Almanac Footy History: Wando Vale FC – Premiers 1923: a photo with a difference

While going through some old photos posted by the Western District Families group on Facebook the Footy Almanac came across this photo from a collection of photographs from the Museums Victoria Collections.


It is a photograph of the Wando Vale Football Club team who were premiers in the Glenelg District League in 1923.


We were attracted to the photo for one particular reason, something we hadn’t previously seen in a premiership photograph before and thought it would interest our readers.


Can you see what attracted the attention of the Footy Almanac?



In 1923, the premiers in the Glenelg District League were the Wando Vale Football team pictured above.



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  1. The sash runs in different directions on some jumpers and there are only 17 players and a coach?

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    That’s the obvious one but there is another KND. I think the sash indicates the captain?

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Did they bring their own umpire? According to your theory Col they must have had a leadership team of three.

  4. Colin Ritchie says

    No, not the umpire Swish. It’s something unusual, well I think it is unusual for a footy photo but maybe not back then.

  5. Conservative farming area. Sash defining political allegiance. Two left wingers; 15 right wingers; and an umpire to keep them apart?

  6. Colin Ritchie says

    Probably all PB, but a bloke in the front row (not the wrong sash bloke) has a difference to everyone else.

  7. Bloke second from right in the front row is wearing a cap (or a head bandage?) and the bloke far right is smoking a durry. The flags folded across the knees of the captain with the ball are interesting. Probably team colours but made me wonder about a team motive.
    Time and place? 1923. Malcolm Fraser country. WW1 veterans – probably some. Fenians – unlikely.
    I have a powerful memory of Malcolm Fraser doing a personal interview on the Friday morning before the 1983 Federal Election when the blackout laws prevented electioneering in the electronic media. Malcolm must have been aware of the diabolical private polling and had begun to think about his legacy and the place of politics in his life.
    He was asked about childhood memories and he talked about his father rowing him out onto a snake infested island in the Glenelg River and leaving him alone with supplies. I think it was some sort of family rite of passage/coming of age. His voice had the first hint of vulnerability and the lip quiver that would mark his concession speech the next night. I immediately understood where “life wasn’t meant to be easy” had come from and I have always that that loss marked the cracking of his Easter Island imperviousness and the public emergence of his underlying humanity. Hearing that story was the first time I ever liked the bloke.
    We all learn more from our losses than our victories.

  8. Colin Ritchie says

    Indeed PB. The player with the fag in his mouth was the first thing I noticed. I wondered whether it was a deliberate act, or an act of defiance but it was something uncommon particularly premiership photos. I suppose the only other pic that comes close is the one of Robert McGhie, smoke in his mouth untying (tying?) his bootlaces.

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