Almanac Footy History – The Crapp Chronicles: Henry ‘Ivo’ Crapp



This Geelong team photo, now a piece of art by DJ Williams, includes the umpire, Ivo Crapp, who was a character of late nineteenth and early twentieth century footy. See more of DJ’s art (and find out how to order originals and prints) HERE.




Tim Ghys is a writer and podcaster who has an interest in the history of football. This is the introduction to his column, ‘The Crapp Chronicles’.



One of the early legends of the game, Henry Crapp originally followed his brother to Carlton Football Club to play, but after succumbing to an injury he decided to take up the whistle and become an umpire. Henry, nicknamed ‘Ivo’, quickly rose through the ranks from the junior league to the VFA, and then to the VFL (once the breakaway took effect in 1897). For nine years Ivo was the premier umpire in the VFL. An innovator of umpiring (he was one of the first umpires to start calling out his decisions), he was also known as a man who would not take any player abuse, which would come to a head through his encounter with Dick Condon in 1900. (More on that another day).


Following the 1905 season, Henry was lured to the west, following in the footsteps of many footballers to the goldfields, however, all was not as it seemed when he arrived. Despondent after uprooting his family, Ivo was on his way back to Victoria, when officials from the Western Australian Football Association intercepted him and convinced him to take the posting of umpire there. For the rest of his life, Ivo would umpire the remainder of his career in the west, much to the disappointment of those back in the east.


I intend to bring to life and flesh out some of the more interesting adventures of Ivo Crapp, setting the story straight on his interaction with Dick Condon, explaining how he was ‘duped’ in Kalgoorlie, and more, in a series I’m calling ‘The Crapp Chronicles’.




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About Tim

A host of the Kick to Kick Podcast, educator, fan


  1. John Butler says

    Tim, the clash between Crapp and Condon is legendary. Looking forward to this series. Football in the early 1900’s is a fascinating time.


  2. I agree JB, fascinating names like Lee, Minogue, Thurgood; the 1908 carnival featuring NZ. Crapp well worth a deeper look, will watch on with interest Tim. Thanks.

  3. Tim, well done on creating the Crapp Chronicles.
    I became aware of Ivo’s great reputation as an umpire (though many would say this expression is an oxymoron) while researching some of Fitzroy’s early successes, including the Maroons’ first four premierships.
    I’m looking forward to your stories about his stint umpiring in the WAFL.
    From researching the early years of East Perth’s run of premierships under the great Phil Matson, it was evident just how revered Umpire Crapp was compared to his fellow whistleblowers.

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