Pre VFL Venues




(Allan & Tuxen Melbourne Map 1888, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. From Lionel Frost's book "The Old Dark Navy Blues".)
Other Carlton Football Club grounds on this map are the Madeline Street ground where the Roman Catholic College is marked, & the Recreation Reserve. Both venues are on the Melbourne University site. The Carlton Cricket Club's ground, "The Triangle," bounded by Sydney and Cemetery Roads, and College Crescent is also shown.
Note: 'C' - the rectangular area in the southern portion of Princes Park. In December 2015 the rate-payers' petition to the M.C.C. has been unearthed in the Public Records Office. It contains a map of the area requested and it was further south closer to cricket clubs' ground "The Triangle." Whether the M.C.C. provided this requested area or the other site further north is open for debate.

Princes Park - Carlton area from 1855 Melbourne Map


Map of Melbourne, showing the East Melbourne Cricket Ground (arrowed). The Melbourne Cricket ground is to the right. Hobson's Bay and Yarra River surveyed by H. L. Cox, 1866

Also shown is the old M.C.G. on the southern bank of the Yarra near where Crowne Casino* now stands, which became the Emerald Hill and Albert Park club first ground, and possibly the Lonsdale Ground just below the East Melbourne C. G. below the railway line.
.*Australasian's cricket writer "Felix," former Carlton footballer Thomas Horan, wrote January 11 (p19) 1902, the old M.C.C. ground was located quite near to where the Montague railway station is.
Maps Collection, State Library of Victoria.


M.C.G. in 1864, the football ground was adjacent, to the right of the picture.

1866 July, football in Richmond Paddock (Melbourne Football Ground). M.C.C. clubs rooms on left. Note: Four posts topped with flags in the distance.
Carlton played Melbourne on this ground on July 21. SLV image b49119

1866 view of the MCG. Punt Road oval and the St. Kilda Cricket Ground is in top centre. The Warehousemans/Albert Ground is on St.Kilda Rd. Also the short lived rail loop from St.Kilda to Windsor can be seen.
Image: Courtesy of the MCC's "The Yorker" No.39 Autumn 2009

Click below for a more detailed look at this incredible drawing/map covering the entire CBD from 1866, courtesy of the East Melbourne Historical Society (EMHS)

Above; The MCG 1870-1875 taken from the newly completed tower on Government House.
The Melbourne Football Ground (Metropolitan Ground) nick-named the 'Gravel Pit,' is shown at the rear and to the right of the M.C.C. club rooms. A reversible grandstand was built to the right of the club rooms in 1876. The seating could be reconfigured so patrons could watch the cricket on the 'G' and then the football on the outside ground during the winter months.
The oval in the foreground is the Civil Service - also known as the Scotch College ground. This is now part of the Tennis Complex. In between the two ovals is the City to Richmond railway tracks. The two ovals seem to be very close in the photo, but this is merely foreshortening due to the camera lens used.
On the coloured illustration of the M.C.G. above, there is a paling fence shown on the left facing the viewer. In this photo there is a fence extending from the arena on the right hand side. Perhaps this is where the artist did the sketch. The club rooms would in in the correct position for this to be the artist's site.
See below for further information on this image and the East Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Unlike the other senior clubs, the Blues did not have a permanent home ground until 1897.
They were hamstrung by the Melbourne City Council, who would not grant them land to erect permanent structures such as fences, club rooms, grand stands, and charge for admittance.
Other local councils provided their clubs such as North Melbourne, Fitzroy, St.Kilda, South Melbourne and much later Collingwood with facilities and actively encouraged their local teams. It was an ongoing struggle for Carlton over the 33 years from 1864-1896.
They played home games on many venues and were the "gypsies" of the competition. The Melbourne Cricket Ground was the Blues' home from 1885 until the M.C.C. took over the running of the Melbourne Football Club and booted Carlton from the arena in (1890)). Despite these disadvantages, overall Carlton remained a very successfull club.

Melbourne to the north of the University in the early 1860's was sparsely settled and was essentially bush land.
To read a description of suburban Carlton in 1864 see Formation of the Club


Former captain of Essendon in the 1890's Alick Dick in an interview in the Sporting Globe May 08 1943 (p4) said;
"He could remember the great George Coulthard in the late seventies playing with Carlton in Royal Park.
It was just south of the Zoo and Billy Lacey and Tom/Billy Dedman were prominent players of that day."
Alick Dick was the uncle of Carlton's WW1 era captain Billy Dick.

"Old Boy" (R. W. E. Wilmot, 1869-1949) writing in the Australasian (June 11 1938 p21) said;
"Carlton began on the Madeline street reserve; then the club moved to Royal Park, and also played in the University paddock, where Newman college now stands ..."
The club's home ground in Royal Park was near the main entrance. Possibly near the Royal Children's Hospital. (See Alick Dick - he said it was near the Zoo, see above)
The team would meet and change into their football gear at the Clyde Hotel Cardigan Street, then walk through the University and across Royal Parade to the Royal Park ground.
This ground was virtually in it's natural state, with patches of gravel and the playing surface was very uneven.
Because of these playing conditions many clubs refused to play the Blues there.

The Sporting Globe May 08 1943 (p4) in an interview with Essendon captain Alick Dick who was the uncle of Carlton player Billy Dick. Alick mentions watching Carlton play in Royal Park with George Coulthard, Billy Lacey and Dedman, and that the ground was just south of the Zoo.

In 1870 due to rain, Carlton's usual ground in Royal Park was not available and they were forced to use one of the other areas of the park. This area was described as devoid of grass and covered with sharp flinty stones and the occasional boulder!
A report of the Carlton vs Melbourne match at Royal Park in August 1871 said that the Carlton ground was smaller than Melbourne's in both length and width. However, it was grassed from goal to goal with a few bare patches.

Royal Park was probably similar to the Richmond Paddock (Yarra Park surrounding the M.C.G.) with both park lands being in their "natural state".
A 1870 report of the Melbourne vs Carlton match on Melbourne's home ground mentions it sloped down the hill towards Richmond and that a large tree was growing in the middle of the playing area!
Before the Melbourne-Carlton game on June 10 1871, The Australasian reporter walked the Melbourne ground and said;
"Football itself is hazardous enough without making it more so by playing on such a rough ground, as there are two or three small creeks and a path running right across it, without of taking into account it's being dotted about with trees."
"It is the worst ground of any of the city or suburban clubs."
A month later on July 08 1871, The Age newspaper commenting on the popularity of football and the non availability of cricket grounds for football, said this of the Richmond Paddock;
"But in the meanwhile the football players have to purane their pleasure under immense disadvantages. The place to which they most resort is the Richmond Paddock, and that is crowded with trees of a dingy and disreputable character. Highly dangerous to the players (for a week ago a man was nearly killed by one of them); they are neither of use or ornament to the suburb in which they are allowed to exist. We want a good football ground, free from the impediments, and so marked out that the genus larrikin cannot intrude on it, and the Government or corporation should give it to us at once."
The Melbourne or Metropolitan ground was not the only place football was played in Richmond Paddock and many teams played there on any Saturday.

"From two o'clock to three o'clock streams of people came pouring in from three different points, and when the players had stripped for the contest the playing ground had taken possession of by the crowd, and it was past the appointed time ere the two mounted troopers present could get the space cleared. Among the onlookers there was such a large sprinkling of the larrikin or cheeky boy element, and it would not be hazardous to say that the productive suburbs of North Melbourne and Carlton had poured forth each its juvenile population.
A good square 200 yards long, and about 100 broad, having been formed, the ball was set in motion and the fray began. The opposing teams, as they opposed each other, prior to the ball being kicked off, looked very well. The fine stalwart representatives of the Melbourne Club in their showy knickerbocker uniform, with red hose and red caps, drew forth special notice for their muscular appearance, and if one had not some previous experience as to the play of the rival teams, Melbourne would have favorites at 2 to 1.
Although Carlton in their modest garb looked not so grand as the Metropolitans, yet there was an unmistakable wiry cut and come again sort of look about them that could fail to attract attention. However, the ball has been kicked and te players are hard at work. The Carlton men responding to the call "now boys" issued by their captain, sent the ball towards the Melbourne goal, in front of which a fierce struggle took place."
(Leader June 27 p11)

"I can clearly remember when Carlton played at Royal Park (Carlton) in the early seventies. There was no boundary fence then, and the boundary line around the playing arena was marked by a spade cut about 9in. wide, on the grassy ground, while the goal and behind posts were placed in position on Saturday afternoons. Players attended at the matches with their football uniforms underneath their ordinary clothes, which they removed and placed in piles against the gum trees growing growing in the vicinity." (Click on full 1937 article below)

A section from the 1873 Sands & McDougall Map.
Showing the Warehouseman's C. G. (now the Albert C. G.) & the St.Kilda C. G.

1870 Charles Nettleton photo Madeline St. (Swanston St) looking north, Canada Hotel, Lincoln Square.
Top left, possibly Pic-nic Reserve/Madeline St. Reserve university precinct.
Large building on skyline possibly St. Judes Church, built 1866 - 1870 corner Lygon, Palmerston and Kepple Streets.
Carlton's 1876 - 1877 home ground?
Image cropped, focus, brightness adjusted and enlarged
SLV H96.160/1529


The Carlton Football Club in 1876 arranged to play home games at Pic-nic Reserve, Madeline Street (Swanston Street), now Newman College in Melbourne University.
Carlton had spent a considerable amount on fencing and levelling the ground until the playing surface was one of the best in the city.
The Blues were planning to have an earthen embankment constructed around the ground for the benefit of the spectators.
The owners, the Roman Catholic Collegiate of the Melbourne University, then evicted Carlton because they were charging for admittance.
The admittance fee was only charged so Carlton could repay the considerable debt it had incurred in improving the ground and establishing facilities.
The club had only played 16 games on the new ground from the latter part of 1876 and through the 1877 season.
After the Blues departed, the University allowed North Melbourne/Hotham F.C., the Albert Park club, and the Irish game of hurling to be played on the ground and admission fees were charged!
Scroll down the page to read about the Madeline Street ground.

Carlton then played some home games at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is now a housing development.
Early in 1878 the club had applied to the City Council for the use of land in the southern portion of Princes Park. By May the council had received a petition of more than 4,000 signatures from rate payers and residents calling on the council to provide that part of Princes Park for the use of the football club.
This 1878 petition was recently (Dec 2011) unearthed by the great-great grandson of Tom Power, to see the actual petition, and read the article produced by the Carlton Football Club called,


click here> http://www.carltonfc.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/4311/newsid/127012/default.aspx


By 1879 the Blues had secured some land in the southern part the Park, called Princes Oval.
Princes Oval was a bit of a misnomer, as the the game of football was still played on a rectangular field.
Carlton's rectangular ground is shown on the map at the top of this page.
A diagram of the rectangle with player position is shown below. (see 1876 Ground Plan below.)
This ground was mainly used for football as the Carlton Cricket Club played on the area of land known as "The Triangle". (For location, see map at top of the page.)
The City Council refused to allow any permanent structures to be erected, any fencing and changing sheds had to removed at the completion of each season.
The Melbourne City Council steadfastly refused to allow a charge to be made for admission.
After each football season, the Council would then allow cattle to be grazed on the playing area, undoing all the work the ground staff had achieved throughout the year.
A preview of one of few senior matches to be played there in 1884, described Princes Oval as the "biggest ground in the metropolis".

"Later - about 1875 - the Carlton Football Club had their ground in Princes Park. A square area was enclosed with a portable picket fence, made up in sections of eight to ten feet. On that ground, and on the grounds of other clubs, I saw George Coulthard playing in 1867*, and some of his team-mates were Jack Gardiner captain, Paddy Gunn, Billy Goer, and "Barney" Murphy." (Click on full 1937 article below)
-* Should read 1876.

Former Carlton captain turned politician John (Jack) Gardiner M.L.A., tried to get the Victorian Government to step in to intervene between the club and the City Council.
In the mean time, important home games were switched to the M.C.G. or to the East Melbourne ground.
The M.C.G. web site says Carlton played it's first home games on The 'G in 1885.
Carlton called the M.C.G. "home" five years before the Melbourne club played it's home games there, and, only after it was amalgamated with the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1890.
Other Carlton home games were played on the South Melbourne Cricket Ground, The Warehouseman's Ground, University Cricket Ground, Richmond City Reserve, and also Collingwood's ground, Victoria Park.

In fact the very first V.F.A. match the newly formed Collingwood club played, was against Carlton in Round 1 of 1892 at Victoria Park.
This was actually a Carlton home game, and the Blues donated the gate takings to the new club.
The Blues had supported the efforts of the former junior Britannia club to gain admission to the V.F.A. as Collingwood.
Carlton had rearranged their fixture to play the 'Woods in Round 1, because the newcomers had lacked the sufficient number of games to play for the premiership.
This "hand of friendship" was not forgotten when a then struggling Carlton was asked to join the V.F.L.
The close bonds between the two clubs lasted some 18 years until the Grand Final of 1910, then this cordial relationship changed.
(See Grand Final, 1910 )

During October 1896 the eight most popular clubs seceded from the V.F.A.
They were frustrated with the Association's strict amateur only stance, having the difficulty of travel to substandard which were then outer suburban grounds, and the V.F.A.'s inability to make important changes to the way the game was played.
The main condition placed on the Blues to enter the newly formed V.F.L. competition in 1897, was that Carlton had to secure a home ground where admission could be charged.

The Melbourne City Council finally relented, and granted the club permanent tenure over 13 acres of land, now known as Visy Park, in the northern part of Princes Park.
This was the completion of a 17 year campaign first led by William Ievers, and later Cr. Cook, John Melville, and others on behalf of the club.
The land granted however was the site of former quarries, then rubbish dumps.
In the city council there were fears of disease being spread if the ground was hastily disturbed. It had to be properly cleared, levelled and then rolled.
The new Princes Park ground was not ready until June 22 1897, and the first game scheduled on it was the Round 7 clash against Collingwood.
This was a nice piece of fixturing by the two clubs and the V.F.L., as it was a repeat of the V.F.A. debut of Victoria Park in 1892.

Princes Park remained the Blues home ground until May 21 2005, when the ground saw the last AFL match played there. Fittingly this was against the Blues' oldest and traditional rival, the Melbourne Football Club.
Home games were then shifted to the Docklands Stadium and to the M.C.G.
Later, Princes Park was redeveloped into Carlton's state-of-the-art training facility.


For a newspaper report on junior football Royal Park by The Argus, July 09 1883;
Click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8536700


The question as to whether public reserves which have been vested in local municipal bodies for the general public good, can or cannot be used by clubs for the purpose of charging for admission to sports, etc., is at present occupying the attention of the public. The following extract from the Herald, which bears on the subject, will serve to show in what light this subject is viewed in the metropolis.
It says: - On Monday next a deputation is to wait on the Minister of Lands to ask him to reserve to the Carlton Cricket and Football Clubs that portion of the Prince's Park which has for a length of time been used as a cricket ground. It seems that the City Council has latterly expended considerable sums of money in trenching and planting a portion of the ground, and this is to be the excuse for requesting a better title. At the outset, it may not be unnecessary to remind Mr. Tucker that Princes Park is one of the public reserves and is in reality the property of the public.
The parks and gardens of Melbourne - the lungs of the city and its suburbs - are something of which we are justly proud, and any attempts to curtail them, or to close any portion of them to the public will be resented with an ardour which cannot be withstood. No one has any desire to interfere with or throw obstacles in the way of the practice of invigorating athletic sports, but it must not be forgotton that they are not of that paramount importance which would entitle them to overwhelm the rights of the citizens.
Whatever may be said to the contrary, the object in view is to gain the power to charge for admission, or in other words to make the citizens pay before being permitted to enter upon their own estate. The main question is the advisableness of filching any portion of the public estate, and conferring it upon a private club.
(Riverine Herald 29 June 1885 p2)


For a description of Carlton and it's surrounds in a letter to The Argus, April 13;
Click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8630447


September 28
The Argus reported on the Melbourne City Council meeting into the the proposed enclosure of land in Princes Park for the Carlton Football Club.
Click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8462973


Opening of Princes Park, June;
Click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9179468


The "Triangle" is the piece of land fronting Royal Parade, bordered by Cemetery Road and College Crescent. (See the Tuxen and Allen map above.) It now houses accomodation for students of the Melbourne University.
It was the Carlton Cricket Club's home ground until the present day Princes Park Oval was established in the northern end of the park in 1897. Some people claim that Carlton played football matches on this ground. Practice games, maybe, but in answer to a reader's letter (G. A. of Brunswick) in the Leader newspaper of February 27 (p14) the reply was;
"The Carlton Football Club never played a premiership match on the old triangular cricket cround."


Adelaide Advertiser August 02 report;
H. C. A. Harrison, in Adelaide for the football carnival, talking about the early days of football said;
"Mr. Harrison related the difficulty they had in the old days in getting good grounds to play on, and stated that for 18 years the Melbourne Cricket Club closed their grounds to football and other cricket clubs followed suit.
During those 18 years the cricket club might have made £60,000 out of football.
The first big match they played on the M.C.C. ground was between Carlton and Melbourne, and though at that time there were no mounds and only one little grand stand they netted £450 at the gates with charges of 6d and 3d.
Even in the parklands the people used to roll up in tens of thousands to see their games, and so dense were the crowds that they could not be kept back, they being often forced to play between avenues of people no wider that King William street.
The three card trick men, too, with all their paraphernalia used to set themselves up in the middle of the playing ground, and the only way they could move them was by charging them in a body. (Laughter)
Footballers now had much better times. Their game was a grand one - the best there was - and he hoped nothing would ever occur to weaken it's prestige." (Cheers)
To read article click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5299392


The Argus September 26
Excerpts from a 1881 book on the Carlton Football Club.
Concerning player payments, crowd behavior, training etc.
To read The Argus article click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2040212
If anyone knows the whereabouts of this book, please contact Blueseum www.blueseum.org/tiki-contact.php or the club.


Melbourne and Carlton's grounds, The "Gravel Pit," Royal Park and Madeline Street.
"Yes!" he said, in continuation of his comments of champion footballers of days gone by, "all the great footballers don't live in these times. Why, I mind me of some of the great players when there was very few clubs - Melbourne and Carlton mainly - and very few players. Think o' that! An' no nicely rolled green lawns for to play on. The Royal Park and the Madeline street reserve for Carlton, and "the hard," beside the Melbourne Cricket Club for the "red legs." By jings!" and he fairly chuckles as he went on. " 'The hard' was the ground to try a chap's love er the game. There was a gravelled path runnin' across it an' I've seen many a feller that was underneath' man in a heap take about five minutes to pick the pebbles outer his nose, chin, knees, an' hands after the crowd above him went after the ball." A second or two's thought and he proceeded, "Two goal sneaks - they called 'em 'goal sneaks' them days Nicholas, of Melbourne, an' Dedman of Carlton, useter have rotton times, 'Olden the ball wasn't a crime then. It was the opposite, An' stacks on the mill." was one 'er orders of the day. An' goal sneaks, bein' "sneaks," was treated as such, and downed proper. Yes! and rolled on. Each 'er these two little 'uns game 'uns they was, must er took 'ome in their time enough gravel an' sand fer a small concrete foundation. Pity there wasn't no concrete foundations in them days. On'y bluestone ones.
The Melbourne 'hard' was the worst ground. Carlton's patch of Royal Park was a movin' scene, 'er to-day, an' somewheres else the next time. But it was grassed. That was somethin'. Good green grass it was, too. Cows et it. It wasn't sand. Ner yet gravel. Bearable it was. But when Mr. Gatemoney came on the scene an' they go hold er' the Madeline street reserve - Oh my! - wasn't it scrumptious? Flag posts - small uns - marked the boundaries them days. An' the crowds floated in between 'em an' nearly covered the playin' spaces. As the days drawed in the last quarter of an 'ours play was played in an' amongst the spectators. they didn't have 'bobbies' to keep 'em in place then. Figure 8's was formed - two small round spots in front of the goals an' the sides nearly meetin' in the middle - an' players useter dash through the people when they was runnin'. Knock some of them down, too, sometimes. By that time there was generally 16 or 17 men on each side follerin' the ball - a long way behind - and three or four being mended near where the boundaries was s'posed to be. An' the empire was missin' lost in the fog an' darkness."
Then, as he left for home, "Great times, them," he muttered.
(Trove; Australasian May 19 p27)


From The Argus October 03 a description of the Royal Park area from first settlement by the vice president of the Historical Society of Victoria.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4410614


The Perth newspaper, the Sunday Times ran a story about the early days of the Carlton Football Club, their Royal Park ground and George Coulthard.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58788639

See link at bottom of this page for photos and details of some former football grounds.


(183 metres x 137 metres approx.)
1876 Ground Plan

From "The Footballer" 1876 edition, courtesy State Library of Victoria.


It is not yet known when the shape of the playing arena officially changed from a rectangle to an oval. It seems that once football was played on cricket grounds the game adopted the oval shape of the arena.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground playing surface was originally laid down as a square. During the 1861 - 1862 cricket season approval was given to alter the shape to that of an an oval. (Argus June 30 (p5) 1862)

In 1863 The Argus Tuesday 28 July, in a report on crowd encroachment in the recent Melbourne-University match and it's resumption the next Saturday, says;
"All visitors are to be requested this time to keep outside the flagged circle."

1877 June 09, Carlton played Melbourne on the M.C.G. this was first time for many years that a football match was allowed to be played on the cricket ground, the report says it was played on the full circle of the ground.
Monday's Argus said;
"The goals for the match were pitched across the ground, one being just below the bowling green reserve fence, and the other 50 yards from the grand stand, and the boundary on each side was the whole width of the ground, being over 150 yards instead of the 100 yards usually considered a proper width. The play as a consequence became too much scattered at times, and was not so exciting as it would have been had the combatants been obliged to keep nearer together."

1878 May 18, Carlton played Hawthorn on the East Melbourne C. G.
The goals were placed about 160 yards apart, running north-south, and the playing surface was a circle of that diameter.

1878 June, Albert Park following the lead of Carlton and Melbourne, decided to play on the South Melbourne C. G.

1879 July 01 Tuesday Separation Day Holiday - The First Intercolonial Match.
This was held on the East Melbourne ground between Victoria and South Australia.
Carlton captain Jack Gardiner was appointed as Victoria's first captain.
The following sketch of the game clearly shows the oval playing arena. This view is from the Northwest looking towards Jolimont Road. (M.C.G./Richmond)
The goals run roughly North East - South west towards the Flinders Street Station to Richmond railway line.
The building with the curved roof adjacent to the ground is clearly shown in the 1870-75 EMCG photo shown further down on this page.

1879 August 13
"Another match under the electric light will be played by the Melbourne and Carlton on Monday, when there will be 50 per cent more light on the circle." (Evening News, Sydney August 13 p2)

1879 August 16
Waga Wagga Advertiser writing about the Carlton - Melboune played under electric light at the M.C.G., said;
"The circle was ringed around by a dense throng, and the grand stand was filled."

1880 A letter to The Argus 01 June, mentions matches played at the East Melbourne C. G. and the M.C.G. are now being played on the full width of the ground. The writer also says that the rules of the game say that the match should be played on a rectangular ground, and that Carlton and Melbourne are responsible for "this abuse".
To read the letter click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5982124
See 1880 June 1 for responses to this letter.

1881 May 28
The Australasian (p12) reporting on the Hotham vs South Melbourne on the East Melbourne ground said;
"The recent alterations to the cricket-ground rendered necessary by the action of the City Council in carrying the street through it - for a purpose at present certainly very mysterious - has given the club an opportunity of providing more liberally for the football matches, with the result of one of the best playing spaces that could well be wished for.
The distance between the goal-posts is 180 yards, and could be extended to 200 if so desired, and the greatest width of an oval formed by the seats surrounding is 150 yards. This, however, is straightened off by a row of flags to 120 yards - quite large enough.
The ground is firm, and level throughout and is in every respect a vast improvement on its last year's condition, as its size was then too small, and some what cramped the efforts of the players."

Probably the street is Wellington Parade South

1882 September 09
Carlton played Essendon on Princes Oval.
The Bendigo Advertiser (September 11, p3) in it's match report said;
"Only one football match of any importance was played here this afternoon, but it was between Carlton and Essendon plenty of interest was taken in the match, and the spacious Princes oval, or rather square, was surrounded by a thick ring of spectators."
So was Princes Oval still a rectangular playing arena?

1885 The Friendly Societies' Ground is described as 120 yards in width and tapering towards the ends. (See article at bottom of this page.)

1888 an English newspaper published a description of Australian Football mentioning the curvature of the boundary.
To read a reproduction of the article, click here> Pre VFL Rules of Football then scroll down the page.


VenueYearsOther Information
Princes ParkPre 1864?Two club members recalled playing near the corner of Grattan & Drummond Streets, prior to moving to Royal Park - See Formation of the Club
Royal Park1864 - 1876, 1878Near the main entrance, near the Royal Children's Hospital? Another report said it was just south of the Zoo
Madeline Street (renamed Swanston Street)Part of 1876 - 1877Now Newman College, Melbourne University. After spending a considerable amount on ground improvements, the club had to vacate the ground because it charged admission to recoup it's expenses. Carlton went back to Royal Park for 1878.
Metropolitan Ground 1864 - 1885 A few home games, north side of M.C.G. known as the "Gravel Pit," For a description see August 23 1879 Melbourne's home ground 1858 - 1885
Melbourne Cricket Ground 1877, 1885 - 1889 1890 - 1896 Home Ground 1885-1890 Some home games prior to 1885, and 1891 - 1896. The M.C.G. was Carlton's home ground for 5 years before it became Melbourne F. C.'s in 1890.
East Melbourne Cricket Ground 1878 - 1893 First football game at the venue was Carlton vs Hawthorn, May 18 1878. West side of Jolimont Road between the railway and Wellington Parade, became rail yards in 1920's, now a housing estate. For the history of the ground, click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4627834
Yarra Park/Richmond Paddock 1878 Park surrounding the M.C.G. and Punt Road Oval. Played there in the early days and June 15 1878 because East Melbourne was waterlogged.
Princes Oval 1879 - 1886 Southern end of Princes Park, see the above map.
South Melbourne Cricket Ground 1889, 1890, 1891 Played Williamstown, Footscray (twice) and Norwood.
Warehouseman's Ground 1891,1892, 1893 Now known as the Albert Ground, St. Kilda Road. Played Melbourne (twice), Footscray (twice) and Williamstown
Victoria Park 1892, 1895 Collingwood's debut VFA match in 1892 and a clash in 1895 against St. Kilda, both matches were Carlton home games.
University Ground 1894-1896 Also played on the University Paddock, Hibernian Reserve Madeline Street. Same venue?
Richmond City Reserve 1896 Played Richmond. The match was transferred from the University ground. The reserve now known as Citizens Park is behind the Town Hall, corner Church & Highett Streets.


VenueYearsOther Information
Albert Park1865 - 1877Albert Park Football Club, the South Park Football Club, & the South Melbourne Football Club (an earlier club). A.P. original ground lower end of Clarendon Street near the Yarra, 1873 new ground in the park lands. Record June 17 1922 mentions, played on now what is Albert Rd. the ground extended from Moray to Clarendon St. wings near Loretto Convent the other the Park fence.
Brunswick Cricket Ground1890 - 1893, 1895Played Brunswick Football Club, & in 1895 played the Carlton Juniors on the Brunswick Reserve, same venue?
East Melbourne Cricket Ground1878 - 1921Essendon's home ground 1882 - 1921, prior to Windy Hill. The Blues' last match there, June 11 1921
Emerald Hill1868 Emerald Hill. Ground western side of railway
Fawkner Park1865, 1870, 1871, 1872South Yarra, and the Southern Football Clubs home grounds. South Yarra's home ground was a green at the rear of the Anglican Church, possibly the church at the corner of Punt and Toorak Roads.
Fitzroy Cricket Ground1883-1896Edinburgh Gardens, Brunswick Street Fitzroy. Fitzroy's home ground 1884-1966 when the Lions moved to Princes Park. The first senior match played on the ground was in 1883 when Carlton played Melbourne as the M.C.G. was unavailable.
Flemington Hill1873 - 1881Essendon's first home ground. The brewers, the McCracken family, started the football club. Full sized 200 yards by 150 yards. See August 10 1879. The Age May 24 1873 (back page, p8), said Essendon has one of the best grounds near the city, a large paddock owned by a Mr. E. Rigby adjoining Newmarket Railway Station. Same ground? Argus Aug. 21 1939 p2 mentions McCracken's Paddock Kensington. Melbourne Punch 1895 April 23, mentions Glass' paddock Flemington when Essendon was a junior team.
Footscray Recreation Reserve1890-1896Although Footscray was admitted to V.F.A. in 1886 the Blues' first game there was not until 1890. The Western Oval was the Bulldogs home ground until 1997
Friendly Societies Ground1885-1890Near the Lexus Centre, Melbourne's home ground from 1885-1890, see article below.
Geelong, Argyle Square Ground1868 1871-1872Corner Of Aberdeen and Pakington Streets. Adjacent to the Argyle Hotel. Played there in 1868, 1871, & 1872, & probably 1867, 1869, 1873
Geelong, Corio Oval1871 1878-1896Geelong's home ground until 1940.
Geelong, Villamanta Road1872A green near Villamanta road, played either the Corio or Geelong Football Clubs, May 25, 1872. (Could be the Argyle ground as the Geelong Advertiser mentions that ground in it's match report)
Geelong, Commun-Na-feine Reserve, South Geelong1877Played the Barwon Football Club, September 22 1877 The reserve was bounded by Bellarine, Balliang and Fyans Streets, developed for housing in 1913. There is still a Commun-Na-feine Hotel (Scots Gaelic) in Bellarine Street.
Grace Park, Glenferrie-Played Hawthorn, the area became their home ground 1902 - 1973 Also played at Meaney's Paddock
Meaney's Paddock, Hawthorn1876Power Street Hawthorn. Played Hawthorn July 15 1876 (Became Hawthorn United's home ground)
Melbourne Cricket Ground1877 - To the present dayMelbourne's home ground from 1890 & Richmond's home ground from 1965.
Metropolitan Ground1864 - 1885Nicknamed "The Gravel Pit." Located between Wellington Parade and the M.C.G. It was Melbourne's home ground from 1858 until 1885, when they moved to the Friendly Societies Ground. For a description of the ground see August 23 1879
Myall Ground1865Played Melbourne Grammar on May 27, the ground was once opposite the Warehouseman's Ground which is now called the Albert Ground. Earliest Carlton game found. In 1857 there was a Myall Hotel on the corner of Commercial Rd and Punt Rd with a 6 acre paddock. (Picture Victoria) The Alfred Hospital site
North Fitzroy Cricket Ground1872Played the original Collingwood Football Club, not the present club, June 22 1879 This ground was in the Edinburgh Gardens
North Melbourne Recreation Reserve1883 - 1896Arden Street North Melbourne. Played North Melbourne/Hotham. First match July 7 1883 Arden Street was North's home ground until 1985, it is now the club's training facility.
Port Oval1887 - 1896Sandridge/Port Melbourne. Still Port Melbourne's home ground.
Princes Bridge Reserve1873The ground is believed to have been just south of the Yarra, played Local Forces. (militia) Possibly the same ground as Victorian Artilley's Ground
Punt Road, Richmond Cricket Ground1885 - 1896Richmond's home ground until 1965 when the Tigers moved next door to the M.C.G. The ground was also known as Richmond Paddock. Richmond's original ground was where the Jolimont Station is located. (Rich. Guardian Oct 09 p2 1909)
Royal Park1864 - 1878Various teams home grounds.
South Park1867-South Melbourne & Emerald Hill
South Melbourne Cricket Ground1878 - 1896Played Albert Park 1878 - 1879, Emerald Hill/South Melbourne 1878 - 1896 The Lake Oval was South Melbourne's home ground until 1981 when the club relocated to Sydney.
St. Kilda, Alpaca Paddock - 1885 St.Kilda's home ground. Now the site of St. Kilda State School.
St. Kilda Cricket Ground1886 - 1896St. Kilda's home ground until the end of 1964 when the Saints moved to Moorabbin
St.Vincents Reserve1866Emerald Hill's ground. St. Vincents Place, South Melbourne
University Cricket Ground, Melbourne University1865-Possibly same venue as University Paddock, & Hibernian Reserve.
Warehouseman's Ground1865-Carlton played the Warehousemans Football Club, July 22 1865. Located in St.Kilda Road, now called the Albert Ground.
Wesley College Football Ground, St. Kilda Road & Moubray Street.1887Prahran Football Club home ground. Located between St. Kilda Road and Punt Road. Carlton played Prahran, May 14 1887
Williamstown Cricket Ground1866-1888-1896Carlton played Williamstown Football Club, June 23 1866 (Venue uncertain, possibly Market Reserve, Cecil Street.) Carlton played South Williamstown, August 20 1887. South Williamstown & Williamstown merged in 1888 The cricket ground is still Williamstown's home ground. Carlton played their final V.F.A. match at this venue, September 26 1896
Williamstown, Gardens Reserve, Osborne Street.1878, 1883,1884,1885,1886Carlton played Williamstown, August 17 1878, May 19 1883, July 19 1884, June 6 1885 & June 19 1886
Victoria Park1892 - 1896The former ground of the Britannia Football Club which became the home of new club of Collingwood in 1892.
Victorian Artillery's Ground-South of the Yarra River, near Government House. Possibly the same ground as Princes Bridge Reserve.


VenueYearsOther Information
Ballarat1877,1882Carlton played the Ballarat Football Club (club formed May 20 1860) at Ballarat, venues unknown
Ballarat, Eastern Oval1889,1892Carlton played South Ballarat, May 24 1889, & June 11 1892.
Ballarat, Saxon Paddock (City Oval)1880,1886,1891,1896Carlton played the Ballarat Football Club, August 7 1880, May 24 1886, & June 13 1891. Carlton played the Ballarat Imperial Football Club, May 2 1896. Now called the City Oval. The Ballarat Star May 21 1896 reported that Saxon Paddock after 20 years is no longer, matches to be played at Eastern oval.
Ballarat, Wynnes Paddock, west end of Sturt street. SW side of Lake Wendouree 1873Carlton played the Ballarat Football Club, August 23 1873
Benalla1881Carlton played the North Eastern District, May 24 1881
Bendigo, Kangaroo Flat Recreation Ground1876Carlton played Bendigo, Wednesday May 24 Queen's Birthday
Bendigo, Upper Reserve Sandhurst1882Carlton played Sandhurst & Associated Clubs, July 29 1882
Bendigo/Sandhurst, Back Creek Cricket Ground.1886Carlton played the Sandhurst Football Club, June 26 1886. Houston Street Bendigo?
Bendigo, Sandhurst Show Grounds1890Carlton played South Melbourne, September 10 1890. This charity match was played on a Wednesday to raise money for the Bendigo Hospital, Benevolent Asylum, and for the District's injured footballers.
Inglewood, Inglewood Public Park1879Carlton played the North Western Districts, May 24 1879. The park is now a golf course.
Kyneton, Kyneton Racecourse.1885Carlton Played the Kyneton Football Club, Queen's Birthday Holiday Monday, May 25 1885
Maryborough, Princes Park1881Carlton played the Maryborough Football Club, August 6 1881
Sale1878Carlton played the Sale Football Club at Gutheridge Parade? Sale, May 24 1878


VenueYearsOther Information
South Australia. Adelaide, The Oval1881,1887Adelaide Oval. Played local teams, South Park, Port Adelaide, Victorians, & Norwood Football Clubs, June 1881. Played Hotham (SA), South Adelaide, Norwood, & the Adelaide Football Clubs, July 1887
South Australia. Adelaide, Kensington Oval1884-344 The Parade, now an athletics track. Played the South Adelaide Football Club, June 21, Adelaide Suburban Association, June 26, Norwood Football Club, June 28, & the Port Adelaide Football Club, June 30 1884.
Tasmania. Hobart, Cornelian Bay Ground1888Became Risdon Park Racecourse, now hockey fields. Played Southern Tasmania, June 23 & June 30, & the City Football Club, June 27
N.S.W. Sydney, Albert Cricket Ground1877Carlton played the Waratah Club, June 23 & June 25 1877. Played Rugby & Australian Football. Albert Ground, Elizabeth St. Redfern opposite Redfern Oval.(Referee Oct. 12 1932 p2) This was not the S.C.G. see Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138130841
N.S.W. Sydney, Association Ground1890Possibly the same venue as the above ground. Carlton played Tasmania, June 21, & N.S.W. June 24. Another match against South Melbourne was cancelled due to heavy rain.


The Carlton Second Twenty team was formed in 1869, only five years after the senior team's formation.
Details of the Reserves are very few and far between. They played mostly on the same "away" Metropolitan & Geelong grounds to the Seniors.
In addition it is known that they played at;
VenueYearsOther Information
Ascot Vale1893Carlton Second Twenty played Ascot Vale Football Club, July 22 (Sec 20 comp disbanded July 14)
Birregurra1888Carlton Second Twenty played Birregurra Football Club, Queen's Birthday Holiday May 24 Thursday.
Brighton1882Carlton Second Twenty played the Brighton Football Club, June 24 1882.
Colac1881-1882The Colac Football Club played the Carlton Second Twenty at Colac, Queen's Birthday Holiday May 23 1881 & May 24 1882
Croxton Park, Thornbury1877Carlton Second Twenty played the Northcote Football Club, June 2 1877.
Dandenong1876Carlton Second Twenty played the Dandenong Football Club, September 23 1876.
Daylesford1884Carlton Second Twenty played the Daylesford Football Club, May 24 1884.
Dight's Paddock, Abbotsford1874Carlton Second Twenty played the Northern Football Club, August 1 1874.
Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick1874Carlton Second Twenty played the Elwood Football Club, September 12 1874.
Flemington Hill1873Carlton Second Twenty played Essendon, June 7 1873. This was the first match the Essendon Football Club had played, they were then a junior club. See senior away matches for more venue details
Geelong1874Carlton Second Twenty played the Kardinia Football Club, July 18 1874, Geelong venue unknown.
Hawthorn1873Carlton Second Twenty played Hawthorn possibly at Urquhart Park now Scullin Park, Urquhart Street. June 18 1873
Heidelberg Park1893Carlton Second Twenty played Heidelberg, July 31 1893
Kilmore1876Carlton Second Twenty played the Kilmore Football Club, July 01 1876.
Malmsbury1883Carlton Second Twenty played Malmsbury, May 24 1883 Queen's Birthday Holiday
Studley Park1873Carlton Second Twenty played the Studley Park Football Club, July 12 1873.
University Paddock1874Carlton Second Twenty played the Carlton Imperial Football Club, May 23 1874.
Victoria Park1883Carlton Second Twenty played the Britannia Football Club at Victoria Park, June 16 1883, nine years before the Carlton senior team played at the venue.


Article from the Sporting Globe May 26 p6 1928
Early days of football M.C.G. umpiring etc.


Another popular football ground was the Lonsdale Ground.
It is not known if any Carlton teams ever played at this venue. The Carlton senior team were fixtured to play the Hobson's Bay Railway team on the ground on August 20 1870 but the match was cancelled.
The Australasian August 06 1870 (p13) said;
"The Albert-Park and Hobson's Bay Railway Football Clubs meet this afternoon on the Lonsdale ground, which is situated in the Richmond paddock, close to the Botanical bridge. This ground was formerly the old Lonsdale cricket-ground."
The Richmond paddock encompassed all the land from Wellington Street to Punt Road and south to the Yarra River, before it was divided by multiple railway lines. (See the second map at the top of this page)
The Sands and McDougall Melbourne Map of 1883 shows the Lonsdale Cricket Ground.
It was located between Swan Street & the Yarra River next to Punt Road. Near where Goschs Paddock is now located.


This photo shows the M.C.C.'s club rooms on the northern side, which to their right the reversible grand stand would be constructed in 1876. This stand which was destroyed by fire in 1884, enabled patrons to watch cricket during summer and the seating was then switched so they could watch the football in winter on the outside Melbourne Football Ground, or the "Gravel Patch" as it was known, is clearly shown. The fence line in the foreground could be what became known as the Scotch College ground which is now part of the Tennis complex. The double track railway line from Flinders Street to Richmond can be seen in between it and the MCG. Possibly a moving train (obscured by the trees) is captured where the white steam or smoke is shown. The EMCG photo has the railway gates closed for a train coming from the same direction?
The street lined with buildings in the background is Wellington Parade. There is a building at right angles to these (at top right) which could be on Simpson Street.
This photo was taken from the recently built 44 meter/144 foot tower on Government House (built 1871-76 / past2present), so the view is from the sou'-sou'-west looking nor'-nor'-east. These are amazing photos for the time as Govt. House is approx 900 meters from the MCG.


The MCG showing the new reversible grandstand built on the northern side of the arena to the right of the MCC club rooms.
The seating arrangements could be altered to face the outside Melbourne Football Ground where Carlton played many matches against its oldest foe. This unique grand stand was built for the upcoming First Test Cricket Match and for football, it was destroyed by fire in 1884.
Image: cricinfo


Taken sometime between 1870-75. This photo shows Wellington Parade with the Treasury Gardens and the Fitzroy Gardens on the corner of Landsdowne Street. In the foreground is the Flinders Street to Richmond railway line crossing Jolimont Road. The Jolimont Rd. railway gate is closed and a horse drawn cart is waiting for it to reopen.
The structure with the curved roof is Gustav Techow's National Gymnasium. The iron building originally stood at the old Exhibition site in 1854 before being relocated circa 1870. The building in Landsowne Street is Scotch College. The school moved its present site in Hawthorn in 1926.
This photo was taken from the recently built 44 meter/144 foot tower on Government House (built 1871-76 / past2present), so the view is from the south looking north.

1945 aerial showing the approx. sight lines for the 1870-75 images taken from the tower on Government House.
Image: Enlarged and cropped from Boyles photos.


Carlton played Melbourne August 19, this was the first game to be played on the Madeline Street ground.
The goals run North - South and the playing area is 200 yards by 140 yards, surely a rectangular playing field.
The following year the boundary fence had been brought in by 10 yards to 130 yards.
To read The Argus report of this match click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71568494


The Argus September 30, writer "Vagabond" (Julian Thomas) wrote "MANLY SPORTS" about the crowd behaviour at the recent Carlton vs Melbourne match on the Madeline Street Ground.
To read the article click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5904254


The Age, June 20 1877.


"About twelve months ago a portion of the University reserve, which had been granted to the Roman Catholic denomination for the purpose of building a college affiliated the the Melbourne University, was allowed by the trustees in whom it was vested to be used by the Carlton Football Club for the puposes of football. Although the land had been in the possession of the trustees for a great number of years, it had not been used for the purpose for which it had been granted, merely because funds were not available, and so, with an exception which we shall presently notice, it has been left a barren waste the gathering place for larrikins, and the receptacle for rubbish.
Some eighteen months or two years ago, however, the first expenditure was made upon the land in the shape of a corrugated iron fence along the Madeline-street frontage, and a high picket fence at the side facing the cemetery, the other sides being bounded by the recreation grounds of the University and the main fence of the building. Subesquently to this some sports were held on the ground, under the auspices, we believe, of the Hibernian Society, at which a charge was made for admission, and following these the Australian Blondin performed there for several nights. During those successive exhibitions the University authorities, under whose very noses the whole thing was going on, made no sign, and apparently acquiesced in what was certainly a very questionable use of a piece of land granted for a purpose such as this was.
Then came the permission to the Carlton Football Club, and they, not dreaming that any question would be raised, proceeded to lay out large sums of money in levelling and turfing the reserve, and putting on it a movable fence of hurdles. Up to the beginning of the present football season they had expended in all the sum of £293 1s 8d. in the manner indicated, towards which they had received, from takings at the gates, the sum of £164 2s 6d., leaving a balance of £128 19s 2d. against them, a very large sum for a football club.
In addition to this a match was played for the sole benefit of the Melbourne Hospital, which produced the sum of £115. At the beginning of this season some members of the University Council, however, took exception to the use by the club of the reserve, or at any rate to their charging for admission to it, and thereupon the trustees were communicated with, and the disapprobation of the council expressed to them.
The result of this was that Mr. Power, the secretary of the Carlton Club, wrote to the council, informing them of the large expenditure that had taken place, and what balance there was unrecouped, and stating that no soon as that balance had been wiped out a charge would be made only on the occasion of the annual match for the benefit of the Melbourne Hospital and for intercolonial matches should any be played, the latter charge being made merely to cover the expenses of players coming to or going from the colony. However, this did not weigh with the council, which had several meetings on the subject, and finally directed the following reply to be sent: -
"The University of Melbourne, 19th June 1877. Sir, - I have the honor to inform you that your letter of the 4th. inst. was considered by the the council yesterday, when it was resolved that the council declined to alter their decision on the subject. They have sympathy with the love of athletic sports, but the land in question cannot with propriety be used in the manner requested. That on the 26th. February they consented to a picnic being held there, on the assurance from the fencing committee of the Roman Catholic reserve University grounds 'that the ground be not again used in such a purpose.' - I have, &c., E. F. A'Becket, Registrar, T. P. Power, Esq., hon. sec. Carlton Football Club."
It would appear from this that the council think that any temporary use of the ground other than for the purpose for which it was granted is a breach of trust, and that it is preferable to leave the reserve in it's natural condition, to become, as it did, an eyesore to the neighborhood to allowing it, whilst it is not required for the distinct purpose of the grant, to be improved and used for the pursuit of a healthful occupation.
To ordinary people this is incomprehensible. It is not as if the takings at the gate were to go for the benefit of any club or any persons we have pointed out, the contrary is the fact. The refusal of the council, therefore, appears to be utterly ungracious and unreasonable, and one which will certainly not commend itself to the large body of the public who support football, and who showed their appreciation of the first enclosed ground used for the game, which this was, by flocking to it in thousands."

A section of the 1888 Sands & McDougall Prahran Map
showing the Friendly Societies Ground


From an article by "Goal Post" in the Sportsman newspaper, August 26, 1885.
"The opening of the new football ground of the Melbourne Football Club, last Saturday was an event of some importance in football circles, as it is the first time that a ground especially prepared and set apart for the game has been made available.
The ground is about 200 yards long and 120 yards wide in the centre, but tapers off towards the ends to enable the spectators to obtain an uninterrupted view of the game.
It has been carefully laid out, drained, top dressed, and sown with english grass, and presents a nice level surface. The unusually wet season has retarded the growth of the grass, but it's present condition relects the greatest credit upon Mr. Champion, under whose supervision the works have been carried out.
Next season there will be a raised mound of earth round the ground, and a grand-stand erected, so that footballers will have one ground at least available all through the season.
The committee of the club speak very highly of the cordial assistance received from the trustees of the Friendly Societies' Gardens, and it is to be hoped that the new ground will prove of mutual advantage."
From 1885-1890 this was Melbourne's home ground until the football club was taken over by the Melbourne Cricket Club.
Prior to this, from 1859, their home ground was the "Gravel Pit" or Metropolitan Ground adjacent to the M.C.G. and they played occasional home games on the cricket ground.
The Carlton Football Club's home ground, 1885-1890, was ironically, the M.C.G.
(The Friendly Societies Ground was located near the present day Lexus Centre.)

The Leader September 08 1888, said of the Friendly Societies' Ground;
"As might have been expected, very little interest was evinced in the meeting of South Melbourne and Melbourne on Saturday, and as the match took place on that most inhospitable spot, the Melbourne football ground in the Friendly Societies Gardens, where neither comfort nor shelter can be obtained, the attendance was particularly select."


A view of the seldom photographed East Melbourne Cricket Ground, looking west from Jolimont Road. (Marc Fiddian Collection.)
This photo was probably taken between 1910 -1921*.
.* In the background, what looks like Tait trains lined up in the rail yards, these "Red Rattlers" first came into service in 1910.
The E.M.C.G. was taken over by the Victorian Railways in 1922.

The East Melbourne C. G. press box and scoreboard, 1905 (Ess v Geel)
This press box can also be seen in the top photo (above)
Note the flag marking the boundary line.
Image; Trove, Punch May 18


In 1885 the E.M.C.C. had occupied the ground for 25 years and wanted to build a new pavilion. In August the contractors had already started the brick work on the £2,000 building, when the Minister for Lands stepped in and vetoed the project. He said the club had permissive occupancy to play cricket until further notice, and now this had developed into an occupancy of another kind.
The Railway Commissioners saw no problem with the development as they were not wanting the land in the foreseeable future.
Eventually the club got the go ahead for the project, providing they made no claim for loss when the land was eventually taken over for public purposes.
The ground was located between Wellington Parade and the Flinders Street to Richmond railway line. The arena was not large and one report said it was 160 yards long with the goals running north-south.
The ground was used by the Victorian Railways for carriage stabling sidings in 1922, forcing Essendon out to the Essendon V.F.A. club's home ground of Windy Hill, the East Melbourne Cricket Club became Hawthorn-East Melbourne or the "Combine".
The former ground & railway yards is now a housing development.
The Football Record in 1914 gave the ground's dimensions as 187 yards x 147 yards. (171m x 134m)
The Leader September 10 1881 said the ground was the largest in the colony 200 yards x 158 yards!


George F. Bowen aka "Olympus" writing in the Melbourne Punch May 05 1892 (p11) about the Melbourne Football Club, now under the direct control of the Melbourne Cricket Club, and it's ramifications for the Carlton Football Club. George also mentions underhand player payments, rules, etc.
The complete article can be viewed here; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174600271


The Australasian's cricket writer "Felix" (December 15) writes about the early days of the Carlton Cricket Club, Royal Park, Sydney Road and some Carlton footballers.
"Felix" was Australian Test Cricketer, player No.8 and occasional Carlton footballer Tom Horan

Cricket Chatter by Felix

"Some of my most cherished cricket memories are associated with the Carlton club and ground. it was the first ground I played regularly as a turf cricketer, now 25 years ago. Long before that I knew the spot well - knew it as an eight year old, when I went to see Burke and Wills start out on their memorable exploring expedition from that well-remembered starting-place in the Royal-park. It is wonderful how the camels stuck in my memory. I think I see them now. There was no sign of the Carlton ground then, nor later, when I used to see the Royal-park club play, before Toryboy the little grey, who won the Melbourne Cup in 1865, which was the second Cup race I saw.
I joined the Carlton club about two or three years after it was founded, and in walking up there on Saturday last I could not help thinking of the difference between the Sydney-road then and now. Then not a house could be seen from Grattan-street to the Sarah Sands - not a tree was planted on the roadside, save the primeval gum, and when the hot north wind met poor Ned Elliott and myself as we were on the way to practice we were often fairly blinded by the dust. Now the road is lined with comely, shady trees, fine houses stretch away on all sides, and handsome colleges are built in the University-reserve on the very spot where the Carlton Imperial had some of their best matches in the middle sixties, when Jack Blackham and I were playing as juniors.
In my time in Carlton two prominent supporters were Messrs. Craven and Dedman, and the two were enthusiasts that they actually prepared both match and practice wickets, and never felt satisfied unless the pitch on Saturdays was in billiard-table condition. Mr. Craven was a capital hand with the scythe. Both are dead now, and so are several who played with and took deep interest in the club in those days.
In the pavilion I saw some old portraits of Carlton cricket and football teams which took me back at a bound to the sixties. One football team in especial brought back old times and old and well remembered faces. There is Jack Conway; captain of the Carlton, standing near the good old gum tree with a football in his hand; there are Harry Guy, Billy Williams, Joe Williams (is it the same old Joe who now keeps the refreshment-room in Clarendon-street, South Melbourne?), Harry Bannister, Tom Power, Sharpe, Armytage, George Kennedy, Charlie Barrass, little Tom Reilly, Bob McFarland, Mick Webb, and last but far from least the old warrior Ben James."
Could this be the 1868 photo, which is the earliest known photo of a football team? See the 1868 page.


On the Monday after the Round 10, 1899 match against Melbourne, the Australasian's "Markwell" writes about the early days of Carlton and Melbourne.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138617827

It was discovered that the cricket club had no legal right to the ground, and that it was for the exclusive use of cricket and for no other purpose!
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5079644


David L. Bennett of Kograh NSW writes to the Referee May 13 p16
"I recollect following Carlton when they played in the Royal Park and on the paddock where Ormond College now stands way back into the 60's, long before Coulthard's time ...."
Ormond College is part of Melbourne University, the North West section that borders "The Triangle."


"I can well remember old-time Carlton games when the dark blues played on the Madeline-street Reserve, and later in the old oval. Those were days of Jack Gardiner, George Robertson, Coulthard, McGill the Brackens, Dedman, Geo. Donovan and other stalwarts - some of whom were doubtless interested spectators on Saturday.
In those far-back days players used to walk to and from their homes to the ground stripped for the fray, but with an overcoat across the shoulders. For lingering on the way home, in wet togs, fighting the game over again with circles of admirers, many a tough young fellow had later to pay the full penalty for his careless disregard of consequences.
But what a change today! Carlton players are housed sumptuously with club rooms, hot and cold baths, and an array of trainers, expert in massage. The playing space is a beautiful stretch of green, a monument to the industry of "Tommy" Warne, curator; the banks of the outer ground are unsurpassed in Australia in capacity to accommodate vast crowds, and there is a handsome stand for members and those who are prepared to pay eighteenpence for the privilege of witnessing the match in complete comfort." (Referee May 10 1916 p13)


When Thurgood and Co Beat Mighty Carlton

From the Referee October 25 1916, a look back at junior football in the early days of the Yarra Yarra, Clifton, Brittania, North Park, Williamstown Juniors, and the Combined Juniors.
The Combine actually thrashed Carlton in the early eighteen nineties!
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121177337


October 29 The Argus;
To read article click here> http://nla.gov.au./nla.news-article4627834


J. W. ( Jack Worrall ) writing in the Australasian October 20 says of Geelong's Argyle ground.
'Mr. Bell also relates the story of an extraordinary occurrence that took place in Geelong about the year 1880, when Carlton were meeting Geelong for the championship. A local celebrity named Mr. Silas Harding had loaned some land, called the Argyle Green, to the local club, whereon all matches were played. Owing to some little disagreement with the home authorities the owner of the land put several teams* on the ground on the morning of the match and ploughed it up. When the men of Carlton arrived football on that reserve was entirely out of the question, the match taking place on the Corio oval.
But whether that game was the first that was ever played there between Geelong and a Melbourne team historians must settle between themselves.'
.* "Teams" are generally groups of four or more horses or oxen pulling ploughs.
To read the article which talks about George Coulthard, goal posts, bouncing of the ball, little marks, best players, etc. click here>
Part 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140828174
Part 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140828512
Part 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140828915


"Old Boy" of the "Argus," (Reg. W. L. Wilmot*) has received a most interesting letter from a correspondant at Cocumwal/Tocumwal? He refers to the game as played 50 years ago, and discusses a question which interests all old players. One said to me the other day, "What does all this mean? when he saw the army of trainers round the ground. "In my day if you were knocked over you had to get up on your own." My correspondant writes thus:-
"I cannot account for the various accidents on the football field today as compared to when I played with Richmond 50 years ago. The high marking was not so much in vogue as it is today, but then we played on grounds hard and rough; the Melbourne Club ground was in the Richmond paddock, not a blade of grass, white gravel ground as hard as granite. Twenty men a side and the rules not near so strict as to-day.
The players were not weaklings. Take, for instance men like Larry Bell (15.0), Carr (capt.), big Andrew Loughnan, Charles Forrester playing for Melbourne: Jack Donovan, Bill Dalton, George McGill, Jack Blanchard, Orlando 'Lanty' O'Brien, the punter, and he could punt. Richmond had the Mitchell brothers, the Brewers, famous as rowing men: Tom Kendall, the bowler, and they all had men of that ilk playing whose names I have forgotten.
You would hardly hear of an accident the season through, and now what a contrast. Apparently the games are friendly enough, though in those days the umpire had not to be protected. In those days we had men who played for the grandstand; did not mind the team, but they soon played themselves out. One thing, the teams are more cohesive than in the old days. There were no permits required, so if a man in an inferior team played better than the average he was immediately tempted to join the Melbourne, Carlton, or Albert-park - the South Melbourne of those days. he would go and the team suffered.
Tom Kendall referred to in the foregoing was the famous international cricketer, who afterwards settled in Hobart and played football with the Railway Club.
(The Mercury (Hobart) July 26, 1926)


Sporting Globe article with photos, on the MCG - Members Pavilions, description of the Reversible Stand, Cricket, Football, etc.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article183972058

_*"Old Boy" - Reginald W. L. Wilmot was a former Brighton then Essendon footballer 1890-1894 he died Thursday 26 May 1949. He would have been 80 in October. He wrote for The Australasian for 60 years. He was the father of Chester Wilmot who was a famous ABC war correspondant who reported on the Australian Army's actions in North Africa and it's heroic deeds against the Japanese on the Kokoda Track. He later worked for the BBC and reported on the D-Day landings and wrote the acclaimed book "The Struggle For Europe." He was killed in the Comet jet airliner crash January 10 1954.


The Age series on Melbourne's playing arenas. This article deals with the Carlton Cricket Club and the Triangle ground. The Carlton Football Club and its grounds, with team photos.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article204369840


A letter to the Australasian October 10 about the ploughing up of the Argyle football ground before Carlton were due to play Geelong.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141780101

See Pre VFL Rules of Football, & Formation of the Club, for more newspaper articles of Football in the Nineteenth Century.


For further details and photos of some former football grounds, see the excellent AustralianRulesFootball.com.au site
Click here> http://www.australianrulesfootball.com.au/pages/GoneButNotForgotton
Then on left hand side click on to Site Map, then scroll down Site map page to Gone But Not Forgotton.

WATCHING FOOTBALL IN MARVELLOUS MELBOURNE: spectators, barrackers and working class rituals.

Mark W. Pennings & Robert Pascoe (2011)
"A study of the crowds drawn to the Australian football matches in colonial Victoria illuminates key aspects of the code's genesis, development and popularity."
To read click here> http://eprints.qut.edu.au/46878/
Then click Submitted Version (PDF 287kb)


Mark Pennings & Robert Pascoe (2009)
"This article examines the history of the East Melbourne Cricket Ground (1860-1921) , an important venue in the history of Victorian sport."
To read click here> http://eprints.qut.edu.au/21096/
Then click Published Version (PDF1253kb)

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