Footy delegates vote on South’s status: late 1892

By Richard Jones

The Bendigo Football Association’s delegates sat for a long session during its wind-up meeting in late 1892.

The agenda item which took such a long time to decide was whether South Bendigo’s application to join the then BFA should be passed.

The meeting was held at the old View Point Hotel with Mr J.A. Whitlam in the chair and eight delegates spread out below him.

The Bendigo Independent --- which circulated between 1891 and 1918 and was the Bendigo Advertiser’s daily rival --- devoted a lengthy column to the BFA’s final meeting for 1892.

Apart from president Mr. J.A. Whitlam the delegates present at the start of the meeting were: R. Nicolai (Nth. Sandhurst), T. Pownall (Bendigo), D.B. Lazarus and G. Cockerill (Sandhurst), Messrs. Roberts and Martin (North Bendigo), and Messrs. Leggo and Ward (Eaglehawk).

Before official business got under way a letter from umpires’ secretary Mr. D. Kerr was read out.

He expressed regret that “any offensive remarks which might have been made” in his letter to the BFA in the latter part of the 1892 season were received.

“I set out my disappointment that the Association had appointed Melbourne umpires,” Mr Kerr stated.

The letter was noted as having been received and Mr Whitlam ruled that the explanation was satisfactory.

After the balance sheet had been circulated and discussed, retiring delegates mentioned and thanked, the serious business got under way.

A letter from Mr. W.J Knight, South Bendigo club secretary, was read out with the Bloods applying to join the Bendigo Football Association.

The matter was defeated on the first reading.

But more was to come. Election of office bearers for the coming 1893 season was concluded with Mr. D.B. Lazarus elected unopposed as president with Mr. Martin and Dr. McKee named as vice-presidents.

Then it was back to the South Bendigo issue. The letter was re-considered with the incoming secretary Mr G. Pownall telling delegates that the Bloods’ had complied with the BFA’s payment of fees rules.

But he could not say whether the club could comply with another BFA rule.

“I do not know whether the new club has complied with that rule requiring that for the previous year of the club’s existence it must have occupied a serious place in junior football and, moreover, have had a members roll of 90,” Mr Pownall said.

New Bendigo club delegate Mr. Cockerill moved, seconded by his fellow Bendigo Football Club delegate Mr. Solomon, that the request of South “be not entertained.”

But before the votes on that motion could be counted an amendment was moved by Mr. G. Herbert (North Bendigo) and seconded by Mr. J.A Whitlam (outgoing chairman) that the request be granted.

“The secretary of the club was then called forward and he stated that the club had in the previous season secured second place on the junior premiership list,” the Independent reported.

“Furthermore we would have won had we not been thrown out for late starting,” he added.

“And we had a members’ roll of 90,” the secretary stated.

But Mr. Cockerill was not done with yet.

“My reason for moving that the request not be entertained is that in proportion to the number of inhabitants there would be too many clubs in our city,” he told the meeting.

“Ballarat, with 50,000 people, has only three clubs. Yet here, with 30,000, it’s now proposed for us to have six.”

And Mr Cockerill stated that when a junior club had obtained a name, with junior football “not of a high standard”, it aspired to become a senior club.

Mr Cockerill was certain that four senior clubs was a sufficient number for the Bendigo district  “and we already have five,” he stated.

However the amendment of Messrs. Herbert and Whitlam was carried when put to the vote with only the mover and seconder of the opposition motion voting for the original proposal.

South Bendigo’s three delegates Knight, Duff and Becker were then called forward, introduced and invited to take their seats.

And then the delegates got down to other business.

The BFA heard a proposal from a Mr. L. Herman that he’d offered a trophy valued at five pounds, five shillings to be given to the player kicking the highest number of goals in premiership matches.

A pre-cursor to today’s Ron Best medal, if you like.

But the BFA secretary was very cautious when speaking about the offer.

“Such a competition will cause great jealousy amongst players and I move that Mr Herbert be asked to donate the trophy to the club kicking the most goals ---- not a single player.”

The motion was carried by a hefty majority.

A sub-committee was voted in to oversee the recruitment of suitable umpires for the upcoming 1893 season with each person appointed called upon to sign “a proper agreement of service.”

The president and five delegates were named as the umpires’ committee for the coming season.

Eaglehawk delegate and new BFA vice-president Dr. McKee moved that a delegate from each participating club be appointed to a committee to deal with all disputes and protests.

“Considerable time and unnecessary effort would be avoided if such committee be authorised to deal with protests and disputes,” Dr. McKee stated.

The motion was carried but appointment of committee members was deferred.

An application from Mr. C. Salter was read out. Mr. Salter was keen to publish a weekly footy guide and the delegates voted unanimously to pass Mr Salter’s proposal.

The Independent also noted that in the final match for 1892, more of a social occasion than a fully scheduled fixture, North Bendigo Juniors (or Reserves) had defeated North Bendigo.

Final scores: NB Juniors 3 goals 7 behinds to NB 2.4.

The final balance sheet makes interesting reading.

The overall balance in the black had come to £46 8/- (forty six pounds, eight shillings – about $1500 today)), fines three pounds 13 shillings, umpires’ fees 18 pounds, 9 shillings, and then there was a gratuity to Mr Whitlam of 10 pounds (about $304 today) among other lesser gratuities to BFA officials and delegates.

Remembering that a pound back 130 years ago could buy much, much more than its equivalent in today’s currency.


Explanatory note: the Bendigo Independent was a daily newspaper (no Sundays) between 1891 and November 1918.

It had first been printed in 1862.

It merged with its daily competitor the Bendigo Advertiser in November 1918 and although it was the Independent management who had bought out the Addy the two, joined titles were published from then on as the Bendigo Advertiser.

Strange, amazing perhaps, but absolutely true.


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