Almanac Memoir: Seeing Lou Richards as a young fella



I saw Lou Richards playing at Victoria Park during the 1947 and 1948 seasons. My mother used to take my two brothers and myself to see Collingwood play (only at Vic Park). We walked two and a half miles to Mooroolbark to catch the train in and we would get to the ground early enough to have seats at the boundary fence. One day when there was a train strike we hitch-hiked to get to Victoria Park. To get back home from every game we travelled by train to Mooroolbark and then a two and a half mile walk home to a house that had no electricity or gas. Yes kero lamps, candles and wood fires. We were brought up to be very one-eyed Collingwood supporters. At Victoria Park the outer only had seating running around the fence. On arrival we saw a curtain raiser that I think was the Second Eighteens playing before the main game. I picked up how to play Australian Rules Football watching Lou and others play at Victoria Park so that when I commenced playing open age first eighteen football at age fifteen I knew something of the game because of basically watching the Magpies. I remember Lou using a banana kick for goal and I remember Lou was an excellent stab kick. I obtained autographs from players as they walked in to play. I saw players like Phonse Kyne, Len Fitzgerald, Neil Mann, Gordon Hocking, Marcus Whelan, Jack Green, Bill Twomey, Ray Horwood and Des Fothergill. I remember one day seeing Des Fothergill appear all alone on the opposite half forward flank to which he was officially playing marking the ball and running on to kick a lovely running drop kick goal. My father who was with me this day said to me at the time “Fothergill was the best drop kick he ever saw”. Fothergill shared the Brownlow Medal in 1940 with Herbie Matthews. About two years after seeing Fothergill play I was first rover in the Ringwood team that was captained and coached by Herbie Matthews.


Some forty odd years after seeing Lou Richards play he agreed to be our special Celebrity Guest to open our Stonnington Antique Fair. Stonnington House was the Governor of Victoria’s residence when Canberra was being built and the Governor of Australia was using Victoria’s Government House.


We had many prominent people to open our Antique Events over a period of forty years but for me having Lou Richards was the best. I was very privileged to have seen him play and to have spent some time with him. Thank you Lou Richards.


Stab Punt Jim.



  1. LIKE you Stab Punt I also saw Lou play. But not in the late Forties, more the early Fifties.
    We lived in Geelong on Pakington Street and walked down LaTrobe Terrace to Kardinia Park.
    My father was a Welshman and not over fond of Aussie Rules but my maternal Grandpa was a keen footy follower and in his days as a publican at Maryborough was a keen recruiter for Geelong.
    So I saw Lou during Geelong’s big years in the early 50s but missed the ’53 grand final because Dad decided to take us all back to the UK on one of those month-long sea voyages on a P and O line ship.
    Going thru’ the Suez Canal with warships parked in those big lakes in mid-transit was something. The Suez crisis was either in full swing or about to happen.
    Lou, the Rose brothers and Lou’s bro. Ronnie were all going around in the early Fifties. Apart from Essendon, the Pies were Geelong’s only real threats. The Saints and Hawthorn used to raffle the Spoon between themselves most seasons, Fitzroy & the North Shinboners were tough but pretty unskilled and the Dees and Doggies were only just starting to emerge.

  2. Stab Punt Jim says

    Hi Richard
    Thanks for your interesting comment.
    If you look at :Almanac History: George Goninon and the “punt drop” .you will see some early 1950’s Geelong history and in “The First Drop Punt? Recent research from a kick historian” for some further early Australian Rules foot disposal history.

    Thanks again

    Stab punt Jim.

    The First Drop Punt? Recent research from a kick historian
    Almanac History: George Goninon and the “punt drop” kick | AFL …

  3. bring back the torp says


    Interesting reminiscing.

    You mentioned you were involved in the antique trade for 40 years.
    What 40 year period did this cover? How often were Australian Football items offered for sale (community/VFL/VFA) that were from the pre-1940 era?
    At your antique fairs, or anywhere else -if so, where?

    Also, apart from Jack Dyer, approx. what % of other VFL players kicked drop punts in the era pre-1950?

    Ditto, torpedoes pre 1950?

    In Victoria, do you have a view on who started torpedoes pre 1930?
    (I have read your interesting views on the history of the drop punt in the FA)

  4. Hi RichardI
    I have just read you Comment. Thank you for your enquiry.
    I retired in 2011. I commenced in the Antique business in January 1961. The Antique fairs that I with my wife conducted commenced with the Emerald Hill Antique Fair, at the South Melbourne Town Hall in 1978. We conducted the Emerald Hill Fair twice a year till 1990. Some of the Fairs we ran included The Stonnington Antique Fair, one of which was opened by Lou Richards. The property included Historic “Stonnington House ” residence of the Governor of Victoria 1901 to 1932,
    The Ivanhoe Town Hall Antique Fair 1992.
    The Hotel Windsor Antique Fair of 1982 that was opened by Roy Higgins who arrived at the Fair in a Horse drawn carriage. His arrival was pictured on the front page of the Saturday’s Sun Newspaper of the twenty third of October 1982.
    Our twice a year major Antique Fairs that we ran for twenty years at The Royal Hall of Industries Sydne ,Show Grounds. These fairs commenced in 1991. Our Melbourne fairs were officially opened by Guests Speakers such as Marina Prior and June Bronhill.
    Our Great Antique Fairs of Sydney were officially opened by people such as Senator Richard Alston and Minister Bronwyn Bishop.
    We also ran Antique Fairs at The Melbourne Exhibition building 1995 – 2000.
    I was involved in 40 trips to the Uk buying antiques, loading and unloading containers and selling our shipments as auctioneer at venues such as The Malvern Town Hall, Camberwell Civic Centrel and the no longer Kew Town Hall. End of very short Antoques history.
    There were no dealers in sporting memorabilia at this period of time. The fair that Lou opened at Stonnongton Feature an Exhibition of sporting memorabilia including items on loan from the Melbourne Sportis Museum at The MCG.
    RE In Victoria, do you have a view on who started torpedoes pre 1930?. No I have only been interested in The Stab Punt and the Drop punt history.

    If you look up “The First Drop Punt Recent research from a kick historian” and Almanac History: George Goninon and the “punt drop” kick | AFL: both on The Footy Almanac…Also see “.Stab Kick to Stab Punt & Drop Kick to Drop Punt – Trove ”
    and you will find much more history of the drop punt and the Stab Punt Kick. You will see that you should have known of the “Stab Punt Kick”
    I have spent hundreds of hours on this subject basically looking on trove. What I have found I have recorded under the above headings ….If you discover more please let me know. I have no doubt Jack Dyer did not invent a kick nor was he the first to kick the drop punt as a set shot for goal. If you look closely at his book ” Captain Blood of 1965 you will find some very interesting information supporting what I have just written. I am shortly to publish my findings.

    Thanks again for your comment.

    Stab Punt Jim Johnson.

    PS (I have read your interesting views on the history of the drop punt in the FA)
    My interesting views are basically based on or are extracts from Trove The Library of Australia.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Some magnificent memories there Jim. Would have loved to have seen those Magpie legends you were lucky enough to see. Am sure the two and a half mile walk was well worth it.

    What a man Lou Richards was, fantastic to read of your experience with him. I met him once, as an 11 year old, he signed my football at Waverley after Collingwood were flogged by Hawthorn late in the 1990 season. I still have that football, it was also signed by several members of the team who went on to play in the premiership that year.

    Go Pies.

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