This July the Blueseum reaches a fantastic milestone, 10 years of operation. The idea for the Blueseum was born on the day of the very last game of football at Princes Park in 2005. On that day at half time I was up in the top floor of the social club enjoying the atmosphere and began talking to a complete stranger as was often the case in the social club. We were all blues supporters so breaking the ice was easy. This elderly gentleman that I began chatting with was Ralph Madge. Ralph happened to be the timekeeper for the Carlton Football club for over two decades during our most successful period. He was the timekeeper for more premierships than most clubs have premierships.

During the half time break Ralph regaled me with several amazing stories about his time working for the club. I was sitting there in awe and loving every minute of it. Then it was time for the third quarter to start, but before I could get into the game a thought popped into my brain. I thought about the stories and how wonderful they were, and then I thought about Ralph an elderly guy at that stage. What would happen to the stories when Ralph is no longer with us? They would vanish. We need a place to preserve all the stories of this great club. (Sadly, Ralph passed away in 2011 at the age of 88).

Not long after that game I purchased the blueseum.org domain name and set about creating a place the Carlton story could be preserved. Initially I thought it would just be me plugging away for years slowly adding information until it became useful. The initial plan was pretty simple, every game and every player, that created the backbone for the site. The software that was used was collaborative so other Blues supporters could add information and edit what was already there. There were never any great expectations about anyone adding much to the site.

The Blueseum was promoted online on different Carlton forums at the time and in particular TalkingCarlton where some enthusiastic people were offering to help.

Then one day I got a phone call. On the other end of the phone was Stephen Williamson and he asked if he and Tony De Bolfo could come around to my house and have a chat as they had heard about this new site that was up and running.

I said "sure" and before I knew it Stephen and Tony were sitting across my kitchen table. My first impression was that this was some type of test to judge my bonifides. After I explained the reasoning behind what I was doing the most amazing thing happened. Stephen and Tony handed over a disk with a treasure trove of information, intricate information about every player, information about every game. It was 700 megabytes of spreadsheet heaven.

Now the problem was how to turn these spreadsheets into readable online content. This is where the few volunteers already on the site did amazing things. Through a co-ordinated series of data entry jobs we put the meat on the backbone of the site in a matter of months. The Blueseum was beginning to get noticed. Popular areas of the site such as the Locker Room and the Premierships page were developed. The club quickly realised what a great resource the Blueseum could become and the work of people at the club such as Greg Lee, Ian Coutts and Stephen Wilson meant that the Blueseum became integrated with the official club website. We were properly linked and connected yet still at enough arms length that the volunteers on the Blueseum could continue to work away without interference.

Within a year we had produced an enormous amount of material and had a group of amazing people contributing to the site on a daily basis making it better every day. This is where I would like to acknowledge some of these incredible Blues supporters.

Firstly, I must mention Stephen Williamson. He had worked for years compiling a list of every past player and every statistic available on them; date of birth, where they were born, the junior clubs they played for, every game they played for the club, everything. The fact that Stephen freely gave up this data to an idea shows you where his heart resides. Lesser men would have guarded their years of work not able to trust anyone else with it. Stephen with his great act of kindness provided the muscle onto what was just a skeleton for the Blueseum at the time. He has not stopped working in the last 10 years, constantly finding new information and including it on the Blueseum.

Michael Olsen joined the Blueseum very early on and had a massive impact straight away. Michael provides an incredible work ethic and management skill that meant all of the major projects that were needed in the early days were made possible. Through his own workload and the encouragement and co-ordination of others, what should have been jobs that would take months were done in a matter of weeks. Over ten years the pace has not let up and the majority of the everyday changes to the site involving our "new" history, latest games, latest articles, news are all the work of Michael.

Warren Tapner is a man that has honoured the memory of those who have served their country and also been a part of the Carlton Football Club. An ex-serviceman himself, Warren's attention to detail in research would put many of the best journalists in the country to shame. I implore all Blueseum readers to peruse some of the player profile pages of our war veterans and you will be amazed at the array and depth of stories available. You can start by clicking on the Serviceman page.

Rod Mitchell is the reason the Blueseum has an amazing repository of nearly 40,000 images. Through meticulous and backbreaking work Rod has scanned his collection of Carlton memorabilia into the site to provide light and colour on nearly every page to complement the words magnificently. Rod has also done a great job on player profile pages for all the club's reserves and U19s players.

Pete McLean has a PhD in pre 1897. At least he should have, if I could award one he would have had it years ago. Pete has uncovered information from the murky depths of the pre VFL history of the club from 1864 to 1896. Thanks to Peter's comprehensive research skills the Blueseum now has details for more than 800 players from the pre VFL period. To put that in perspective there have only been just over 1100 senior players for the Blues since 1897. This particular area of the site is one I am personally passionate about and deserves more attention, so check it out next time you are browsing. Click on our Pre VFL page to begin exploring.

Damien Green's passion is football cards and he kindly lent his time to provide faces to many of the names on the Blueseum. If you see a picture of a footy card on the site odds on it was put there by Damien.

Max Dixon, a former player for the U19s and reserves at the Blues has made a mountain of general contributions to the site but has also contributed material for our sections which cover all those players who spent time at the club but missed out on senior representation. This is a layer to the Blueseum which most other footy history websites ignore and one we are very proud to highlight. Our list of team photos, game information and player profiles from Carlton's reserves, U19s and yes even Little League is substantial. We also pride ourselves on documenting the contributions of the support staff and volunteers of the club.

Max is one of dozens of past players to have contributed their own personal stories, items of memorabilia and personal photo collections which greatly expand the richness of the content. Some examples include our collections from the Dyring family, Simmons family and Hopper family.

Liam Camilleri provided the graphics, Phil Ereaut (since sadly departed) contributed many of the tables and stats, Michael Riley information related to Boyles photographs, Dan Jago's work on contemporary history. There are too many great contributors to give a fair description to all. In all over 320 people have made direct contributions on the site itself. Thousands more have contributed by passing on photo's, stories and more to us over the years.

The Blueseum is not a finished project, work is still ongoing and help is always needed. If you can contribute directly or indirectly and make our great story get even better drop us a line at admin at blueseum.org

This Saturday the 18th July there will be an informal get-together at the North Fitzroy Arms in Rae Street (now run by Percy Jones). I along with some others will be there from mid afternoon and into the evening to watch the Fremantle game. I'll be the guy with the old style 1980's Blues scarf. Pay a visit and say hello and share a toast to the Blueseum.

Blueseum: Articles | Season 2015