September 28, 2021

Old Places

Where we study the past to define our future

Midland Who……….? – ‘the story of a long forgotten football team’

The story of a long forgotten football team

The story of a long forgotten football team

It was with the demise of the Midlands Football Association after the 1926 season that true competitive localised football as it had been to that time disappeared forever.  This was from a time when all teams were situated only a few miles away from each other, and likely most players knew many of the opposition team, and were related to others.

Those competing teams in the main between 1904 to 1926 seasons having come from the Wallan Wallan, Wandong, Darraweit Guim, Donnybrook, Kilmore, College (Kilmore), Broadford, and the Beveridge townships.  Even Clonbinane, Tyaak (Reedy Creek), Emu Flat and Pyalong were represented in the early years.

In that final season of 1926 only three teams in the Wallan, Wandong and Darraweit Guim clubs had entered the Midlands Football Association competition.  The following year the three clubs agreed to combine to form a new football team, that for the following four seasons went by the name of the Midland Rovers FC (thus perpetuating the name of the former Association in which the three clubs had previously been a part of).

This team was then entered into the Bourke-Evelyn Football Association, in which all the other participating teams came from at least several miles away from the immediate Wallan District – these clubs being situated to the East and South of Wallan.  Their closest neighbouring clubs were to be Whittlesea and Donnybrook, the latter having withdrawn from the Midlands Association after the 1924 season.  Donnybrook were the only side in this competition that the former Wallan club had previously played against in the former local District Association/s.

A brief history of the BOURKE-EVELYN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (1906-1931)

To the east of Wallan Wallan in 1891 the Northern Football Association (NFA) comprising of South Yan Yean, Whittlesea, Arthurs Creek and Epping played off  for the O’Meara Trophy in the Northern Football Association.  Unfortunately all press reporting abruptly ends with one round remaining with the trophy winning team still not determined.  South Yan Yean still had to play Arthurs Creek and Whittlesea had a game remaining against Epping.  The ladder at this point of the season standing as –

                                W    D    L    Pts                                                                                                                                                                        South Yan Yean     4     0     1     16                                                                                                                                                              Whittlesea               3     0     2     12                                                                                                                                                                    Arthurs Creek         2     1     2     10                                                                                                                                                                Epping                     0     1      2      2

A final round win to South Yan Yean would have ensured them the Trophy.  A defeat however and a Whittlesea win, would have meant a play-off between South Yan Yean and Whittlesea.  As to who were the eventual winners of the O’Meara Trophy is likely now lost to time – though is is believed that South Yan Yean did indeed with that final match…..

The same four teams played off for the Harper and Cameron Trophy in the NFA the following season.   The ladder finished with South Yan Yean again on top some 2 pts ahead of Whittlesea, then followed Epping and Arthurs Creek. 

However controversary was to reign after the thrilling final round draw in 1892 between South Yan Yean and Whittlesea with the latter protesting the results as their opponents had included four players from outside the Association permitted southern boundary –

It was reported that with protests still to be heard from both of the final round games that their outcome would not effect the premiership teams position on the ladder.  It was felt that the protest was of the ‘no case to answer’ variety and the Press reported that ‘Whittlesea fancied that it had a grievance on which legally according to the football laws, and also morally it was reported they did not have a leg to stand on’.   Just how ‘erred’ this latter proved to later be.

South Yan Yean did not deny they had included the four players (Curran, Connor, O’Kiefe and Reynolds) that were in question.   At the Delegates meeting  the  Chairman refused to hear the protest Whittlesea protest on conferring with his Secretary, on the grounds that they had failed to lodge any monies to accompany the protest……….ie a deposit.  The Chairman then refused to hear any more on the matter and along with the Secretary they both then left the room, with only the the latter later returning.   

The Association rules did state that the southern boundary exclude Heidelberg, Preston and the District south of Greensborough which indeed justified the four players inclusion in the South Yan Yean team.  All then becomes very messy indeed as when the Secretary returned a vote was then taken with 6 of the 8 Delegates still present feeling that that the protest should have been upheld, and in addition it was then shown that there was no wording in the NFA rules stating that a protest should be accompanied by any deposit.  Still South Yan Yean had not broken any NFA rules regarding the four players being included in their team, yet this was errendeously overlooked by those who ‘remained’……..  At which point a resolution was passed that Whittlesea having gained the highest amount of points should be entitled to the Trophy………  In effect the Delegates still present had overturned the drawn match protested result, and awarded a win to Whittlesea thus now putting them 2 pts clear on the final ladder……………!

The South Yan Yean club had already stated prior to the Meeting that it would not accept the Trophy regardless, as the their club  felt that it would be unfair to be presented with the Trophy from the donors,  both of who were MPs – as it may very well effect them politically in the future…….!   Finally on the matter, some 12 months later in July 1893 the Whittlesea club met at E Timms Hotel to receive the Trophy won the previous season which was indeed presented by Messrs. Harper MP and Mr Cameron MP. 


The Northen Association did not reform in 1893 though most of the teams were still active during that winter.  In once match South Yan Yean  a couple of players short played a Whittlesea team, that was also laden with Arthurs Creek and Epping players …….!

In 1894 Whittlesea, South Yan Yean and Diamond Creek appear to have played a series of matches through to late June though no reference can be found in the games being part of an organised Association.  After 4 rds (3 games played per team) Whittlesea were the most successful team with three wins, with the remaining teams having one win apiece.  No further matches can be found post June, with teams thereafter playing against ‘other’ teams, in social games only.

 A Diamond Creek Football Association had been formed by at least 1895 (a similarly named competition also dates from 1891 but the competing teams were from further to the South in the Heidelberg and Preston Districts), though few specifics details are known.

In 1899 Arthurs Creek, Greensborough (equal), Epping, Morang, Diamond Creek, Arthurs Creek Central and South Yan Yean finished in that order in the Cameron-Gair Trophy competition. The top two sides played off in a final (result not known).

Organised competition then appears to have been none existent in this locality in the early 20th Century for all these teams.

Then in the 1904 and 1905 seasons the Diamond Creek, Epping, Hazel Glen, Kangaroo Ground, South Yan Yean and Whittlesea clubs played in a short lived Whittlesea & District Football Association – played for two seasons.

The top team (minor premiers) had the Right to Challenge with Kangaroo Ground winning the premiership in 1904 after utilizing their Right to Challenge, after Hazel Glen had won the first Final. In 1905 Diamond Creek and Epping were the teams defeated at the semi-final stage, and Hazel Glen the minor premiers went on to defeat Whittlesea at South Yan Yean to win the 1905 premiership.

One early match from this period apparently turned into one big all day fight, with South Yan Yean eventually winning ‘on the scoreboard’ 0-4 to Doreen 0-2.

The six teams that made up the Whittlesea & District Association became the foundation member clubs of the newly formed Bourke-Evelyn Football Association in 1906, with Hazel Glen being renamed Doreen.

As happened at so a many football club over the years, the four consecutive premiership flags won by South Yan Yean between 1909-1912 – the flags gradually rotted away after  having been kept in a box under the stage at the local hall for many years, and they eventually had to be discarded.

At this time a George Whitten  was connected to the South Yan Yean club in some manner, which usually involved collecting money – his brother was James who had been the club captain in the early 1890s.  George was the grandfather of the future VFL footballing legend in Ted Whitten Snr. also remembered at ‘Mr. Football’ (Footscray 321 goals, 364 goals).  In a career the was highlighted with the Footscray 1954 premiership win, he took over as the club captain/coach in early 1957 and carried the mantle until the end of 1966.  He returned again as captain/coach between 1969-1971, in all won 5 club B&F awards, took a young Bulldog team to the 1961 GF and also represented the ‘Big V’ on no less than 29 occasions. His all round contribution and legacy to the game possibly remaining unsurpassed.  The Whitten family had left the District when Ted was only a young lad when they moved to Yarraville.

The South Yan Yean club were renamed Mernda in 1914.

In an extraordinary score line no goals were kicked and one team didn’t even score in the 1914 Final when Mernda 0-5 defeated Arthurs Creek 0-0. The Arthurs Creek team that season actually being a Combined Arthurs Creek/Doreen team.

A four team Bourke-Evelyn Association completed their 1915 home and away matches, however the Finals series of a Semi and a Final was abandoned due to the impact of the Great War in Europe. The Final places of teams in this abandoned season were –

                            W  L   Pts
Mernda             6   3   24
Whittlesea       5   4   20
South Morang  4   5   16
Arthurs Creek   3   6   12

In this early period colours worn by some of the clubs included – South Yan Yean (red and white stripes), Whittlesea (purple with gold hoop), Epping (dark blue), South Morang (black and white stripes), Arthurs Creek (red with white yoke) and Kangaroo Ground (red and white hoops), Doreen (blue and white)


With the Europe and the World now at peace in 1919 football returned once again, with a match arranged to be played between the returning ‘Digger’s and the ‘Cold Footers’ (ie those who did not go).  The ‘Diggers’ went on to win the match, and a photograph was taken of both sides together to commemorate the occasion.

The BEFA also reformed 1919 and there after followed twelves seasons that had at least nine extraordinary and at times controversial Finals series :

– the 1919 Preliminary-final was played three times (with two drawn matches)
– the 1922 Final had to be replayed after a drawn match
– the 1919, 1924 and 1927 minor premiers lost their Semi-final Match, but later used their Right to Challenge
– 1920, 1921 and 1925 Final were replayed after the minor premiers exercised their Right to Challenge.
– 1919 Challenge Final result was unsuccessfully protested
– 1924 the bottom placed team (who were without a win all season) wins the Premiership
– 1927 minor premiers lost their Semi-final match, then unsuccessfully protested the result, before using their Right to Challenge
– 1927 Challenge Final result was initially protested, before being withdrawn
– the 1929 and 1930 Final had to replayed after successfully being protested
– the 1929 Replayed Final was unsuccessfully protested

Thus only the 1923 and 1928 Finals series can be said to have been played without any extraordinary instances…….!

Additionally two club in their official records ‘online’ claim to have won the 1923 premiership (alas one team incorrectly).

The Bourke-Evelyn Association had reformed in 1919 with the following clubs – Arthurs Creek, Epping, Hurstbridge, Mernda, South Morang, Thomastown and Whittlesea. The undefeated minor premiers Epping surprisingly lost their Semi-final against third placed Mernda. Hurstbridge (2nd) then knocked out South Morang (4th) . The Preliminary-Final between Hurstbridge and Mernda was then drawn twice (3-4 to 2-10 & 1-10 to 2-4) before Hurstbridge finally won the third match 4-6 to 2-9. Epping then though defeated in the Semi-Final, then used their Right to Challenge, and defeated Hurstbridge. The defeated later protested the result in that Epping had fielded an ineligible player, however the vote was lost at the Delegates Meeting

Less complicated, in the 1920 Final, Mernda 5-3 defeated Hurstbridge 3-7. For the second consecutive season a team as minor premiers used their Right to Challenge and Hurstbridge were again defeated the following week 4-4 to 3-4 at Whittlesea when Mernda scored a goal just before the final bell to break then deadlocked scores.

When Epping won the 1921 premiership, players were awarded gold medals, to go with the Tucker shield and pennant.

Between 1908 and 1923 (thirteen actual football seasons) the South Yan Yean/Mernda club participated in every Final match aside from in 1919 when it was eliminated by 3 pts in the Preliminary Final (after two drawn matches). With the Mernda team of the 1915 season also being one of the stronger teams and had headed the ladder when the Finals were abandoned.

UNIQUE INCIDENT – In an extraordinary conclusion to the Bourke-Evelyn Association season in 1923 Mernda won the premiership after not having won a game before the finals series commenced…..! The competition was reduced to four sides after one team withdrew early in the season thus guaranteeing all the remaining clubs a finals place at the end of the season. Whittlesea finished on top (minor premiers) followed by South Morang, Epping and then Mernda. In the semi-final the previously winless Mernda defeated Epping and they then the beat South Morang by 11 pts in the Final. Whittlesea as the minor premiers then exercised their right to a Challenge Final which was played at Doreen and Mernda won this match too, to become the premier team for the season*

* The Whittlesea FC (per the clubs internet website) claim to have won three consecutive
premierships in 1923, 1924 and 1925 – however this is clearly not the case given the above.  A clue to the mistake having been made in a season that was poorly reported on in the press, is that Whittlesea were the ‘raging hot favourites’ to win the Challenge Final, with Mernda having won only 2 of their 14 matches played (alas both in the Finals).  But to then find and locate any actual report or detail on the Challenge Final game becomes a very difficult task to accomplish.  However the Sporting Globe newspaper which was printed on a Saturday  evening to report on that days many and varied sporting results and contests, included the following brief details on the match –

The following season the premiership flag won by Mernda in 1923 was unfurled at half time in their 10 April 1924 match against Whittlesea – per report in The Argus (12 May 1924).  Some forty years later a ‘reflective’ report on the Mernda FC 1923 premiership success appeared in the Whittlesea Post under the title of ‘Lost Season’s Matches, But were Premiers’  

Frank Murphy was a member of the 1923 Mernda premiership side and during the season had also been training with Collingwood in the VFL  – with the ARGUS reporting that he was coming down from Epping to train, with the club reporting that he had the potential to become a champion player in time. He later went on to have a ten year playing career at Collingwod between 1925-1934 (145 goals, 120 games.  Playing at CHF he widely recorded as being an excellent high mark and that he could kick with extreme accuracy with both ‘boots’.  He played in six VFL Grand-finals including the 4 consecutive wins between 1927-1930 and represented Victoria on 3 occasions.  That he played at CHF is a true testament to his smart playing ability as he was of a light build and he also game away some height to his opponents – he later said that he could have done with another 2″.  See the source image

Frank Murphy – Collingwood FC

Leaving Collingwood he then went to Western Australia in 1935 to coach WAFL team Subiaco. After finishing as Runner-Up in 1935 by the end of 1937 season Subiaco were the wooden spoonists and Murphy was replaced.  Many supporters at Mernda had thought that Frank’s brother Clem was a much better footballer (though he never went to any of the Melbourne clubs……..!).

Another 1923 Mernda premiership player was Arthur Gilligan originally from New Zealand, and who was most probably the oldest player on the ground that day.  Way back in 1902 after having been selected in the VJFA representative team (mid June), only a month later he was to be playing in the first of his 3 consecutive mid season games in the VFL as a forward with Fitzroy (3 games, 4 goals) before losing his place in the team.  He was listed in the best players in his first game, and in the third one was reported on as ‘it looks like Fitzroy have secured a smart little player’  – Fitzroy made the Preliminary Final that season.  He then appeared at Essendon for the next 3 seasons (29 games, 11 goals) – with Essendon finishing 6th, 4th and 4th in this period, where he also doubled as a rover.  Gilligan did not appear in either of the losing Semi-Final teams of 1904 or 1905. 

Arthur Gilligan – Essendon 1903

In May 1906 Essendon cleared Gilligan to Perth in WA where be was to became the central figure of massive controversy over the paperwork regarding his clearance application.  Apparently he had originally signed to play with Subiaco, but Perth then offered to pay the  full board where he was living with his brother William until he found work, and £2 as a footballer – so he then signed a clearance application to play with that club.  At least two hearings were held by Delegates of the WAFL, with Gilligan admitting that he had also signed the Subiaco club – this clearance application was then produced but he then said the signature was ‘a good imitation’.  At a subsequent hearing emphasis was given to  by the Subiaco club that Gilligan had freely admitted to signing with them, however they also conceded that his signature had later been written over in ink (the form having originally been signed in pencil) and that he application signed had been completed on incorrect paperwork to it was not forwarded to Melbourne.  The outcome of it all in the end was that he was granted a clearance to play with Perth where his brother William was also , though many present voiced that they thought he had lied during the Hearing. 

Perth finished in 5th place in 1905 and 4th place the following year, however they lost thier Semi-final match which Gilligan did not play. 

                                                      Perth FC -Coastal Premiers 1907 with Arthur Gilligan front row,                                                                                                                    far right (in sleeveless guernsey and wearing a hat)

Then after being defeated by 5 pts in the Final for the 1907 premiership in a match in which Gilligan played, Perth lodged a protest against a goal awarded to East Fremantle during the second quarter that purportedly never went between the posts.  The later Board heard that a free kick had been awarded to East Fremantle who scored a goal, however the bell rang before the ball went through the goals.  The  Umpire admitted that he blew his whistle for the free kick simultaneously with the ringing of the bell, and he thought the bell had beat him, although the kick was still taken.  After deliberation it was determined that the premiership should be awarded to Perth by 1 pt.  In 1908 Gilligan reported as being back in Melbourne and running at Hotel – he may have more accurately have been working at his brother’s (Walter) Lamb Inn at South Yan Yean ?  Walter was at his time also the Secretary of the local football club, and indeed in 1908 Arthur had taken over the role of captain/coach at the club.  Almost immediately training improved as did the onfield results when the season commenced – Gilligan was also recorded as also being a first class footballer.  The South Yan Yean team played off in the next six Finals with included the four consecutive premierships of 1909-1912.

In what looks suspiciously like a ‘pre-arranged result’ in the final round of the 1925 season was the game between the third and fourth placed teams in Thomastown and Hurstbridge. A win to either side would guarantee a place in the Final 4, with Epping 5th likely to defeat the weak Donnybrook team on the same day – so the losing team were almost certainly going to miss out in playing in the Finals series and be replaced by Epping.  Epping did their bit as expected in defeating Donnybrook by 40 pts however the Hurstbridge and Thomastown game was drawn 5-5 apiece, Hurstbridge went to 42 pts with Thomastown and Epping tied on 40 pts.  Percentages then had to be calculated and with this done, Epping replaced Thomastown in the Final series that commenced the following weekend.

Epping began their period of total dominance in the Bourke–Evelyn Association in winning the 1926 premiership (incredibly Epping who overall played twelve BEFA finals series, won all ten ‘Grand’ Finals that they participated in). With Epping retaining the Lister Shield permanently after their third successive premiership win in 1928 (after having retained the Tucker Shield permanently in 1922. A new premiership Shield was promised to the Association for the 1929 season, which was named the Everard Shield, and Epping won that outright in 1931.

Thomas Dea a Half Forward from the Epping club started training with VFL team North Melbourne in 1928 (the Dea family name having been associated with the Epping club before the time of the Great War). Dea went on to play 35 games between 1928 and 1930 for the Shinboners, with his solitary goal, indicating that he played little on the forward line at his new club.

1931 was the last season of the Association, and in 1932 the Bourke-Evelyn Football Association merged with the Panton Hill Football Association to form the Panton Hill & District Football League.


The final demise of the local football competition 

On the local football scene we arrive at the final season of the District football in the Midlands Football Association. In its final season (1926) only Wallan, Wandong and Darraweit remained, with the Kilmore Juniors/Kilmore Imperials (that towns Second team) having not reformed and Donnybrook now having entered its team into the Bourke-Evelyn Association from 1925 onwards.  The latter did not have a very strong team so it is not clear why they chose to enter its side in the stronger and larger spanned BEFA. However the club had frequently been involved in protested matches within the Midlands Association, often centering on playing unregistered players or players who did not meet the residential requirements, so this may have been a determining factor.

The 1926 season was played over 12 weeks, with each team having 4 byes, and thus each club only played every second week, for a total of eight games each. The top two teams then played off in the Final. Wandong playing in only their second Final defeated Darraweit Guim 6-3 to 3-7 at the Inverlochy Castle ground to record their only ever premiership success.

Thus came to the end 22 years of local competition football play, and the formation of Midland Who………?’

MIDLAND ROVERS (1927-1930)

The Midlands Football Association not surprisingly did not reform in 1927 as the remaining three clubs were all struggling to find players and there was no interest from any other towns in joining or re-affiliating with the Association. The Wallan club only decided not to reform as late as April, maybe in wishfully hoping that there would be some late interest from other clubs !

From the ARGUS – ‘A team known as the Midland Rovers has been formed out of the players of the disbanded Wallan and Darraweit teams and have been admitted into the Bourke-Evelyn Football Association’ (also referred to as the Bourke and Evelyn Football Association).

In this four season period (1927-1930) unfortunately not all the final scores of the Midland Rovers matches can be found, although the result is known on several of these occasions. Of the 63 matches likely played by the Midland Rovers in this period only the results of 10 games are believed not to be known.

The Press initially reported that a new club Darraweit Guim had been admitted into the BEFA and that they would be known as Midland Rovers. Later on, on occasions the club was also referred to as Wallan, Darraweit/Wallan, Wallan/Midland Rovers and Midland Rovers/Wallan. The club however was officially called the Midland Rovers Football Club (a combination of former Wallan, Darraweit Guim and Wandong players)

The new Midland Rovers team adopted the old Darraweit guernsey of Black with and Red Sash. With the formation of the Midland Rovers the familiar maroon guernsey of the old Wallan (Wallan Wallan) club disappeared forever – the club had often simply been referred to as ‘the Maroons’ in the past……….. (though a single reference to the name ‘Maroons’ is recorded in the local Press as late as 1940, when the Wallan club had reformed once again).

The other teams playing in the Association in 1927 were Arthurs Creek, Donnybrook, Epping, Hurstbridge, South Morang, Thomastown and Whittlesea and they were affiliated to the VJFA.

The Midland Rovers first season in the Bourke-Evelyn Association was to end sensationally as detailed further on – such was the muddle that even ‘survivors’ of the Midland Rovers team from this season in latter years of their lives could not clearly reflect on how the season actually concluded, aside from knowing that they were not in the premiership team……….!

The new Midland Rovers team made an impressive start to the season winning their first five matches before being beaten by the reigning premiers Epping (scores not known) at home on 11 June.

18 June 1927 – at home against another of the stronger teams in Whittlesea, ‘E Stockdale improving every season, his dashing runs and long telling kicks were a feature of the match’. In a low scoring match the Midland Rovers won by 2-8 to 1-4.

The Midland Rovers likely strung together up to six consecutive wins before once again falling again to the dominant team in Epping on 30 July, this time at their home ground (though once again unfortunately no scores are available).

6 August 1927 – in the final round before the finals commenced, Midland Rovers found themselves playing away from home for the second week in a row. This was another much anticipated match against another top four team in Whittlesea the prize for the winning team would be to avoid having to play top team Epping in its semi-final match. The Midland Rovers were out of sorts and outplayed, losing their second consecutive match this time by 26 pts.

Clearly the three strongest teams and most consistent in the Association in Epping, Whittlesea and Midland Rovers in no surprise dominated the top three places on the final ladder, with South Morang the strongest of the remaining clubs.

1927 Final ladder –

Midland Rovers
South Morang
Thomastown  )
Donnybrook    ) – bottom four teams (not in order)
Arthurs Creek )
Hurstbridge    )

Team colors inc. – Midland Rovers (black with red sash), Whittlesea (purple with gold hoop), Epping (dark blue), Thomastown (green and ‘possibly brown’), Donnybrook (blue, red and white stripes),  Arthurs Creek ( red with white yoke) and Hurstbridge (either black with yellow sash or dark blue – which they later changed to in this period).

In the finals 1 played 3rd and 2nd played 4th with the winners playing off in the Final, the minor premiers also having the Right to Challenge should they be defeated.

1st Semi-Final (13 August 1927)- Midland Rovers 8-6 defeated Epping 7-11 by one point at Whittlesea. Three former Darraweit Guim players in Joe Johnston, Brendan Stockdale and Jack Stockdale were three of the more dominant Rovers players on the day. The victory was an incredible result against the minor premiers and somewhat unexpected by most present on the day.

The Hurstbridge Advertiser Friday 19/8/1927 page 3

Another Press report records the match as ‘Wallan Rovers vs Epping’ and ‘A splendid game that was well fought out, and the finish exciting’

Despite their Semi-Final loss the Epping club still had their Right to Challenge ‘up their sleeve’ which they could play at the end of the season. Then the Epping club lodged a protest against the Midland Rovers claiming that the opposition had included an ineligible player in their team. The Hearing was set to be heard on Wednesday evening 24 August some four days 2nd Semi-Final after was to be played.

2nd Semi-Final (20 August 1927) – Whittlesea 13-4 easily defeated South Morang 5-5 by 47 points at Epping .

24 August 1927 – a Hearing was held by an Independent Tribunal regarding the Epping club protest, in their claim that the Midland Rovers had included an ineligible player in their team in their semi-final match against them on 13 August – the case however was dismissed (no further details are available). A protest win by Epping would have eliminated the Midland Rovers from the Finals series altogether. Likely Epping had more fancied their chances in a Challenge Final against either Whittlesea or South Morang, rather than to the possibility of facing up to the Midland Rovers again should they be successful in the Final……………..

So the Midland Rovers were now into the Final and they lined up against Whittlesea as follows –

BACKS – A Smith L Parkes G Alexander*
HALF BACKS – C Vallence J Lewis C Smith
CENTRES – J Johnston E Smith L Laffan
HALF FORWARDS – B Stockdale R Thompson S O’Brien
FORWARDS – B Cummins J Stockdale R Stockdale
FOLLOWERS – J Kerris K McDonnell
ROVER – E Wilson

19th MAN – M Cahill

* player is possibly H Alexanderson ?, and he was replaced in the team by M Cahill

FINAL (27 August 1927) Whittlesea 5-9 defeated Midland Rovers 6-1 by two points at Doreen. One player from each team was reported (however no further details are available per this research). Some Press then reported following the match that Whittlesea were accordingly declared premiers for the season (neglecting the fact that Epping still had the Right to Challenge after having lost their Semi-Final).

Back – ______(boundary umpire) Brian Cummins, Maurie Cahill (19th man), L Parkes, Charles Vallence, Leo Laffan, Ken McDonnell, Jimmy Lewis,               Roy Johnson, Bob Thompson (in hat),  R Anderson (boundary umpire)            Middle – Brendan Stockdale, Ab Smith, John Stockdale, Joe Johnston,        Phil Ball (umpire), Ray Stockdale, Charlie Smith, E ‘Ted’Smith
Front – Jack Kerris, Sid O’Brien, Eric Wilson

* platey als o recorded as R Anderson – but is also believed to be Harry Alexanderson missed the match and was replaced by Maurie Cahill.

The Epping club accordingly advised that they would exercise their Right to Challenge the Final winners Whittlesea (a process that they had to officially advise of).

GRAND CHALLENGE FINAL (3 September 1927) Epping defeated Whittlesea at Doreen.

Scores – Epping        1-0    3-1    6-3     8-8
Whittlesea                 0-1    0-3    1-3     1-5

The large crowd in attendance (who paid over £20 admission) expecting an interesting game left very disappointed after witnessing a poor exhibition of football.

Then on 9 Sep 1927 the BEFA Tribunal met yet again as now Whittlesea from the Grand Challenge Final match had lodged a protest against Epping. Whittlesea protesting 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.

The tribunal then heard that case between Alf Blair (Whittlesea), and _ Stockdale (Midland Rovers) who were reported by the umpire for striking each other in the Final match at Doreen. Both men appeared to answer the charges, and they were ordered to stand down for the first three matches next season. Likely the _ Stockdale reported would have been Jack, given his previous track record and reputation on the playing field …….?

A more adequate finals system with the Right to Challenge still to apply, may have been for Whittlesea (2nd) to play Midland Rovers (3rd) in a Semi-Final with the Winners to play Epping in the Final – then if the Minor Premiers lost they could have used their Right to Challenge……….. Regardless of the minor premier teams performance in a Semi-final, they were still guaranteed the Right to Challenge the winning team of the Final match, which surely was not the intention of the introduction if this rule initially………..

Furthermore when researching this Midland Rovers FC history the major oral source was former player Brendan (BJ) Stockdale, however could not recall exactly where the team had finished in 1927 season, despite him usually being a very accurate reference source. He thought that possibly Midland Rovers may have played in the 1927 Final, but he wasn’t certain – whilst other oral sources I interviewed had very similar recollections as well……… Given Brendan’s usual sound memory and ability to provide vivid and accurate sporting recollections, this was somewhat perplexing in his not being able to recall if the team had played off in such an important match or not. With no reference either being made regarding the unsuccessfully Semi-final protest……. more than likely players were actually unaware of it, as they prepared for and played off in the Final.

It was only when accessing the ARGUS some years later (and after Brendan had passed away) that it became clear as to why there may have been some confusion as to the finishing up of the season for Midland Rovers players and supporters. A likely reason was that, as the BEFA used a finals format different to what the Midland Rovers players were accustomed to playing in previous years locally. Additionally given that ladders were never published by the local press – local followers were likely none the wiser to the exact final positions at the end of the home and away season – and if no Midland Rover Delegates attended the mid-week meeting held before the finals to discuss finals venues and other matters – they may have remained totally reliant likely by phone or a telegram, on merely where their next game was and little else….…..? Many of the Midland Rovers members may have remained ignorant to the Right to Challenge or exact finals format. Few may even have been aware that a Challenge Final was actually ever played (believing the Minor Premier team had to actually first make the Final before they could exercise their Right to Challenge if necessary) – particularly so as Epping had lost both the Semi-final and subsequent protest ? The nearest paper to the Wallan District that published any details on the Challenge final was The Advertiser at Hurstbridge – almost certainly was out of the Midland Rovers following circulation range – as would have been the case with a majority of all Press coverage throughout the season (at both club and Association levels).

The Midland Rovers concluded the season with their First Annual Ball held on 14 October 1927 and a Melbourne Orchestra were engaged for the evening. Mr J Butler the club Secretary predicted ‘A bumper evening is anticipated’.

The Wandong FC reformed in 1928 after one season in recess, and likely lured back some of their former players who had been playing with the Midland Rovers the previous season. The reformed club also joined the Bourke-Evelyn Association and wore a white guernsey with a maroon sash, they replaced Hurstbridge.  Despite breaking away from the Midland Rovers as one of the three foundation teams, the Midland Rovers continued on as the same club.

Mr Everard MLA presented a shield for competition in the Bourke-Evelyn Association to be awarded to the premier team.

Per Fred Gidden’s memoirs (1981) to get from the Wandong changing rooms which were a room in the hotel, players then had to walk over a hill to get to the ground……..!  Fred also recollects that the Midland Rovers changing room were not much better than the others……….!

The Bourke-Evelyn Association entered the inaugural competition for the Hartley Shield (Open), there was also an Under 21 competition which they did not enter a team. The first round of matches were played on 3 April 1928, the format being knockout elimination, with a Final to be played between the two remaining Associations on 21 July 1928 – which the Metropolitan Junior Association won when they defeated the CYMS Association in the Open final. Matches in this competition were sometimes played on weekdays.

J Laffan (Midland Rovers) was elected as one of four members of the BEFA Independent Tribunal.

26 May 1928 Midland Rovers 7-7 defeated Wandong 5-9 by 10 points after leading 4-5 to nil at quarter time. Joe Johnston and the Stockdale brothers were in the best players.

9 June 1928 after defeating Thomastown by 28 points at the Railway Reserve, Wallan East the visitors were entertained at the Woodmans Arms Hotel, Wallan (indeed a feature of many matches both home and away during the season was for the home team to entertain their guests).

23 June 1928 Midland Rovers defeated Donnybrook – a subsequent protest by Donnybrook was later dismissed and 1 Guinea costs were allowed for the defendant club.

30 June 1928 leading player J Vallence reappeared after several weeks absence through injury, as did Squance and McIntyre, whilst J Kerris, Stockdale and Graham were not available. At home Midland Rovers defeated Arthurs Creek by 2 pts. Best for the Rovers were Joe Johnston, Wilson, B Thom(p)son, Stockdale and McIntyre.

Speculating somewhat the above named player McIntyre may well be the former Darraweit Guim player who was the grandfather of the latter day test cricketer Peter McIntyre. Peter played his junior and formative seasons of Senior cricket with the Romsey CC before playing District cricket at Essendon. A leg spin bowler, after a succession of consistent performances with Essendon he was in the 1988/89 season he was selected in the Victorian Sheffield Shield team. However the emergence and subsequent arrival of a stocky blond haired fellow leg spinner by the name of Shane Warne in the Shield team, meant that he was never able to cement his place in the Victorian team. Subsequently he relocated to South Australia, a move which proved an almost immediate success. In 1992/93 he enjoyed his best ever personal First Class season, and whilst there he was selected in played in two Test matches – one against England in the 4th Test at Adelaide in 1995 and another against India at New Delhi in 1996 (replacing an injured Shane Warne) in a one off Test match. In addition he was also 12th man for at least one other Test match. In the New Delhi test he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar (playing in his first test as captain) with his second delivery in the only match they ever played against each other. In the 1995/96 season Sheffield Shield Final with both he and Shane George (a genuine No. 11) at the crease batting, they held out the Western Australian bowlers for the final 40 minutes of the match to ensure a draw – so giving their team the Sheffield Shield (after having finished ahead of Western Australia on the ladder, they only had to draw the Final, whilst Western Australia required and outright result to claim the Shield). The rise of another leg spinner in Stuart MacGill and an increased soreness in McIntyre’s right shoulder was to deprive him of any further international appearances for Australia, though his name was speculated on in the media, for a couple of Test matches on the notorious spinners paradise wicket at Sydney. Furthermore his task was made more challenging in that the majority of his First Class bowling was done on the two grounds that were generally considered at that time to being the least suited to spin bowling (MCG and Adelaide Oval). Peter McIntyre retired from 1st class cricket in 2002 and went on to coach the Netherlands International team.

Peter McIntyre 1st Class Career statistics –

                     M   Runs  Ave       HS     Cths        Balls    Wkts        Ave     Best      5wI 10wM
Test              2       22     7.33      16          0           393          5       38.97    3-103         –         –
1st Class     97    798     8.06      43       33       25372       322      39.66     6-43        12        2
A List          11        2     0.66        1*        0            546        16      28.37      4-39         –          –

An elder brother in Robbie himself a fine Country cricketer with Romsey and Riddells Creek, is currently one of four selectors for the Victorian Country XI team, and was a guest of honour at the 2019 Wallan District Cricket Club 50th Anniversay Celebration Dinner. 

July 1928 – ‘The new dressing room at the local reserve was altered and made into two separate rooms, one for the visiting team and the other for the home team. There was also the addition of a smaller shelter of some 20’x14’ for the public. Players and public were loud in their appreciation of the new improvements’.

Sharing the Wallan Recreation Reserve with the local Athletics Club, the football club held an Old Time Ball on 21 July after the game against Whittlesea to help raise money to put towards their share of the expenses in the erecting of the dressing room and shelter area. There was a good attendance and music was supplied by Miss Jessie Patullo and Messrs. Laffan and A Sinclair (Mt. William).

1928 Final ladder –

Midland Rovers
Arthurs Creek
South Morang – bottom four teams (not in order)

The Finals format once again comprised of two Semis and one Final (no Preliminary Final), 1st vs 3rd and 2nd vs 4th – with Right to Challenge.

Semi-Finals – Epping defeated Wandong at Whittlesea
Midland Rovers 8-14 defeated Whittlesea 8-6 at Epping

Quarter by Quarter Midland Rovers 4-2   6-6   7-10    8-14
Whittlesea                                              1-1   3-1    7-2      8-6

FINAL played on 25 August 1928 at Whittlesea – with the match still in the balance at ¾ time Epping kicked 9-2 to nil in the last quarter to win the premiership by 74 points. Epping 17-12 thrashed Midland Rovers 5-5 by 80 points at Whittlesea. Quarter by Quarter –

Epping                  4-2   6-6   8-10   17-12
Midland Rovers   1-1   2-3    6-4       6-4

Scores have also been found detailing the final scores as 17-13 to 5-5

Epping now having won the Lister Cup three times, retained the trophy permanently.

 The Hurstbridge Advertiser Friday 31/8/1928 page 3

A complimentary evening was tendered to the members of the Midland Rovers Football Club by the ladies committee in the Railway Hall, Wallan East on Friday evening 31st August. The affair was a pleasant one and Mr Pat Kenny complimented the club on its position as runner-up for the season 1928. Mr Joe Johnston (captain) responded and remarked ‘that it was pleasant to know that the clubs exertions were deemed satisfactory and appreciated by its supporters’, and he thanked the ladies committee for a splendid reception and evening.

The Second Annual Midland Rovers Football Club Ball was held in the Wallan Public Hall on Friday evening 12 October and a band of six performers were secured for the evening. The Public Hall was taxed to capacity and decorated in black and red (the club colours) while Mr Leo Ryder and his Orchestra entertained. Visitors came from Melbourne, Ascot Vale, Flemington, Clarkefield, Bolinda, Darraweit Guim, Mt. William, Carrum, Kilmore, Whittlesea, Epping and South Melbourne for the evening. The affair closed at 3am and all were unanimous that the evening was the best ever held at the hall.

Midland Rovers concluded the season with a bank balance of £40/8/7

J Burt (Donny brook) won the BEFA Best & Fairest award

In 1929 the Midland Rovers elected their following Office Bearers for the season –
President – Geo. Manthorpe Hon Sec. & Treas – J Laffan
Vice-Presidents – P Kenny, Tom Aungier, PA Wedding Delegates – J Butler, Joe Johnston, J Laffan

Thomastown and South Morang left the Association and were replaced by Mernda and Reservoir.

In effect the South Morang club who had been struggling the previous season came to an agreement with the Mernda club (which had not fielded a team for a couple of seasons) and they amalgamated.  Mernda did not want the new club to be called South Morang and they won out on this point, as they felt that their ‘club’ would be  supplying most of the players.  This union however only lasted for the one season as the following season both clubs ‘went it’ alone .

The Reservoir team entered as a totally new club from the one that had previously played in the BEFA in 1924 and 1925 seasons.  This team had after the 1925 season Combined with Preston to become Preston-Reservoir playing as the Preston Seconds team in the VJFA.  This union however lasted just the two seasons.

The Reservoir ground (where the cycle trip at More Park was later located) was ‘best’ remembered by some as being the worst ground of all, as it was frequently it was nothing more than a mud heap.  The changing rooms being in ashed at a nearby house, with bark for a floor.

In what proved to be a disappointing season for Midland Rovers result wise, they did start the season off on the right foot with an impressive 7 pt win over Reservoir in a low scoring affair on 4 May, whilst Wandong defeated Donnybrook.

Mid May 1929 Wandong player V Sudmore was granted a permit to play for Glen Waverley in the Berwick District Football Association.

Thurs 30 May 1929 – a very large and representative, gathering of people assembled at Wallan East on Thursday evening last to bid farewell to the popular Eric Wilson, who for the past three seasons has been a prominent player with the Midland Rovers since their formation

27 August 1929 at Mernda the visitors in Midland Rovers totally dominated much of the match. The press were reported on the Midland Rovers ‘as being the much better all round players owing to the home team’s lack of discipline. The Rovers lead until into the last quarter when the Mernda forwards opened up and started playing some good football with the result they scored again and again’. So much so that the final scores read Mernda 8-4 defeating Midland Rovers 3-4

The Bourke-Evelyn Association were one of eight Associations that played off for the Hartley Shield (Open) now in its second season. Other Associations to enter were Victorian Banks, East Suburban Churches, Northern District, Brunswick and Coburg Churches, Victorian Football association Sub District and the CYMS. Matches were played over several weekends including 2 June * (when the Bourke-Evelyn Association were defeated by the Diamond Valley Association 9-7 to 6-11), and the consecutive weekends of 2 and 9 August – with the Bourke–Evelyn Association deciding to put back its own Association matches from the latter two weekends until the end of the season. The Open final was played between the VFA Sun District Association and the Diamond Valley Association on the Motordrome (result unknown)

* Midland Rovers only representatives were B Stockdale and S O’Brien, with the former mentioned in the stand out players for the losers

Cr. John Andrew HARPER

10 Aug 1929 – the sequel to a disturbance in the street after the Wandong and Reservoir match played in Whittlesea on 10 Aug was heard in the Whittlesea Police Court on 28 August.

MILLER HIT WITH BOTTLE (From the Argus 29/8/1929)

‘During a disturbance in the street after a football match on August 10 Mr John Andrew Harper, sawmill proprietor of Wandong, an onlooker (spectator), received injuries to the face through being struck with a bottle. At the Whittlesea Court today, before Mr. T B Wade PPM, and Mr RE Dawson JP. – John Grogen, aged 20 years, of Preston, was charged by Harper with having unlawfully assaulted him. Grogan was fined £10, with £5/-/6d costs, in default three months imprisonment. He was allowed 14 days in which to pay the fine. Harper also claimed £3/18/6 d damages from Grogan, and was awarded £2/10/- , with £1/3/6d costs, in default distress’.

Then from the KFP 26/9/1929 – on 18 Sept a feeling of universal gloom pervaded the town and district when Councillor JA Harper (President of the Kilmore Shire Council) suddenly passed away at his residence ‘Blackwood’ in Wandong aged only 57 – apparently robust health up to within a day of the sad occurrence. Mr. Harper had been resident of Wandong for about a score of years and by his employment of much labour in pursuit of his saw-milling industry had contributed more effectively to build that thriving township than any other person. And, as a good considerate employer he was highly esteemed by those associated with him who always spoke in high terms of him as did indeed all who had dealings with him. That he was highly popular in sporting circles, cricket, football and other outdoor gatherings finding in him an active worker and in wood chopping contests particularly his genial management was excellent and his handicapping most fair. As a Shire Councillor, being one of the representatives of Bylands and Glenburnie riding for eight years, was President four years ago, and was unanimously chosen for like position a few weeks before his lamented demise. A genial kindly straightforward gentleman has been called to his reward at a comparatively early age, the call was prompt and a good citizen, an honourable upright man noted for his usefulness and good deeds during life was doubtless ready. He had been in rather indifferent health for some time, and was under medical treatment…………… NB: no reference however was made to the incident only five weeks previous.

Later, the time honoured Wandong New Years Day Axeman’s Event was abandoned/cancelled in tribute to the recently deceased Mr Harper (and was revived the following year).

It was also reported in the Sporting Globe 25/9/1929 ‘Axeman’s Notes’, that the he had passed away after a short illness and that he was one of the most experienced officials in Victoria. For nearly 30 years he had been handicapping at various meetings including at the Royal Show. He took a prominent part in the formation of the Victorian Axemen’s Association, being a Vice –President since its inception.

1929 Final ladder –

Whittlesea           )
Midland Rovers  ) bottom four teams – in approximate order
Donnybrook       )
Arthurs Creek    )

Once again the finals were played over two Semis and one Final.

SEMI-FINALS Epping 9-11 defeated Wandong 7-5 at Whittlesea

(10 & 17 August) Mernda 8-10 defeated Reservoir 5-10 at Whittlesea

FINAL (24 August) Epping 6-12 defeated new team Mernda 6-7 at Whittlesea (the result was protested).

FINAL REPLAY (14 September) Epping 13-13 defeated Mernda 7-7 at Whittlesea – to record their 4th consecutive premiership. Again the result was protested and the case was dismissed – no further details available

The previous seasons BEFA Best & Fairest award winner J Burt (Donnybrook) came second in the 1929 award –
1st W Callaghan (Epping)
2nd J Burt (Donnybrook)
3rd F Bourke (Arthurs Creek)

In 1930 Wandong went into recess after having made the semi-finals in both of the previous two seasons, and were replaced by Kinglake and the reformed South Morang after an absence of one season, thus with nine teams there was a bye each round. Neither the Midland Rovers or Donnybrook attended the Delegate meeting held in the March which left the Association not knowing what either of these clubs intentions were at that time.

Pre-season – Jack Stockdale was cleared back to the Midland Rovers after having played a few games for Echuca the previous season.

The Kinglake team had officially renamed themselves the  ‘Wireless Wanderers’ (though the Press would still frequently refer to the them still as Kinglake) with the new name lasting for just the one season.  

With former BEFA club Thomastown reforming they entered the Diamond Valley Football Association, and the DVFA then unsuccessfully wrote to the Epping, Whittlesea and Reservoir clubs in a bid to lure them to join their Association as well.

10th, 17th & 24th May 1930 – Midland Rovers likely won their first three matches of the season against Donnybrook, Mernda and South Morang respectively.


Returning home from the South Morang and Midland Rovers match clash which Midland Rovers won by 20 points on the evening of 24 May 1930 a motor car (carrying Midland Rovers players and supporters) was involved in a head on collision on the main Sydney Rd, near Donnybrook. All four occupants of the car were thrown out of the car and onto the roadway, with one man Albert Proud 35 years (a later report says 22 years) a labourer of Wallan killed. The other three were all injured – Charles Albert Vallence 45 years (a later report says 28 years) farmer of Wallan with a broken right arm, William Albert O’Brien* 22 years of Wallan East suffered concussion and abrasions and George Manthorpe 50 years of Wallan a injured leg and lacerated face. The driver of the Motor van was uninjured.

* a young Bill O’Brien played for Kilmore FC circa 1927/28, and appears in a team photo – is this the same person ?

The death of Albert Proud was investigated by the Coroner and he committed the driver Charles Albert Vallence for trial on the charge of manslaughter. In mid August the court heard from the driver that he had put on his driving lights at Seymour, and that a motor car later was travelling at excessive speed towards his van when it started to zig zag across the road and into his path, where upon he was forced to veer off the metal portion of the road, with the motor car hitting the right hand side of the truck. Vallence who was unconscious for six or seven hours after the accident and subsequently spent several days in the Kilmore Hospital claimed that he saw no lights on the truck The Court found Vallence not guilty of manslaughter and the charge was dismissed.

Rounds 4 and 5 were against the strong teams of Whittlesea and Epping, with the Midland Rovers though defeated in ‘nail biters’ both weekends by 2 and 5 pts respectively.

14 June 1930 in the upset of the round (Rd6) winless Kinglake (who the previous week had secured their first points of the season in a drawn match against Arthurs Creek) defeated Midland Rovers by 2 pts at home Scores – 6-6 to 6-4 (other reports record the scores as 6-2 to 3-6)

16 June 1930 at Ashtons Coffee Palace in Kilmore a Kilmore Junior FC was formed. During the season they played several matches including one against a Wallan team on 12 July with the final scores being Wallan 4-8 to Kilmore Juniors 2-11 (the same date that the Midland Rovers were playing Donnybrook). In other known matches the Kilmore Junior team played against teams from WillowMavin (x2), Byland and Seymour. The following season this team gained admittance into the newly formed Hume Highway Football Association.

28 June 1930 Arthurs Creek forfeited their away match against Mernda as a mark of respect for their player J Lodg(e) who was killed during the week. Whilst on the same day and for the second time in three weeks the Midland Rovers were involved in the upset of the round against winless teams. This time Kinglake upset the Rovers to record their first win of the season (Rd 7), again by 2 pts. Scores – 5-4 to 4-8.

Consecutive wins against Donnybrook, Mernda, South Morang and a 2 pts win over Whittlesea saw the Midland Rovers consolidate their final four position thru July to early August with five rounds remaining – as Whittlesea headed the ladder followed by Epping, Midland Rovers and Reservoir.

Matches on the 2 and 9 August 1930 were suspended so that the BEFA could enter its strongest team in the Hartley Shield matches.

Then slowly the season began to slip away from the Midland Rovers –

16 August 1930 in match against Arthurs Creek the Midland Rovers are referred to as the ‘Wallan Midland Rovers’ by the Press – a game they lost by 22 pts.

30 August 1930 the home match against Reservoir was not finished, with spectators rushing the ground near half time and a free fight ensued. The police were powerless to quell the affray. The visiting players ran to their motor-cars and left.  Though the game was declared a draw, it is likely that Reservoir were later awarded the 4 pts.

The Reservoir team slipped in the final weeks of match to slip out of the final four to be replaced by Arthurs Creek who strung several wins together including a home win against Midland Rovers 6-10 to 3-6 on 16 August.

6 & 13 Sept 1930 consecutive home losses against  Whittlesea and Epping by 22 pts and 16 pts respectively – in effect from the Midland Rovers had in their last three home matches the team obtained nil pts.  In four seasons the Midland Rovers are only known to have ever lost one other home match (with the results of another four matches not known).

15 September 1930 – Jack Stockdale (Midland Rovers) and F. Peters* (Reservoir) were each suspended for six matches by the Independent Tribunal for fighting on the field in the match played at Wallan against Reservoir on 30 August. The incident was to be investigated at a special meeting of the Association to be held at a later date – no other details known. Jack Stockdale a most likeable person and very talented footballer, was also well known in the local district football circles as at times being a hot headed player, who did not always play the ball, who would often found be amongst any fighting on the football field – having also fallen foul of the Tribunal in the former local Associations when playing for Darraweit Guim.

* F Peters had previous playing experience in the Preston (VFA) Senior and Seconds teams, as well as in April 1930 being recorded as training and playing well in the Collingwood  (VFL) pre-season intra club practice games as a Follower and a Half-Back – and that he carries his weight around well……….

Whittlesea kicked 26-21 in one match during the season, whilst finals team Arthurs Creek kicked only 0-1 in another match (possibly against Epping).

1930 Final ladder –

                                 W  D   L   Pts
Epping                  15   0   1    60
Whittlesea           15   0   1   60
Midland Rovers   9    0   7   36
Arthurs Creek      8    1   7   34
Reservoir                7    0   9   28
Donnybrook           6   0  10   24
Mernda                   6    0  10  24
Kinglake                  3    1  12  14 (the Wireless Wanderers)
South Morang        1   0  15     4

Ladder taken from The Advertiser (Hurstbridge) – however the Final points don’t add up with 2 losses too many recorded and the total points being 4 pts short –

photograph identified as possibly that of the Midland Rovers FC 1930c ?

Back Row – Ned Cabey (timekeeper), Col Collins, B OBrien, T Cummins,

Ted Dumaresque, J ________, ________, ________,  _________

Middle Row – Joe Johnston, Brendan Stockdale, Ray Stockdale

Front Row – Bill Stockdale, Stewart Graham, _________, Jack Stockdale,

Owen Laffan,_________,                   , __________

Mascots – Jack Stockdale Jnr,__________

also recorded per Leighton Davies collection as photo being taken 8/9/1930 (which if correct was a Monday ?)


1st SEMI FINAL (20 September) – Epping (minor premiers) 21-17 defeated Midland Rovers 6-8 at Doreen

2nd SEMI FINAL (27 September) – Whittlesea 11-16 defeated Arthurs Creek _-2 at Doreen

Clearly the top two teams in the Association played off in the Final, both having a 16-1 win/loss record, with their solitary defeats having come in the corresponding fixtures between each other.

FINAL was scheduled to be played on 4 October – but this research is unable to find any reports on the game being played on this date !

FINAL at Doreen (11 October ) Epping trailing by 12 pt at ¼ time nearly kicked themselves out of the match with inaccurate kicking at goal in the next quarter before gaining a 1 pt lead at half time. They further extended their lead 11 pts at three quarter time before holding on in the final quarter to record a 3 pt win, despite having 8 more scoring shots on goal –

Scores – Epping           1-2   2-11   5-15   5-17
Whittlesea                    3-2   3-4     5-4      6-8

The ARGUS reported on Monday 18 October that H Hyland of Whittlesea was stood down for three playing Saturdays for (umpiring ?). Additionally Whittlesea had protested the result of the Grand Final after complaining the umpire had called time off to get spectators off the playing area. However during this period of ‘no play’ the timekeepers rang the bell to close the last quarter at which time Epping were ahead by 3 pts. The Association postponed making any decision until the Wednesday 29th October.

The Epping team thus played a practise match against Reservoir on the 25 Oct as the BEFA had not yet convened and won this game by 44 pts

REPLAYED FINAL (1 November) Epping defeated Whittlesea at Doreen – though no record of the match having been played (or not) can be found in the press, the Weekly Times on Sat 15 Nov page 39 Nov did feature several photographs of country premiership teams including the Bourke-Evelyn premiership team in Epping as reproduced below –

Epping FC – Premiers 1930 (5th consecutive Flag in the BEFA)


The Bourke-Evelyn Association was only to survive for one more season in 1931 (its twenty-third) before it combined with the Panton Hill & District Association. Epping won its sixth consecutive premiership (and tenth overall) in the penultimate season defeating Whittlesea 12-12 to 8-7 in the Final played at Donnybrook. Epping also won the Everard Shield outright only three seasons after it had first been offered – to be kept outright by the first team to win it three times. In the mid 1990s several Epping premiership pennants from this period were found and rescued from a local tip ! Epping had also won the BEFA premiership in 1913, 1919, 1921 and 1922 seasons.

The Midland Rovers for unknown reasons did not reform in 1931 and a well organised Hume Highway Football Association (which was fondly remembered for years but many after its final demise) came into existence (the first expanded local competition to be formed after the demise of the ‘localised’ Midland Association five years previous), and it survived until the end of 1947 season, when once again clubs sought even larger Competitions to play in.

Neither Darraweit or Wallan entered a team in 1931, Pyalong withdrew prior to the commencement of the season after having been drawn to play the Seymour Cubs in the opening round on 9 May, and Donnybrook entered its team into the Bourke-Evelyn Football Association, whilst Wandong joined the newly formed HHFA.

There is no record of why Midland Rovers Rovers left the BEFA, and given its good showing by making the finals yet again in 1930 it is somewhat surprising that neither the Wallan or Darraweit Guim clubs could not raise a single team/club for the new Hume Highway Association. The Wandong club however were able to reform after one year in recess.

The number of team that entered BEFA season was reduced from the previous season’s total of nine clubs down to just four teams in 1931, with only Epping, Whittlesea, Mernda and Donnybrook remaining. As to whether the lack of teams entering could have been a deciding factor in the Midland Rovers not reforming for the season is not known. A 12 round season was played with the top three teams then playing off in the finals, consisting of a Semi-final and a Final.

Donnybrook opened up their 1931 season with a 46 pt win against Mernda. Scores 10-12 to 3-8.

Whittlesea caused a minor upset in rd 4 in defeating Epping 5-13 to 6-2. Results from 7 of the 12 rounds are known with – Epping 6 wins, Whittlesea 8 wins, Mernda 2 wins and Donnybrook 1 win. Despite what may appear a lop sided competition the final scorelines were very competitive in most matches played, with only Whittlesea 16-8 to Mernda 5-9 in rd 2 and Whittlesea 7-12 to Donnybrook 0-8 in rd 9 standing out as one real sided affairs.

Overall the final BEFA season was a keenly contested one, with the final ladder –

1931 Final ladder –


In the Semi-Final Whittlesea 6-4 defeated Mernda 4-10

Then in the Final Epping 12-12 defeated Whittlesea 8-7 at Donnybrook to also win the Everard Shield outright.


The following season (1932) the Bourke-Evelyn Association then merged with the Panton Hill Football Association to form the Panton Hill & District Football Association (with Whittlesea winning the first premiership).

Within a couple of seasons several of the former surviving clubs from the old disbanded Bourke-Evelyn Association found themselves playing in at least four different Associations. Donnybrook and Wandong were playing in the HHFA, Hurstbridge, Kinglake and Whittlesea in the Panton Hill & District Association (Whittlesea winning the 1932 premiership).  Thomastown (1930) and a rejoining Hurstbridge (1931) had entered the the Diamond Valley Football Association (DVFA)  and were later followed there by Epping (1933).  Whittlesea (who left the PH&DFA after the 1933 season ) and a reformed South Morang  were also to join the DVFA in 1934.

Reservoir did not reform in 1931, but the following season they found themselves briefly playing in the VFA Sub-Districts Association – A Grade, finishing a dismal season in last place.  The club also managed to field a Seconds team in the Metropolitan Junior League Seconds competition, but were forced to withdraw mid season after struggling throughout.   The Reservoir club then appear to have continued sporadically under various guises (as a Junior and/or Second team) in various competitions up until the end of the decade, before they too also joined the DVFA after the World War II. 

Mernda in 1932 had another name change (they were South Yan Yean before 1914) to become Plenty Rovers and they drew its players from Mernda, Doreen and Plenty. The club joined the PD&DFA in 1933, before crossing to the DVFA where they played between 1937-1941 and for one further season in 1946.  

Both Whittlesea and Plenty Rovers later returned to the PH&DFA when that competition recommenced in 1947, and were followed there by Donnybrook the following season.  Plenty Rovers reverted back to thier former name of Mernda in 1963. 

NB: Epping won its 7th straight premiership in 1933 after their Grand-Final win in the DVFA – after having not reformed the previous season (BEFA premierships in 1926-27-28-29-30-31 and DVFA 1933)

In August 1936 in was reported that there was a growing feeling that was in favour of resurrecting the Bourke-Evelyn Association. Teams from the 1930 season were now spread over at least three different Associations, with only three clubs competing in the Panton Hill Association and the Donnybrook and Wallan East (obviously a reference here to the former Midland Rovers team) travelling long distances in the Hume Highway Association. At a convened meeting consideration was given to inviting Wallan to join a reformed Association, however nothing came of the idea.


Fred Giddons memoirs (1981) recall that in the immediate period post the Great War that the Mernda ground like many others had no white lines to mark the boundary, goal lines, goal square or the centre.  That a chap would bring a single furrowed plough and the horse would be led by another chap , and out of that they would mate the boundary.  Whilst the goal lines  would be marked out by someone using a mattock.  The changing rooms were the good shed at the railway station and to get to the ground players had to cross the railway line, walk up onto the station itself, through a gate, cross over the road and finally climb through a wire fence.  Regarding having shower after the game, players had to reply on any water lying around that was handy to wash the mud off………!  The Arthurs Creek ground was remembered by many for its rabbit furrows, and its changing room were also on the other side of the road.  The Hurstbridge changing room was only about 8′ x 6′.

One ‘local ’all-round sportsman from this period well worth recording is Bill Patton from Wandong, who in early childhood fell under a tramway truck and the iron wheels severing his arm just above the wrist. Despite this handicap, he overcame this great disability in a remarkable manner being outstanding at cricket, football and also tennis – the latter was curtailed though due to the fact that for a quarter of a century from the early 20th century his cricketing feats for Wandong were outstanding. He was at times almost unplayable bowler who almost always most difficult to score from, as well as having been a hard hitting batsmen in his youth. On the sporting field he was a big man in every sense of the word, he has a large hand a powerful arm and on the football field was able to mark cleanly above his opponents.

Another fact that should not go unnoticed is that of the Wandong FC achievements on the football field in this immediate period. The with the club only ever forming intermittently over a total of twelve seasons – in 1925 they had been Runners-Up in the local Midlands Association and Premiers in the following season. Then in 1928 they reformed and entered the larger BEFA and over two seasons made the Finals on both occasions. Finishing a very creditable 3rd in 1928 and 4th in 1929.


In 1931 and 1932 seasons the Wandong FC were the only football club in the District – after having gone into recess for just the one season (1930), and were playing in the newly formed Hume Highway Football Association.  As there was no football club, or as it appears any football at Wallan in either of these years, it is likely that several of the local footballers would have put ‘their lot in’ with Wandong – though this is difficult to verify in the absence of old club records, and Press reporting was primarily limited to scores only.  Football was to return to Wallan in 1933 with the formation of the Wallan East & District FC (whose history has been previously covered in another story at and they too also entered into the HHFA.   As for the Darraweit Guim FC they reformed once again for the 1935 HHFA season.

Results of Midland Rovers FC matches – .

1927 Third 

7/5       H                     Midland Rovers defeated Donnybrook                  Won

14/5     H         Midland Rovers           12-17        Hurstbridge          5-5    Won

21/5     H         Midland Rovers              7-9        South Morang       0-3    Won

28/5     A                                             vs Thomastown                                   (possibly Won ?)

4/6       A                    Midland Rovers defeated Arthurs Creek                 Won

11/6     H                          Epping defeated Midland Rovers                        Lost

18/6     H         Midland Rovers           2-8             Whittlesea          1-4       Won

25/6     A         Midland Rovers           11-11          Donnybrook       1-4       Won

2/7       A                                               vs Hurstbridge                                     (possibly Won ?)

9/7       A                                             vs South Morang                                   (possibly Won ?)

16/7     H                                             vs Thomastown                                     (possibly Won ?)

23/7     H                   Midland Rovers defeated vs Arthurs Creek              Won

30/7     A                                                 vs Epping                                           Lost

6/8       A         Whittlesea                    8-12       Midland Rovers    4-10      Lost

S-F at Whittlesea

13/8                 Midland Rovers            8-6        Epping                    7-11      Won*

* The match was protested but the case was dismissed

FINAL at Doreen

27/8                 Whittlesea                    5-9        Midland Rovers        6-1       Lost


5/5       A                 Midland Rovers defeated Donnybrook                          Won

12/5     H         Midland Rovers           6-4       Arthurs Creek              4-6     Won

19/5     A         Epping                         5-10        Midland Rovers          4-4      Lost

26/5     H         Midland Rovers         7-7          Wandong                     5-9      Won – at Wallan Rec Res

2/6       A         Whittlesea                    3-9        Midland Rovers           2-5      Lost

9/6       H         Midland Rovers          9-9        South Morang              4-10    Won ) – at Wallan East

16/6     H         Midland Rovers        8-14         Thomastown                5-4      Won )    Rec.Res.

                         The Advertiser (Hurstbridge) records Midland Rovers winning by 11 pts

23/6     H             Midland Rovers defeated Donnybrook                               Won*

30/6     A         Arthurs Creek              8-3       Midland Rovers           6-13     Lost

7/7       H                                             vs Epping                                                      ?

14/7     A         Midland Rovers           5-5        Wandong                     3-5       Won

21/7     H         Midland Rovers       10-15       Whittlesea                    8-2       Won – at Wallan Rec Res

28/7     A         Midland Rovers         11-5       South Morang              3-6       Won

4/8       A        Midland Rovers        11-19       Thomastown                1-6       Won

 * Donnybrook protest was dismissed

 2nd S-F at Epping

18/8                 Midland Rovers       8-14         Whittlesea                    8-6       Won

FINAL at Whittlesea

25/8                 Epping                      17-12        Midland Rovers           5-5       Lost

In 1928 Midland Rovers played their home matches at both the Wallan East Reserve and at the Wallan Recreation Reserve (also now known as the Green Hill Reserve)

1929 Failed to make Finals (Sixth ?)

4/5       H                         Midland Rovers defeated Reservior by 7pts               Won (low scoring game)

11/5     A         Whittlesea                5-16           Midland Rovers             4-4       Lost

18/5                                                           vs Wandong                                              ?

25/5     A                                                   vs Arthurs Creek                                      ?

1/6       A                                                     vs Epping                                                 ?

8/6       H         Midland Rovers    6?-3           Mernda                            4-13     Won

15/6     H                                                   vs Wandong                                             ?

22/6     A                                                   vs Reservoir                                             ?

29/6     H         Midland Rovers    5-4            Whittlesea                        4-8        Won

6/7      H         Midland Rovers      4-7             Donnybrook                    4-5       Won

13/7     H                                             vs Arthurs Creek                                            ?

20/7     H                                                   vs Epping                                                  ?

27/7     A         Mernda                    8-12            Midland Rovers             3-4       Lost

3/8       A                                                   vs Donnybrook                                        ?

several of the above 1929 (Unknown results) Midland Rovers likely Lost

1930 Semi-Finals

10/5                                                     vs Donnybrook                                            Won

17/5     H         Midland Rovers           5-_          Mernda                          4-6       Won

24/5     A         Midland Rovers       (52 pts)      South Morang         (32 pts)     Won

31/5     A         * Whittlesea                 6-6           Midland Rovers            6-4       Lost

 *  have also seen a report of this match that says Midland Rovers won, with  no other details

7/6       A                           Epping defeated Midland Rovers by 5 pts                  Lost

14/6     H                            Midland Rovers defeated Arthurs Creek                   Won

21/6     A         Kinglake                      6-2            Midland Rovers               3-6      Lost

this was the Kinglake teams first win for the season (scores also found reported as 7-3 to 6-2)

28/6     A                                             vs Reservoir                                                        ?

5/7                                                                   BYE

12/7                           Midland Rovers defeated Donnybrook by 5 pts                Won

19/7     A         Midland Rovers           7-5          Mernda                              5-11    Won

26/7     H                    Midland Rovers defeated South Morang by 9 goals        Won

2/8  No matches due to Hartley Shield matches (Association wanted to field their strongest team)

9/8  No matches due to Hartley Shield matches (Association wanted to field their strongest team)

16/8     A         Arthurs Creek              6-10       Midland Rovers                3-6      Lost

23/8     H         Midland Rovers          16-19     Kinglake                             3-1       Won

                                                      KFP gives the margin as 8 goals

30/8     H                                 Midland Rovers vs Reservoir                                       Match Abandoned *

* the match was abandoned due to spectators rushing onto ground just before half time) – the BEFA  possibly later awarded the match to Reservoir ?

6/9                   Whittlesea                    5-18       Midland Rovers               4-2       Lost

13/9     H         Epping                          8-12       Midland Rovers               6-8       Lost

20/9 ?   H        Midland Rovers            5-4       Whittlesea                         4-8       Won

Date ?                                                                BYE

S-F at   ?        Epping                        21-17       Midland Rovers                6-8       Lost

                                               (Epping score also recorded as 20-18)

Midland Rovers did not reform (disbanded) for 1931 season


KNOWN GROUNDS (subject to possible corrections*) –

1927 Inverlochy Castle Hotel Wallan – North side of Laffans’ Hotel
1928 Railway Reserve at Wallan East and Wallan Recreation Reserve
1929 Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Wallan – North side of Laffans’ Hotel & Railway Reserve at Wallan East
1930 Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Wallan – North side of Laffans’ Hotel

NB: * there may have been games played in other seasons at the Railway Reserve at Wallan East and Wallan Recreation Reserve



Season  Position         Coach          President         Secretary                   Delegates
1927         Third              J Johnston             ?                 J Butler                                  ?
1928         Runners-Up J Johnston             ?                 J Laffan (Jack)                        ?
1929         Sixth              J Johnston    G Manthorpe    J Laffan (Jack)   J Butler, J Johnston, J Laffan
1930        Fourth            J Johnston             ?                         ?                                      ?

Season             Vice-Presidents
1927                                 ?
1928                                 ?
1929       P Kenny, T Aungier, PA Wedding
1930                                 ?

Other –

1928 J (Jack) Laffan – was a Bourke-Evelyn Association Tribunal Member


MIDLAND ROVERS FC – Match Statistics


16-19-115 vs Kinglake              at Wallan East          1930
12-17-89  vs Hurstbridge        at Hurstbridge          1927


2-8-20      vs Whittlesea          at Whittlesea             1927


21-17-143   by Epping                                                  1930  S-F
17-12-114    by Epping               at Whittlesea           1928 FINAL


0-3-3           by South Morang   at Wallan East        1927

RESULTS (won/Loss record)

 RESULTS against each opposition Team  (1927-1930)

The results (not necessarily the exact final scores) are believed to be known for 53  of the 63 matches that the Midland Rovers are believed to have played in over four seasons.

Unknown results: 1928 – 7/7 H vs Epping     1929 – 18/5 vs Wandong 25/5 A vs Arthurs Creek 1/6 A vs Epping 15/6 H vs Wandong 25/6 A vs Reservoir 13/7 H vs Arthurs Creek 20/7 H vs Epping 3/8 A vs Donnybrook   1930 – 28/6 A vs Reservoir = 10 matches.  Of these 10 matches (which includes 8 games from a poor 1929 season) in all likelihood Midland Rovers would have won only 4 or 5 of all these games in total.

Aside from Epping having won at Wallan, the only other team to record an on-field win at Wallan was Whittlesea with their single success in 1930.  Reservoir likely obtained that one win also at Wallan (via a BEFA Delegates determination) in 1930 with the half time abandoned game due to the crowd invading the ground.  The results of 4 other home games are also not known.


Bourke –Evelyn Football Association Premiership List

When the BEFA reformed after the Great War, the Right to Challenge continued, with many Finals being decided after a Challenge final match, and other protested Finals matches/results as follows –

# Premiership No Awarded – after season was abandoned on completion of the home and away matches  (before the Semi-Final)

*      Challenge Final

**   Replay after Drawn Final

*** Replay after Protested Final

Other Misc. Finals details –

1913 Epping went through the season undefeated

1915 a season of nine rounds was played, however the Semi-Final and Final matches were abandoned –
(Final places were Mernda 24 Whittlesea 20 South Morang 16 Arthurs Creek 12)

1919 TUCKER SHIELD first presented 1919 (to be kept permanently by the first club to win it three times)
Epping won the first Final 5-3 to 3-7 and Hurstbridge on losing the Challenge Final protested the result, re an ineligible player – vote was lost

1920 after Mernda had won the first Final (5-3 to 3-7) and minor premiers Hurstbridge then Challenged
1921 Mernda likely won the first Final as Epping then Challenged

1922 Epping won the TUCKER SHIELD Outright, after First Final was drawn 7-9 apiece

1923-1924 Possibly no Shield/Cup was award to the premier team ?

1923 * winless Mernda def Epping in the Semi & then South Morang in the Final – and Whittlesea then
Challenged. There is no record of Whittlesea having played a Semi – against South Morang, and
if so they were defeated (Whittlesea also claim to have won the 1923 Premiership !)

1924 Whittlesea had finished minor premiers but lost their Semi-final against Epping. Mernda defeated
Reservoir in the other Semi. In the Final Mernda defeated Epping – and Whittlesea utilised their
Right to Challenge Mernda

1925 LISTER CUP first presented 1925 (to be kept permanently by the first club to win it three times)
Whittlesea lost their semi to Hurstbridge by 4 pts. Then after Hurstbridge 8-5 defeated Epping 4-7 in the
Final, Whittlesea exercised their Right to Challenge

1927 Epping were defeated in their Semi-final match against Midland Rovers, however they were later awarded
the match – but not before the Final had already been played ! In the ‘first’ Final Whittlesea 5-9 defeated
Midland Rovers 6-1_ at Doreen. With Epping being successful with their protest a ‘second’ Final (Replayed
Final) had to be played in which the initial declared premier team Whittlesea were defeated by Epping !

1928 Epping won LISTER CUP Outright

1929 EVERARD SHIELD first presented (to be kept permanently by the first club to win it three times)
Final replayed after a successful protested Mernda
Mernda also unsuccessfully protested the result of the Replayed Final

1930 Final Replayed after Whittlesea had successfully protested that the final bell was rung when the ball was out
of play, that the umpire had whistled time off to get the spectators off the ground, and that during this period
of no play the timekeepers rang the final bell – scores 5-17 to 6-8).

1931 EVERARD SHIELD won Outright by Epping – only the top three teams played off in the Finals
Final played at Donnybrook

Only 4 clubs recorded premiership success in the entire existence of the BEFA (1906-1931) – with 10 premierships to Epping, 7 to South Yan Yean/Mernda, 3 to Whittlesea and 2 to Diamond Creek.

Other BEFA club details –

Other clubs to make up the BEFA at varying times included – Arthurs Creek*, Donnybrook*, Doreen*, Hurstbridge, Kangaroo Ground*, Kinglake, Midland Rovers*, Reservoir, South Morang, Thomastown and Wandong*

* these six clubs no longer exist with Doreen being the first to fold in 1913, followed by Kangaroo Ground (1929), Arthurs Creek (1930), Midland Rovers (1930), Wandong (1934) and Donnybrook (1980).

In 1922 Kangaroo Ground were founder members of the Diamond Valley Football Association and played in this Association until the end of 1929 season. Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge were also early members of the DVFA, whilst Thomastown are known to have been members in 1930 season.

Of the other nine remaining clubs that survive today, eight play in either the Second or Third Division of the recently formed Northern Football Football League, which primarily is made up of many most of the teams that formerly played in the Panton Hill or Diamond Valley Associations/Leagues. Whilst Kinglake play in the Second Division of the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League.



Major Office Bearers –

Year              President                   Secretary/Treasurer       Secretary              Treasurer                                                                    1927       AV Wood (Yan Yean)                        n/a                          W Thomas            RE Dawson                                                            1928       AV Wood (Yan Yean)        J Watt (Arthurs Creek)             n/a                            n/a                                                                  1929                     ?                             J Watt (Arthurs Creek)            n/a                            n/a                                                                  1930       H Apted (Arthurs Creek)  J Watt (Arthurs Creek)            n/a                            n/a

 Representative Matches (1927-1930)

1927 None known to have been played

In 1928 the Bourke-Evelyn Association entered the inaugural competition for the Hartley Shield (Open), there was also a Under 21 competition (and later a Junior competition) which they did not enter a team. The format was knockout elimination, with a final to be played between the two remaining Associations on 21//7/1928 -the Metropolitan Junior Association defeating the CYMS Association in the Open final. Matches were sometimes played on weekdays.

1928 Bourke-Evelyn Association vs ? Result unknown*
*Bourke-Evelyn Association possibly withdrew before playing a game ?

The Bourke-Evelyn Association were one of eight Associations that played off for the Hartley Shield (Open Age) in 1929. Other Associations to enter were Victorian Banks, East Suburban Churches, Northern District, Brunswick and Coburg Churches, Victorian Football Association Sub District and the CYMS. Matches were played over several weekends including 2/6*, 2/8 and 9/8 (with the Bourke–Evelyn Association deciding to put back its own Association matches from 2/8 and 9/8 until the end of the season).

* B Stockdale and S O’Brien were the only Midland Rovers representatives on 2/6

1/6/1929 Diamond Valley Association 9-7 defeated Bourke-Evelyn Association 6-11 Lost at Preston

The Diamond Valley Association were reported as being undefeated at 2/8/1929 which conflicts with the inaugural 1928 competition format – thus competition appears to have changed from a knock-out format to a group format, which was then followed by Finals

2/8/1929 Bourke-Evelyn-Association vs Victorian Football Association Sub District Association at the North Melbourne Football Ground (result unknown)

From 1930 the Hartley Shield knockout format was replaced by a round robin to be played in two sections played over two Saturdays, with the two top teams (which were the Federal Association and the CYMS Association) to play off in the final – result of match however is unknown.

Open Age Division 2 (teams were divided into two Divsions)

9/6/1930 Bourke-Evelyn Association vs CYMS Association likely Lost

The Bourke-Evelyn Association cancelled its matches for 2/8 and 9/8 so that they could field their strongest team.  Given this move by the Association, did the possibly win their first match ……….?

2/8/1930 VFA Sub-District Association 13-14 Bourke-Evelyn Association 7-9 Lost?

9/8/1930 Bourke-Evelyn Association vs Eastern Suburban Churches Association Cancelled
(match was cancelled as neither team could make the final).

In 1931 the Bourke-Evelyn Association did not enter a team in the Hartley Shield

Hartley Shield (the Victorian Junior Football Union championship) Winners –


* the Federal Association retained the Open Age Hartley Shield permanently after their third win

Under 21

* the League Seconds team retained the Under 21 Age Hartley Shield permanently after their third win

# this research can find no record of the Under 21 Hartley Shield being held in 1935

– the Hartley Shield Competition appears to have ceased after 1935 –


So brings to an end the story of a football club that once existed in Wallan for four short years and who went by the name of the Midland Rovers Football Club.  Though they were never to win a premiership, the club was likely the first truly powerful footballing unit to represent the local Wallan & District townships.  Indeed this had not been the first attempt at forming a Combined team that Wallan footballers were a part of, as that had been done some three decades previous – and more on this is to be revealed in a later story that is to appear here at…………..


Any additional information or corrections are welcome to be contributed, and may be submitted on The story of a long forgotten football team to


Reference Sources used – State Library of Victoria, National Library of Australia, Evelyn Observer & South and East Bourke Record, Hurstbridge Advertiser, Kilmore Free Press, Kilmore Examiner, The Argus, Weekly Times, The Sporting Globe, Whittlesea Post, The Empire (Fremantle), John Polack, Brendan Stockdale (dec), Leighton Davies, Richard Cooper ( Admin), Robert Cockerell, memoirs of Fred Giddens (1981).