicks in succession and scored the first point of the game. From the kick off Kilmore cleared at put Wallan East on the defensive and Kilmore from a free in front scored full points for Kilmore. From the bounce, Wallan attacked and scored two behinds. Kilmore then unable to clear and Wallan East received a free in front and scored their first goal. In the centre again, and from a free Kilmore free, sent the ball, but a free to Hansen held up the rush and the game was then played around the centre for some time, until Kilmore goaled again. With free kicks appearing to be the order of the day as all points scored up to this time had come from this source. Wallan East pressed strongly and succeeded in scoring two minors. From the kick off, Kilmore then sent the ball straight up the ground and they scored their third goal. On the bounce this time Wallan East sent the ball forward but Daly missed an easy goal with the ball going out of bounds. From the free kick in Kilmore again sent the ball up the ground and goaled, followed by another behind. Wallan East cleared, and after a good rally, Daly scored full points, and an even quarter ended with the scores Wallan East 3-5 Kilmore 3-1
Second Quarter – on resuming, Kilmore immediately attacked and goaled followed by a behind and then another goal after a bad kick off by the Wallan East full-back. Rallying from a succession of free kicks Wallan East scored behind from a snap shot, another behind and then a goal, before Kilmore replied with a goal of their own. Wallan East then now attacked strongly, and after hard play they broke through to score a goal. Kilmore attacked again but the ball was cleared, before a further attack saw a point registered. The honours were still even when the half time bell rand with the scores Wallan East 5-9 to Kilmore 6-3.
Third Quarter – found Kilmore forcing the pace but it was some time before they managed to break through for a behind. Wallan East cleared ‘and forced the game to their end and raised the two flags. With Kilmore then attacking from a mark they scored a behind, followed by a goal. Wallan East again fought back and Daly scored a goal. Kilmore then registered another behind, with the quarter ending with Wallan East in attack holding on to a slender 40 pts lead. Scores Wallan East 7-10 to Kilmore 7-6.
Final Quarter – opened with play at a very fast pace and Wallan East were first to score, with a behind. However from this point on Kilmore dominated the play for most of a the term. Kilmore registered a behind, then a goal followed by another behind. Wallan East just could not get away, a Kilmore shot then hit the post. From the kick off, a free kick received enabled Kilmore to goal. A Wallan East attack and a resulting free saw them goal, and attacked again they scored a behind. Kilmore cleared, and soon registered a behind of their own from a snap shot, another behind followed. The game then went out to the wing, but Kilmore gathered the ball and marked followed by another goal. Wallan East made a determined effort to equalise and a mark by Bretherton in front gave them a goal. From the centre, Kilmore forced the game and after a good deal of hard play, they were able to snap a single, and a good clean game ended with Kilmore victorious by 8 points. Final Scores Wallan East 9-12 to Kilmore 10-14.
Two more recruits at Wallan East in 1939 were A Gorfine (Port Melbourne) and J Green (Brighton). Gorfine in particular was a key addition to the team.
17 June 1939 (Rd 5) the match of the round between the top two sides was played in very muddy conditions at the Railway Reserve, Wallan East took to the field with the following players for their match against Kilmore (who were depleted in their playing ranks with several players being out either injured or sick) –
|BACKS –||O Laffan||Tannock||B Dillon|
|HALF BACKS –||Chalker||A Young||T Young|
|CENTRES –||A Gorfine||E Bowers||Kerr|
|HALF FORWARDS –||K Hanson||P Poulter||Marshall (apt)|
|FORWARDS –||J James||Daly||J Green(e)|
|ROVERS –||A Wentworth|
In a disappointing end to the day the final scores were Wallan East 3-12 lost to Kilmore 8-13
The old Wallan East Railway Ground before WWII had been regarded as one of the finest in the HHFA for several seasons and this is reflective in that several HHFA final matches and representative HHFA matches were played there in this period.
After the 1939 season Tallarook, Donnybrook, Seymour Juniors and the Broadford Independents withdrew, and with other Associations not reforming because of the Second World War, the following in Broadford (seniors), Seymour (seniors), Romsey Seconds and Lancefield Seconds were duly admitted into the HHFA for the 1940 season – with the reformed Wallan team eventually combining with Donnybrook (though the Press referred to them as just Wallan throughout the season).
So it was only in 1940 and 1946 seasons that the two Wallan townships ever had two separate clubs playing in the same Association at the same time. Once again in 1947 and 1948 Wallan also had two separate clubs, however they were by then playing in different Associations. Finally in 1950 (and possibly 1951) Wallan again had two teams, but once again they were playing in different Associations.
The Wallan East team appear to have been a late inclusion for the 1940 season – per available press reports
In 1940 the Wallan township team was reformed for the for first time in 14 years (as Wallan Wallan), which meant that the immediate Wallan district was to have two teams entered in a local competition for the first time ever. Way back in 1914 a newly formed club in Wallan East had entered the local Midlands Association alongside Wallan Wallan. However the Wallan East team disbanded after just the one practise match, as it was clearly evident Wallan Wallan could not support two clubs. The township club reformed in its own right as the Wallan Wallan FC. Neigbouring club Donnybrook also established that their team would struggle to obtain sufficent players for the upcoming season. The solution was that the new Wallan Wallan club approached Donnybrook to see if they might consider forming a Combined team for the 1940 season – thus a Combined Wallan/Donnybrook (though reported by the press as just Wallan) was formed.
Some of the ‘new names’ to appear in this Combined team included Lobb, Rowe, Burt, James, Davern, Wegman and Simpson.
Wallan East in April 1940 reported that several of its players were unavailable for this season but that they had a host of new recruits. However the impact of having a second club was felt almost immediately, and Wallan East were somewhat competitive on the field, they plain were struggled to find sufficient numbers to make up a full team. In their first five matches they were defeated by 43 pts, 62 pts, 15 pts, 50 pts and 39 pts (with Kilmore’s 12-13 being the highest score recorded against them in the seasons opening round). The club then forfeited their next match, before they were finally forced to concede and they had to disband in round 7. Thereafter the remaining seven HHFA clubs were awarded four premiership points for each bye. Indeed the towns just could not support the two local teams, particularly in the present climate of another World War……..
The final match had been played against their close neighbour’s (Combined Wallan /Donnybrook team), in match that was looked forward to with eager anticipation. With a strong wind blowing at the Railway Ground, Wallan took full advantage of winning the toss and kicked 6-7 to nil in the first quarter. Overall Wallan East out scored their neighbours in the remaining three quarters but could not bridge the huge first quarter deficit. Final scores 3-10 to 8-19. Best for Wallan East – Nelson, Delahunty, Kerr, Tannock and Allen. Goals – Kerr, Daly and Delahunty.
Their final match being against their neighbours, in match that was looked forward to with eager anticipation. With a strong wind blowing at the Railway Ground, Wallan took full advantage of winning the toss and kicked 6-7 to nil in the first quarter. Overall Wallan East out scored their neighbours in the remaining three quarters but could not bridge the huge first quarter deficit. Final scores 3-10 to 8-19. Best for Wallan East – Nelson, Delahunty, Kerr, Tannock and Allen. Goals – Kerr, Daly and Delahunty.
Unable to take the field the following weekend against Broadford (despite Broadford having rested several of their better players), Wallan East finally advised the HHFA of their decision to withdraw the following week.
Wallan East player Keith Hansen a 6 foot CHF was reported in the ARGUS (30 March 1940) to be training and playing well with the Essendon club, and then played in a early April intra club practice match – thereafter his name appears no more as Essendon.
Another Wallan East player the solidly built rover Jack Sorraghan with an excellent reputation obtained a permit to play in trail games with Brunswick in March 1940. After a practise match against Preston however he did not make the final player cut. Then his name disappears at this level (five years later there was a Sorraghan playing at Yarravile, but it is not known if it is the same player).
Both Hansen and Sorraghan returned and played the 1940 season with the Combined Wallan(Donnybrook) team.
In a relatively even competition the Wallan/Donnybrook aided by an influx of former Wallan East players finished third, but were immediately eliminated by the eventual premiers Kilmore (who had finished fourth) 12-14 to 13-17 in the Semi-Final at Broadford.
Wallan East player Keith Hansen a 6 foot CHF was reported in the ARGUS (30 March 1940) to be training and playing well with the Essendon club, and then played in a early April intra club practise match – thereafter his name appears no more in the Essendon records.
Another Wallan East player the solidly built rover Jack Sorraghan with an excellent reputation obtained a permit to play in trail games with Brunswick in March 1940. After a practise match against Preston however he did not make the final player cut. Then his name disappears at this level (five years later there was a Sorraghan playing at Yarraville, but it is not known if it is the same player).
Both Hansen and Sorraghan returned and played the 1940 season with the Combined Wallan(Donnybrook) team.
Back Row – Ben Hadfield, Lloyd McDonald, Don Mountjoy, Roy Harvey, Percy Poulter, J Simpson,
Keith Hanson, Les Vincent, Bazil Henderson, Jack Butler, Alex Pekin
Middle Row – ________, Dave Franklin, Jack Burt, Jim James, Joe Lobb, J Sorraghan, A Burrows
Front Row – ________, Tom Rowe, Eddie Williams, Owen Laffan
(another player in this period was Keith Rhodes)
In a relatively even competition the Wallan/Donnybrook aided by an influx of former Wallan East players finished third, but were immediately eliminated by the eventual premiers Kilmore (who had finished fourth) 12-14 to 13-17 in the Semi-Final at Broadford.
The Wallan township, sometimes Combined with other teams played periodic matches throughout the war while the HHFA was suspended between 1941-1944, all on a social level and often to raise monies for the Red Cross and war effort.
Wallan East FC (reformed 1945-1948)
The Wallan East FC reformed in 1945 and then played in the final two seasons of the HHFA (before that Association finally was disbanded). The club had struggled in 1945 finishing 6th and 1946 finished in 7th (last) place – recording just the one win in 12 matches in the latter season (with at least one match having being forfeited due to a lack of players……..and after having enduring a second last round drubbing of 2-4 to 27-27 against Broadford, they then won their only match of the season against Tallarook 5-4 to 3-7 in the final round. Four extra points in 1946 season had earlier been denied Wallan East after they had protested the result of their match against Wallan played on 30 June, in that Wallan had played a Wallan East man whose registration was not in order (in that he was registered with Wallan east and had not obtained a clearance). The Tribunal though had no option but to dismiss that case as per Rule 21 the Secretary of the club protesting must notify the offending club no later than the Thursday following the match – as this condition had not been complied with. After their earlier season match with Kilmore in which Wallan East only registered 3 behinds all day the Press recorded that ‘Wallan East continue to fulfil their obligations in the circumstances that has earned the admiration of their opponents’ – thus possibly implying possible player shortages yet again……?
It had clearly had not helped in that the Wallan FC reformed again in 1946 – though the Wallan team had a successful season finishing 3rd and then only narrowly lost a very high scoring Preliminary-final against Kilmore by only 7 pts, scores 21-21 to 19-26 – with the Kilmore gun full-forward Jock Wicking kicking 10 goals (after also having kicked 13 goals against Wallan back in July……). Wallan appeared to have this match won in the last quarter before Kilmore rallied and prevailed – the umpire was recorded as having ‘a lack of control and the match degenerated into nothing less than a scramble. Whilst impartial, his decisions often being two kicks behind the play and far too slow with the whistle. It was a credit to both teams that no incident occurred’
|1||J Tannock||9||M Waldron||17||B Congram|
|2||A Browne||10||G Morley||18||E Roach|
|3||D McCarthy||11||A Draper||19||K Walsh|
|4||D Allen||12||L Noonan||20||J Chamberlain|
|5||E Wilson||13||J Thornton||21||Ralph Waldron|
|6||A Ramage||14||A Cleve||22||G Edwards|
|7||D Ramage||15||K Cleve||23||Len Ramage|
|8||T Waldron||16||K Agnew|
The Wallan East Football Club then played two disappointing seasons (1947 and 1948) in the Panton Hill & District Football Association (having adopted black and white stripes – as another side were already wearing ‘their’ black and yellow guernsey) failing to make the finals on each occasion. Meanwhile the Wallan club was also struggling to find any regular on field success in the RDFL and were taking some ‘big thumpings of the scoreboard’ on occasions.
|1||J Tannock||10||W Tannock||19||B Trosin|
|2||A Brown||11||O Schiele||20||G Earl|
|3||D McCarthy||12||C Ward||21||Ian Scott|
|4||D Allen||13||B Allen||22||J Chamberlain|
|5||M Waldron||14||K Cleve||23||R Waldron|
|6||F Peel||15||B Congram||24||B Scott|
|7||D Peel||16||A Draper||25||D Ramage|
|8||R Lowe||17||G Morley|
|9||R Waldron||18||J Thornton|
|1||J Tannock||11||Wal Tannock||21||Shorty Yorsten|
|2||A Browne||12||Owen Schiele||22||Gay Leopold|
|3||D McCarthy||13||Clarrie Ward||23||Jack Harper|
|4||D Allen||14||Bob Allen||24||Ian Scott|
|5||Les Hedges||15||A Cleve||25||Tom O’Brien|
|6||Tom Flynn||16||B Congram||26||R Bunting|
|7||Jack Carroll||17||A Draper||27||L Kiton|
|8||Bill Parker||18||G Morley||28||Bluey Hayes|
|9||Mat Waldron||19||J Thornton||29||Ralph Waldron|
|10||Tom Waldron||20||B Tosin||30||Dec ‘Darkie’ Connal|
Wallan Wallan FC & Wallan East FC
combine to form the
Wallan United FC – 1949
The two Wallan clubs once again knew that ‘something had to give’ and the clubs met in early March 1949 to acknowledge that their towns could no longer support two clubs…………..
The inevitable happened and the two clubs joined together, and a new team called Wallan United FC came into being.
The Darraweit club who had hoped to still have sufficient players to continue in the RDFL in 1949 were a late withdrawal before the RDFL season actually commenced proper – so many of the Darraweit Guim players and supporters now with no where ‘to go’ chose to join forces with the new Wallan United FC (the Darraweit club not strictly speaking being a formation club – despite what has been written since by some footballing historians…….). As to the United team regular home ground in 1949 (that I do not know), possibly they favoured the former Wallan Park, now named the Greenhill Reserve Ground, or maybe they both shared grounds ……….?
Still in March of 1949 and with Darraweit Guim yet to have officially withdrawn the only alteration to the RDFL draw at that time was for the Association to accept Wallan being renamed as Wallan United, and this was accepted unanimously by the Leagues Delegates (having accepted that the Wallan and Wallan East had combined). If only the League Delegates had of known of the Darraweit club pending withdrawal, maybe the RDFL would have favoured just a eight team competition thus removing the bye, and possibly have ousted Wallan altogether………! Indeed some 37 season previous, the old Wallan Wallan club had indeed been left on the outer by the Dalhousie Football Association, but that is another story.
In a fairy-tale like start, the new Wallan United began the 1949 season in fine fashion. Firstly they defeated the previous seasons runners-up in Kilmore and the following week had possibly an even more meritorious win over Sunbury to have the new Wallan Combined team sitting in second position on the ladder. The season there after slowly began to fall away – with one of their key players in Jim Breen (a former Bowen medal runner-up with the Darraweit Guim FC) being badly injured early into the season not helping the cause. Only two more wins were recorded for the remainder of the season.
|1||Jack Tannock||9||Ron Bunting||17||Bill Parker|
|2||Cec Williamson||10||Reg Bedgood||18||Jimmy Breen|
|3||Alan Browne||11||Maurie Condon||19||Bob Balsen|
|4||D ‘Bill’ McCarthy||12||Frank Mooney||20||Bob Allen|
|5||Own Schiele||13||Ken Cleve||21||Jack Harper|
|6||Alex ‘Mate’ Waldron||14||Gordon Cleve||22||Tom Flynn|
|7||Jack Carroll||15||Ted Gadsen||23||Les Hedges|
|8||Tom Waldron||16||Jim Thom||24||Col Collins|
Wallan East FC reforms (1950-1951?)
The United union was only to last the one season, as in 1950 Wallan East FC decided to reform and break away and once again they rejoined the PH&DFA – here they played the one more (or possibly two) season/s without success before the Wallan East FC finally disbanded and the club has been in permanent recess ever since that time. One of the last references to the Wallan East FC in the local KFP is the advertising of the clubs dance to he held on 3 June 1950.
Unfortunately the PH&DA was poorly reported on in the press in both the 1950 and 1951 seasons.
19 May 1950 The Riddell District Football League heard appeals by R Bunting, J Beacon and D Ramage against Wallan’United FC refusal to grant them clearances to the Wallan East FC (Panton Hills & District Association). The Tribunal decided to dismiss the appeals (after hearing statements by the players and the Wallan United FC which was represented by Mr J Butler, believing that the players had an obligation to Wallan United, and in the best interests of RDFL.
At Wallan, rather than disband and have to form a new club they continued in 1950 in the RDFL retaining the Wallan United name. In 1954 they joined the PH&DFA and it was only when they again returned to the RDFL in 1965 that the United name was finally offically dropped, with a new constitution being drawn up – thus technically yet another new Wallan FC was formed……………
So in short that is the story a short period in time when Wallan East was a hustle and hustle of a place on and off the football field, with the busy Railway Hotel ever supportive of its football club. Many a railway employee along with the other young local men and their supporters eagerly awaited the arrival of each Saturday afternoon throughout the long winter months,and the renowned post match gatherings that frequently wound up the day. The club had generated much to look forward to in the HHFA with their formation, talented players and above moderate success. The players and supporters owing much to a very strong and dedicated administration throughout the Depression years, and likewise the club would have wanted to continue that way after the Second World War. Alas it was thereafter an ongoing battle to secure sufficient players each week, particularly with fewer and fewer railways workers now living nearby to draw upon. The curtain was drawn for the final time at the Wallan East FC after either the 1950 or 1951 season.
Some 70 years nearly have since passed, and likely few folk today if any, survive who can readily recall those long since past glory days at Wallan East when for a short period of time they could boast that they were the best football team in the District.
The Wallan East Sports Reserve (also recorded as the Railway Reserve, and on occasions in the ‘early’ years by the ‘current’ owner of the paddocks surname) survived for nearly 100 years, with the Wallan East Cricket Club continuing to play there well into the late 1960s. At which point the ground was relocated (to a slightly different location) when it was moved to the southern end of the township – at the T intersection of the turnoff into Wallan East on the NW corner. The long established Wallan East CC (with occasional recesses) survive until the end of the 1971/72 season – they too had their glory years when they were ‘top of the tree’ (winning at least three cricket premierships), but that again is another story…………
Wallan East & District
Wallan United (1949)
and Wallan East FC
Guernsey/ Club Colours –
|. 1914||Unknown||Wallan East FC||Midlands Association (withdrew pre season)|
|1933 to 1934||Black with Yellow Sash||Wallan East & District FC||Hume Highway Football Association|
|1935 to 1939||Black with Yellow Sash||Wallan East FC||Hume Highway Football Association|
|. 1940||Black with Yellow Sash||Black with Yellow Sash||Hume Highway Football Association (disbanded – withdrew after Rd 7)|
|1941 to 1945||War Years (no team)||–||–|
|1945 to 1946||possibly Black with Yellow Sash ?||Wallan East FC||Hume Highway Football Association|
|1947 to 1948||Green with Gold ‘V’||Wallan East FC||Panton Hills & District Football Association|
|. 1949||Black & White Stripes||Wallan United FC||Riddell District Football League|
|. 1950||Green with Gold ‘V’||Wallan East FC||Panton Hills & District Football Association|
|. 1951 ?||Green with Gold ‘V’||Wallan East FC||Panton Hills & District Football Association|
|Premiers –||1934||as Wallan East & District|
|Minor Premiers –||1933||as Wallan East & District|
|1934||as Wallan East & District|
|1938||as Wallan East|
|Runners-Up –||1933||as Wallan East & District|
|1937||as Wallan East|
|1938||as Wallan East|
|HHFA Best and Fairest Award (Players Cup)||1935||Tom O’Brien||Wallan East|
|HHFA Best & Fairest Player (match ball suitably inscribed)||1938||G Marshall||Wallan East||S-F vs Seymour Juniors|
|Club Best & Fairest (Creusot Medal)||1935||Roy Johnson||Wallan East|
|1936||WP Kelly||Wallan East|
|Best & Fairest||1948||Bill Blair||Full Back/Back Pocket|
|1933||Runners- Up *||E Wilson||T Heath / J Stockdale|
|1934||Premiers||R Stockdale ?||T Heath||W & T O’Brien (joint)||–||E Wilson|
|1935||Semi-Final||T O’Brien||H Thomas||NL McDonald||T O’Brien||E Wilson|
|1936||Preliminary Final||WP Kelly||H Thomas||C King||–||G Hilton|
|1937||Runners-Up||T O’Brien||H Thomas||T O’Brien||F Cabey||G Hilton|
|1938||Runners-Up *||G Marshall||FJ Allen||L Daly||G Hilton|
|1939||2nd (Prel. Final)||G Marshall||E Cabey||C Anderson||L Daly||G Hilton|
|1945||6th (last)||(JF Butler HHFA President)|
|1946||7th (last)||poss J Tannock ?||DF McCarthy||E Stute|
|1947||Not in Finals||poss J Tannock ?||DF McCarthy||DF Allen|
|1948||Not in Finals||J Tannock||AE Draper||O Schiele|
|1949||8th (last)||J Breen (until injured) &||T Renwick||WF Parker|
|1950||Not in Finals||poss J Tannock ?||R Bunting||D Allen|
|1951 ?||not known if WEFC reformed|
* = donates were Minor Premiers ** both captained the side (Cec Williamson was the Vice-Captain)
|1933||inc. JE Young|
|1934||inc JE Young, H Thomas|
|1935||JE Young, NL McDonald E Cabey, L Creusot|
|1936||JF Butler, L Creusot|
|1937||D King, JF Butler, E Cabey||JF Butler, GW Green|
|1938||JF Butler, H Thomas, D King||JF Butler, L Creusot|
|1939||JF Butler, J Tannock, JA Laffan, D King||JF Butler, D Franklin|
|1940||poss inc JF Butler and H Thomas ?|
|1946||(JF Butler elected a HHFA Vice-President)|
|1949||JF Butler. K Cleve|
|1951||not known if WEFC reformed ?|
In 1940 the Office Bearers at the reformed Wallan Wallan (Donnybrook) FC were –
President – JF Butler (previously at Wallan East)
Vice Presidents – Cr J Laffan, Cr _ Cameron, _ Nelson, _ Stockdale
Joint Secretaries & Treasurers – Percy Poulter & Lloyd MacDonald
Delegates – Owen Laffan & J James
known Trainers – Ned Cabey in 1933 ?, G Hilton 1936,1937 & 1938 seasons (and likely others)
known Wooden Spoons (3) – 1940 (after disbanding mid-season), 1945, 1946
Several as yet unidentified early photographs survive of other football teams, purportedly from Wallan. Below is one such unidentified example,that has been contributed. This team appear to be wearing the black and yellow guernseys that were reflective of the Wallan East strips until the end of 1946 season. However for now this picture remains mystery.
|Top 4 teams in seasons when a football team was formed at Wallan East –|
|Season||No. of Teams||Premiers||Runners-Up||Third||Fourth|
|1914||4||Wallan Wallan (no final)||Kilmore Juniors||Darraweit Guim||Wandong|
|1933||7||Broadford Indep.||Wallan East & Dist.(m/p)||Seymour Juniors||Tallarook|
|1934||6||Wallan East & District (m/p)||Broadford Independents||Tallarook||Wandong|
|1935||6||Seymour Juniors (m/p)||Darraweit Guim||Donnybrook||Wallan East|
|1936||6||Darraweit Guim (m/p)||Broadford Independents||Wallan East||Tallarook|
|1937||6||Broadford Independents (m/p)||Wallan East||Tallarook||Darraweit Guim|
|1938||7||Kilmore||Wallan East (m/p)||Seymour Juniors||Tallarook|
|1939||7||Kilmore (m/p)||Tallarook||Wallan East||Darraweit Guim|
|1940||8||Kilmore||Broadford||Darraweit Guim (m/p)||Wallan/Donnybrook (Combined)|
|1946||7||Broadford (m/p)||Kilmore||Wallan||Darraweit Guim|
m/p = donates Minor Premiers
Results of matches played Wallan East FC (1914, 1935 to 1940, 1945 to 1948, 1950 & possibly 1951 ?
(a combined Wallan East, Wallan Wallan and Darraweit Guim team)
Results of matches played by the Wallan East FC 1914, 1935 to 1940 , 1945 to 1948 and in 1950 – have been researched and recorded. These details will be uploaded here at a later time and at the earliest opportunity sometime in 2021.
N/R = No Result
UNK = Result Unknown (given that WE&DFC was undefeated at home for both season – the club likely won several of these games ?
(a combined Wallan Wallan & Wallan East team)
the club also recruited several Darraweit Guim players after their club were a late
withdrawal from the RDFL before the commencement of the season
The Wallan East club were never able to defeat the Wallan township club in their three meetings over two seasons that they both fielded teams in the same Association (1940 & 1946), alas the 1940 township team being a Combined Wallan /Donnybrook side.
After the Wallan East FC had been forced to disband midway through the 1940 season they never again were able to attain those earlier achieved heights, and it was inevitable the club at some point of time would eventually be resigned to the pages of Victorian country footballing history.
Indeed since World War Two several other local football club have all been forced to permanently go into recess and disband, including Darraweit Guim (1949), Donnybrook (1981c), Tallarook (1955), Tooborac (mid-season 1986), Whittlesea (alas briefly for ‘political reasons’ in 1985) and even Lancefield went into hibernation for a brief period before being resurrected. Whilst Hesket were ‘forced’ merge with Woodend for their team name to survive on the football field in the early 1980s.
This short story of football at Wallan East does not claim in any way to be a complete narrative, though much is readily available up in the period up until 1946 especially. The period in the Panton Hill Football League (1947-1948 & 1950-1951?) however is sadly lacking on many details.
It would surely not be unreasonable to believe that there surely is more ‘out there’ stored away in people archives regarding other additional records, stories, photographs etc on the now long gone and disbanded football club.
If you have read and enjoyed this article and have anything of interest or in addition on this football club that you would like to share, you are most welcome to make your own contribution. You can do so my contacting myself on email@example.com or by posting a message through the oldplaces.com.au website. Any validated contribution received that is subsequently uploaded here, within the story already written full acknowledgement being accordingly given.