Guernsey History

In the infancy of Australian Football, blue was the common colour of jumpers for people to wear, and most people who worked outdoors owned a blue jumper. Blue jumpers were originally from the Channel Island of Guernsey off the coast of France. The dye did not strip the wool of it's waterproof qualities unlike other colours, and therefore was ideal in keeping footballers warm and dry in this winter sport. Jumpers were expensive, socks and caps were relatively cheap, and they were easier to dye to other colours.
For example, Essendon's early guernseys were blue with a red sash, however, their socks and caps were red and black.

That is why these more affordable items were used to distinguish the various teams, until "modern" colouring methods became available. To see how football jumpers of all clubs have changed over the years, see Bob Meredith's fascinating football jumper web site; www.footyjumpers.com

But back to Carlton...

Carlton's jumpers were never blue and yellow/orange.
They were blue with white shoulder patches. Chamois was used on the shoulders as it was more comfortable to wear. However, after many washes the white dye or paint would wear off to reveal the yellow chamois underneath.
The image of the Carlton Guernsey the one-off 1900 jumper is incorrect and should be blue and white.



Various Carlton guernsey styles worn in an old players match against Melbourne. This is part of a larger photo and is believed to have been taken on 8 October 1881.
Former captain John Gardiner is holding the ball. Other possible players; Tom Power wearing cap to our left of Gardiner, Harry Guy to our right of Gardiner. Possibly John MacGibbon (sitting) front right. Possibly Charles Carter on the front left, although the 1881 timeline throws doubt upon it being Charles as he would have been just a 15yo in '81.
See 1881 October 08 to view this team photo.
(Image: Courtesy of the Brighton Historical Society)


Bill Casey photographed wearing the 1890-1907* lace-up in 1896 - note blue collar lining.
.*Some players continued to wear the lace-up for a further 11 years.


Tommy Leydin taken from an 1888 lithograph. Image courtesy of Trevor Ruddell M.C.C.

1909 - The monogram was introduced this year.
Note the differing monograms in this match, Harvey Kelly may be the player on the left.
This is an enlargement of a photo which appeared in the Australasian June 19 (p35) - taken at the June 12 Round 8, 1909 v St.Kilda match.
In 1909 Harvey Kelly is also photographed wearing one of these "alternative" monograms at training - see his Image Gallery.

This is the monogram from the blazer worn by Carlton secretary Patrick J. Cain in 1927. Could this be the same design as Harvey Kelly's?

Image Possibly the first known image of the 1890-1907 canvas jacket/guernsey with a number, worn by Viv Valentine - Round 13, 1913
Numbers were introduced for the 1911 final series.
Image; cropped from Table Talk photo July 24

Image 1890-1907 Never worn, believed to have been owned by George Bruce.
Now on display at the Carlton Museum

100 years old. Ern Cowley's wool guernsey. Ern played 1918 &1919 - focus & colour adjusted
Image: Antique Reporter auction site

1923: Tom Hart wearing the short lived 1923 - 26 white striped collared guernsey.

1873 - 1879


1880 - 1889

1887 May 28, Carlton played Adelaide on the M.C.G. "The players of each team wore large numbers on their breasts, and small cards were issued by Boyle and Scott, giving the names of the teams with their numbers." (Argus 30 May)

1890 - 1907 (1918*)

Round 7, 1907 June 15. Against Essendon: All Carlton players appeared in blue guernseys for the first time, instead of the blue canvas jacket with white chamois shoulders. .*Even after the introduction of the 1907 guernsey some players continued to wear the old canvas lace-up jacket. Viv Valentine may have been the last Carlton player to have worn one. He was photographed wearing the old design in his 116th and last game, the Semi Final, 1918




"Owing to similarity in uniforms of several League teams, and the consequent difficulty of distinguishing one footballer from another in close play, Carlton will have a large "C" worked on the front of their jerseys." (Referee April 07) -- The CFC monogram has been around since at least 1872 on Carlton documents. There is a CFC on Jack Donovan's 1872 illuminated address.

1910 - 1922

Note; Numbers were first used from the last game of 1911 Semi Final, 1911

1923 - 1926

Les Witto is pictured wearing this short-lived guernsey.

1927 - 1997, 2015 -


1998 - 2005


2006 - 2014



To celebrate the club's 150th. anniversary a small Carlton logo was worn on the back, below the collar for this season.

2014 Round 5

Players names appeared for the first time on the back on all AFL guernseys.
This trial was deemed a success, and will be used four times this season before the AFL makes a permanent decision.

2015 -

Towards the end of 2014, the club gave the members a choice on which monograme they preferred for home and clash guernseys. The vote was overwhelming and the club reverted back to the 1927 - 1997 style monograme. The small Carlton logo near the back collar was retained.


A siver/grey shadowing effect has been added to the monogramme. This was first worn in an official AFL match Round 1 March 22 against Richmond at the MCG.
As it was an away match the club also wore its 'white' shorts, but in fact they are a silver/grey colour which has copped a bit of ridicule from the media and supporters alike.
Carlton has said that these shorts will be worn at all away matches this season.

One Offs & Clash Guernseys

The Union Jack was worn on the Queen's Birthday Holiday (Thursday May 24) which had coincided with the Relief of Mafeking (May 17) in South Africa during the Boer War. A double celebration.
It would prove to be Queen Victoria's last birthday as she died January 22 1901, aged 81.
This image is incorrect and should be blue with white shoulder patches.

Round 4, 1900

Jack Worrall writing in The Referee; "All the Carlton men had the Union Jack on the back of their guernseys. Perhaps they thought St.Kilda were pro-Boer."

Round 13, 1904 July 30 v Melbourne

Reported in Friday's Herald (July 29) that Carlton will wear a broad white band on their guernsey.

Round 16, 1904

Carlton wore a sash on their 1890 - 1907 guernsey against Melbourne at Princes Park, predating the Fitzroy clash jumper by 10 years. See Round 16, 1904
Image Image
These are enlarged images from Melbourne Punch Sept 01 1904


Carlton played University at Princes Park. A jumper clash created confusion for both players and spectators, until the Carlton team donned a white sash at quarter time. Carlton easily won the match.

Round 14, 1914

Carlton wore a white sash against Fitzroy in a club game. An early example of a clash guernsey. According to The Argus, 17 July p12; "Carlton will wear a white sash on their guernsey tomorrow, so as to prevent a clashing of uniforms with Fitzroy on a dark winters day." Both club secretaries argued which team should change their colours, to read the article click here.Round 14, 1914 for more images from this match.
Image Left; An enlargement of the Round 14, 1914 guernsey. Image: Trove; Table Talk July 23 p22

Semi Final, 1914

Again, Carlton wore the white sash, (also reported as sashes), across their guernsey against Fitzroy. There are other photos from this match which show a sash was worn. See Semi Final, 1914 match or the 1914 Season Gallery. See Semi Final, 1914.
Image Action from the Semi Final 1914 (Image: Table Talk September 17)

Semi Final, 1920

Cold and wet conditions at the MCG caused some Carlton players (Hiskins and Greenhill) to wear their long sleeved Geelong type practice match jumpers under their guernseys. Image

Round 3, 1997


Round 9, 2005


Round 14, 2009



Carlton for their World Tour matches in London and Athens were given permission by the Australian Government to wear the nation's coat of arms on the left breast of the guernsey.

Round 3, 2017

Carlton wore it's "Blue Out" jumper, an almost all navy blue guernsey against Essendon at the M.C.G. It also had a navy blue CFC monograme outlined with white. Plus, hard-to-see blue numbers outlined in white. The guernsey was dedicated to the suburb of Carlton.


Round 7, 1996


Round 19, 2003 

Round 18, 2004


The Clash White Strip



The Clash Light Blue Strip



The Clash Blue and White Strip


2013 clash strip1.jpg


Round 4, Carlton wore the Blue and White clash strip against St. Kilda at Wellington New Zealand.
A red poppy was printed on the chest, above the AFL logo.
This season after a vote by members Carlton reverted to the much loved 1927-1997 monogram on all it's jumpers.
Image: Carlton captain Marc Murphy was awarded the inaugural Crowl - McDonald medal for best player on the ground.

2017 April 21 Round 5

Carlton played Port Adelaide on the Adelaide Oval
The new Carlton clash guernsey is an all white design with a slightly off white panel on the sides, it also has a blue CFC monogramme.

2018 Carlton Clash Jumper

A murky silver/grey colour with matching shorts, doing away with the 'traditional' white.
CFC Image

2019 Carlton's Indigenous Round Guernsey

Sam Petrevski-Seton CFC Image
Perhaps the Blues could adopt this colour scheme/design as its clash guernsey?

Other Carlton Indigenous Round jumpers (2014 - 2018) can be seen here> http://www.footyjumpers.com/carltonindig.htm

Round 16, 2022 July 01
"Carlton Respects" round v St.Kilda at Marvel Stadium
As well as wearing the now traditional orange socks for the Respect match, the Blues added orange piping to the sleeveless section and to the collar of the guernsey.

Image CFC Photo

Guernsey images supplied with kind permission from


1925 At the VFL meeting in held Friday 20th March, Essendon representative F. Reid said,
"In future clubs should not be allowed to have monogrames on their guernseys. These should be reserved entirley for league representative teams.
Mr. H. Clover (Carlton) took exception to this, and said Carlton's monogram had been a distinctive feature of its uniform for many years.
It was decided to permit the Carlton and Hawthorn clubs to use monogrames." (Trove; Sun News Pictorial March 21 p8)


The Sporting Globe September 02 1939 (p4) recalled the first time the canvas jacket was discarded for a woolen guernsey.
In 1903 Wesley College went on it's first interstate trip and played in Adelaide. They played the Prince Alfred College.
"The Melbourne boys wore purple woolen jerseys picked out with gold at the neck and on the sleeves. They replaced the old canvas jackets which laced in the front."
Prince Alfred College and St Peter's College in Adelaide, in 1904 both adopted the woolen guernsey.
That year (1904) all the Sydney Colleges playing Australian Football made the change.
Carlton and Essendon were the first VFL clubs to adopt the woolen guernsey in 1908.
However, as we have seen, blue woolen jumpers were the common outdoor garment in the early days of the game and preceded the canvas designs.


1864 Carlton wore an orange cap.

1865 Carlton wore a blue band on their cap.

1866 Carlton Annual Meeting, a proposal for a blue and white cap not taken up.
However, the book The Centenary Souvenir of the Carlton Football Club published in 1934 says of 1866,
"The orange cap, the sole insignia of a Carlton player, had been supplanted by the blue and white colours, which are now indicative of Carlton".
Note: The 1868 team photo shows some players wearing caps. There looks to be a lighter band on these caps perhaps these were blue caps with a white band?

1871 April; Carlton F.C. adopted plain dark Oxford Blue as official club colour.
Carlton abandoned orange cap for one of Dark Blue.

1873 At a general meeting held July 01.
It was resolved that Carlton's uniform was to be blue knickerbockers (shorts or pants that ended just below the knee), long grey stockings/socks, and a blue cap.
The first mention found of the Blues wearing the uniform in a game was in the Carlton-Melbourne match on July 19.

When the Carlton ventured to Ballarat for a match on August 23, the Ballarat Courier (August 24 p3) commented on the Blues' uniform. "The dress of the Carlton men, blue jacket and knickerbockers and grey stockings, was attractive, and contrasted very well to the rest of the players."

1874 Carlton abandoned the grey socks for ones of blue and white hoops.
The Leader May 09 1874 mentions the uniform of blue knickerbockers, shirt and cap, blue and white striped hose.
The introduction of these socks is one year earlier than previously believed.

1876 The Australasian, May 20, reported that Geelong, "...has adopted a new uniform consisting of dark blue and white striped hose and cap...", some two years after the Blues had adopted the striped or hooped socks.
{img hspace="10" vspace="10" align="left" src="show_image.php?id=40073">
Close-up of Ernie Ashton's cap. July 04 1896
Is there a faint outline of a CFC monogram?

1905 April 15
Carlton wear white shorts, (dumping the blue shorts/knickerbockers) and discard the hooped socks for ones of Navy Blue.*

Round 2, 1906*
The Age match report mentions the change over to Navy Blue socks was in this game.

The League decided that the Home team wear black and the Away team wear white shorts.
(Carlton wore Navy Blue shorts in Home games during the 1960's)

Joe Kelly and Ron "Soxs" Cooper refuse to wear the standard long socks. Both players prefer to play in the shorter socklets.


White Laces

"White bootlaces are becoming the vogue among footballers.
At Essendon on Saturday almost half the players in each team wore them." (Sun-News Pic. Sept 07 p12)
Some Carlton footballers can be seen wearing them during WW2. White laces was a chore in cleaning them after each match or training session. Various products were on the market to spruce up the laces by applying a whitener on them and letting them dry.

Round 3, 1997 April 13
Shorts and socks Sky Blue M&M, a one off promotion.
(Shades of 1873 and George D. Kennedy "The Sky Blue Skipper")

Round 21, 1998 August 23
This Sunday against Collingwood, Carlton wore "clash" socks with a wide white band with blue CFC logo.
Carlton now wear them for away games against Port Adelaide, St.Kilda and Collingwood.

Round 6, 2010 May 02
Carlton played Collingwood at the M.C.G.
The Blues wore the "clash" socks, even though this Sunday match was a Carlton home game.
The club was queried about this and the reply was, "It was a directive from the AFL, unfortunately we had no say in the matter."

Round 3, 2011 April 08
Carlton played Collingwood at the M.C.G.
Even though this was a Carlton away match, the Blues wore their "home" plain, dark blue socks.

Round 7, 2011 May 09
Debut of the light blue clash guernsey, worn against St.Kilda.
Light blue shorts with navy blue "clash" socks.

First Semi Final, 2011 September 17
Carlton wore it's tradtional guernsey with navy shorts against West Coast in Perth, but wore the navy blue "clash" socks.

Round 19, 2014 July 31
Playing Fremantle at Subiaco in Perth, Carlton wore it's current (2006-2014) navy blue jumper, shorts and socks.
While the home team Fremantle wore wore its alternative "away" white with purple vees jumper, white shorts, and hooped socks.

Round 17, 2016 July 17
Carlton wore its traditional navy blue guernsey and orange socks against West Coast on the MCG.
The orange socks were part of CARLTON RESPECTS, a new family violence prevention initiative promoting respect and equality.'
Each season since, the team has worn the orange socks in the CARLTON RESPECTS round.

Round 2, 2017 April 02
Carlton wore the white clash guernsey against Melbourne.
The new socks were navy blue with a large white band at the top and a narrow pencil thin white band below the large one.

Round 7, 2017 May 07
Carlton wore its traditional Navy Blue guernsey with white shorts against Collingwood.
The Navy Blue soxs with large white band on the top were worn.

Round 17, 2017 July 16
Carlton wore its traditional navy blue guernsey and orange socks against the Western Bulldogs on the MCG.
The orange socks were part of 'CARLTON RESPECTS, a family violence prevention initiative promoting respect and equality.'

Round 1, 2018 March 22
Carlton wore its away shorts against Richmond at the MCG. These "white" shorts are infact silver and are part of the clash kit the players occasionally wear.
However, the club has said that these shorts will be worn at all away games. The shorts have copped a bit of ridicule in the media and among Carlton supporters.
The monogramme this year has a siver/grey shadowing, perhaps it is to match this?

Round 3, 2020 June 21 (COVID-19 Pandemic affected fixture)
An away game at Geelong's Kardinia Park, the Blues wore its "home" navy blue shorts. The Cats wore white.
Was this an AFL directive?

Footballers Ancient and Modern

Article comparing Carlton's football gear from the 1880's to 1940.
From the Australasian May 25 1940 (p15)

Carlton's Colours


Articles: The Big C of Carlton

Blueseum: Emblems and Tradition | The Blueseum's Guernsey Image Gallery
Contributors to this page: blueycarlton , Jarusa , pblue , molsey , Bombasheldon , camelboy and WillowBlue .
Page last modified on Friday 16 of February, 2024 18:21:35 AEDT by blueycarlton.

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