" A very good system obtains in the Carlton club, viz., that of presenting illuminated addresses in recognition of a fixed period of service, and thus any suspicion of bribery cannot lie." - Bendigo Advertiser April 02 1892
Illuminated Addresses were a token of appreciation to mark an occasion such a person's long service to a business or a club. It appears these testimonials became popular from the 1850's in business and it is believed that Carlton was the first Australian Football club to honour their players in this way. The addresses were hand written and decorated on high quality paper and were accompanied by a speech usually from the President or a Vice President at the Annual General Meeting. The AGM was held early in the year prior to the start of the football season. At these meetings other awards were also made to the best players of the First and Second Twenties. Items such as silver belt buckles, silver tea or coffee services, gold lockets, or even pieces of furniture were awarded. Sometimes at the end of the season a Special Meeting of the club was held and some awards were presented. This recognition of club men was also a way of rewarding players in a supposed era of strict amateurism.
Many of the illuminated addresses were the handy-work of the dynamic Tom Power and Robert Richardson who were both pioneer players and administrators.
In May 1872 the Carlton AGM was held at the Bowling Green Hotel in Lygon Street.
The Australasian reported;
"The room presented quite an attractive appearance, being embellished with testimonials presented to veteran members, the club's old photos, the South Yarra Cup, won by the club, and a large photograph of the first twenty and office bearers, lately taken by Mr. Hewitt, of Swanston-street, and ornamented by Mr. R. Richardson."
When Tom Power passed away, the Australasian's cricket writer "Felix" (Thomas Horan, a Test cricketer and occasional Carlton footballer.) in November 26 (p20) 1904 wrote;
"Another old identity passed away this week. In the palmy days of the Carlton Football Club there was no name better known in football circles than that of T. P. Power. He was a host in himself in furthering the interests of the Carlton club, and as hon. secretary for several seasons he was simply the personification of energy.
Those were the days of J. Donovan, O. T. L. O'Brien, T. Gorman, J. Gardiner, G. Kennedy, W. Dedman, Harry Guy, G. Coulthard, W. Monie, W. Goer, W. Newing, J. Clark, G. Robertson and others, when the ringing shouts went up Saturday after Saturday, and season after season. "Forward Carlton," "Now then, Carlton."
I shall never forget the pride Tom Power used to take in connection with the preparation of illuminated addresses for presentation to players. R. Richardson who died some months ago, was a dab hand at ornamental penmanship, and many a Sunday he spent at Tom Power's request in producing really beautiful work, and the care bestowed on the ornamental work was only exceeded on the care bestowed on the composition of the address. The drafts were something to look at after all erasures, interlineations, and marginal corrections had been completed.
T. P. Power was a man of unbounded energy, and fine business capacity, and on the sport of football alone he published one of the most readable records* ever printed in Victoria. Old Carltonians especially will read of his death with keen regret. He attained the age of 60 years."
.* "The Footballer" was the first publication dedicated to Australian Football. The annual was published by Tom Power from 1875 - 1881 inclusive.
The earliest recorded illuminated address that Blueseum knows of was awarded to Harry Guy in 1868. (See below)
Only two images of printed illuminated addresses have been found so far. The earliest is the one presented to Jack Conway in 1870 and the other is Jack Donovan's presented to him in early 1872.
Conway's was unearthed in August 2015, lying long forgotten in the vaults of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust. Unfortunately it suffers from some water damage. Donovan's is on display at the Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
These two images will soon be made available on Blueseum.
The address says:
"This little souvenir in remembrance of the Challenge Cup is from the Members of the Carlton Football Club as a small token of the high esteem and regard felt for you since your Membership and a slight acknowledgement of the zeal displayed and enthusiasm inspired in your team as Captain in that memorable Victory." Season 1872
The Illuminated Address developed into the Life Certificate and other Certificates of Appreciation presented by the club to their players.
At Carlton, illuminated addresses were given to players who had played for four years. (Herald March 30 1894 p3)
So far, Blueseum has not found any awards presented before 1868.
1868: Harry Guy was presented with an illuminated address which was signed by every member at the AGM April 16.
1868: Francis Frank Hillsden presented with an illuminated address at a meeting on September 17.
1868: Harry Guy, Orlando 'Lanty' O'Brien, Adamson, Dr. Jim C. Duncan and Wilton Barfoot were presented with silver belt buckles for distinguished play during the season at a special meeting on October 08.
Harry Guy's 1868 belt buckle
1870: Jack Conway was presented with an illuminated address at the AGM April 28.
1872: Orlando 'Lanty' O'Brien and Bill Williams were presented with an illuminated address. Gold lockets were presented to Tom Power, Donovan, and Clarke for services to the club.
1873: Jim Williams, George D. Kennedy, Jack Donovan received illuminated addresses.
Harry Guy received a tea service as a mark of esteem for his long service to the club.
1874: John Macgibbon, Dr. Jim C. Duncan and W. 'Bill' Newing were presented with illuminated addresses.
1875: Billy Monie, John Blanchard, Sam A. Wallace, Andy McHarg received illuminated addresses. Billy Lacey, W. 'Bill' Newing, James S. Dismorr presented with gold lockets. Tom Power presented with a tea and coffee service. A vote of thanks to D. Jones for his work with the second twenty.
1876: Billy Dedman & James S. Dismorr were presented with illuminated addresses. George McGill, John Gardiner, William Goer & Jack Kendall received gold lockets.
1877: John Gardiner, Adam Kennedy & Thomas Kennedy were presented with illuminated addresses.
1878: George Robertson & William Goer were presented with illuminated addresses. George Coulthard with Edward Brendel & R. Knowles both from the Second Twenty presented with gold lockets.
1879: George McGill, Henry 'Harry' Nudd & James Robertson were presented with illuminated addresses.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph (Nov. 12 p3) reported that George Coulthard is to receive a testimonial for his football prowess during this season.
Is this his illuminated address in 1880?
1880: George Coulthard, John A. Turnbull, Barney Murphy & Joe H. Henry were presented with illuminated addresses. Wally Robertson & James Sutherland from the second twenty received gold lockets.
1881: No report of the AGM has been located. John Rickards received illum. ad. for the Carlton F. C. Sports Day held on Sept 17
1882: No mention of awards in newspaper report.
1883: Dick Frayne, Alick Coventry & J. Rickards were presented with illuminated addresses. Second twenty players, Melville (ring), Doran (locket), J. Muir & James Woods (medals)
1884: Eddy M. Brookes, Charlie Donovan, Tim Maloney & H. Wilson were presented with illuminated addresses. A 'handsome desk' presented to Jack Baker. Second twenty players; Martin & Woodburn presented with gold ring & chain, John 'Jack' Melville a tea & coffee service.
1885: Sam Bloomfield, Frank Spear & John 'Jack' Melville were presented with illuminated addresses. Treasurer McArthur B. Hearne received an illuminated address & a gold watch for services to the club.
Former original player, secretary & treasurer Tom Power was presented with Carlton's 1871 Challenge Cup, as a token of esteem.
The inscription says "To J. Byrne (captn) First Intercolonial Match Vics v Melbourne 1877"
The "Vics" were an Adelaide team originally made up of expats from Victoria.
Image: Origins of Australian Football Vol. 2 p161, M.C.C. Collection
An example of a charm bracelet/gold locket presented to James Byrne former Carlton player who became Melbourne's captain.
Many of these valuable gold items have not survived as they were probably pawned by the recipient soon after receiving them.
1886: Jack Baker and James Woods received illuminated addresses, Mick Whelan received a marble clock for best play. Alex Mair and T. Launders of the Second Twenty received gold lockets on April 02.
1887: Fred McIntosh, George Bragge, Mick Whelan received illuminated addresses. Tommy Leydin received a gold locket for 'excellent play.' Second twenty players T. Burns, W. Woodburn & J. Davie (gold lockets)
1888: John G. Cook received an illuminated address for long service to the club. Mick Whelan received the Mr. G. Ellis Prize a marble clock, by a vote of his team mates for "best play in the team." Gold lockets presented to Second Twenty players R. Calder & J. Lording.
The Carlton president Alexander Gillespie, secretary W. C. Donaldson and captain Tommy Leydin were presented with portraits of the First Twenty.
1889: Tommy Leydin, William Strickland & William H. Crapp received illuminated addresses. Second twenty players E. Tubb, M. Lemon, H. Carlyle, H. Steel received gold lockets
1890: Walter 'Dolly' Batters, Tim McInerney, A. 'Dick' Gellatley received illuminated addresses. Jim Russ, William Hannah, W. Mears, J. Kelly received awards.
1891: Jack Keane, Dan Hutchison, Charles Coulson , Bill Moloney received an illuminated address for long service to the club. Gold lockets presented to J. Adams & R. Carsons of the Second Twenty for excellence of play.
1892: Ned Sutton received an illuminated address for long service to the club.
1893: 'Gib' Currie, Jack Roberts, Peter Williams, Bill Walton received illuminated address for long service. Gold lockets presented to R. Cameron and A. Grant of the second twenty for excellence of play.
1894: At the AGM, "The Chairman intimated that no member had qualified himself by four years' play to receive an illuminated address." (Herald March 30 p3)
1895: unknown, possibly the same reason as in 1894 - no mention in The Age, The Argus or The Leader's AGM reports.
1896: Tom Blake, Fred Rolfe & Jimmy Aitken received illuminated addresses.
1898: "Following the old practice of the club there were four illuminated addresses presented to Messrs Woodhouse, Hannah, Patterson (Bill or Alby?), Balharry, for long service." (Herald April 06 p3)
1899: Long Service Testimonials presented to; J. Moloney (MLA), Ernie Walton, Chic Breese, R. Bob Armstrong
1901: Long service Testimonials presented to; Walsh and Thompson
1914 An illuminated address was presented to Archie Wilson by Carlton secretary J. Clinton in Shepparton, on February 11. (Kyabram Guardian Feb 17 p3)
To be completed
Pre VFL : Pre VFL Players : Pre VFL Rules of Football : Formation of the Club : Pre VFL Venues