On The Outer – The Metro Farm Footy Club is being revived



on the outer (1)




The Metro Farm Herefords were the Aussie Rules football team that played out of the middle of Melbourne’s sewerage farm from the early to mid 1900s. Formed from players who lived and worked in Cocoroc, the township at the heart of the sewerage farm, the Herefords were known for a home ground advantage based entirely on the overpowering smell of sewerage. During their years in the western league they enjoyed some modest success, particularly when playing at home. While the oval and goal posts still exist in a state of beautiful disrepair, The Herefords, like Cocoroc itself, folded in the mid 1960s.

Shane McGrath is an artist with a profound interest in lost vernacular cultures. As one of the artists invited to produce a temporary commission for Treatment, a site-specific public art project curated by David Cross in conjunction with City of Wyndham and Melbourne Water, McGrath is seeking to bring back the Herefords. His ambitious work in the name of art will seek to return the ground and its facilities to their former glory.

Reviving the change rooms, reproducing the famous guernsey, and re-recording their football song, on November 14 and 21, 2015, his audience will be given the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the halcyon days of the Herefords. As part of this artistic re-enactment, McGrath will re-stage a coach’s address in the rooms with the audience listening in from the outside. The work experienced in situ through architectural re-modelling and re-staging, will offer new considerations of sport as a socially binding agent in regional communities while speaking to broader concerns around the shifting nature of labour in an era of expansive industrialization.

McGrath’s project will take place at Melbourne’s Water Treatment Plant, Werribee, in November and December, 2015, and is part of the large scale community art project, TREATMENT – curated by David Cross and supported by the City of Wyndham, Deakin University and others.

This one of a kind footy and social setting was featured in the Age recently.

For more details, including how to book a place on the Treatment Tour you can go to Treatment’s Facebook page (hurry, filling fast)

In support of this venture (including production of the guernseys to be worn by the performers) Shane is also running a crowd-funding campaign; visit On The Outer to find out more, including the unique Herefords memorabilia on offer.




An exhibition covering the entire Treatment project will open at the Wyndham Art Gallery on Tues 24th November, followed by drinks at the nearby Bridge hotel, more details here.


  1. Love hearing about the Metropolitan Farm’s footy revival. My grandad was captain of the Farm back in their glory days post First World War. In 1919-1925 the Farm played in 5 grand finals, winning 3 premierships. One of those grand finals was actually 3 matches played over a month, thanks to a draw and the rule back then with the minor premiers retaining the right to challenge. Grandad played in all of those, except when he went droving to Queensland, and played with St Kilda under a pseudonym, before transferring to the Saints under his own name. I’ll have to write a story about this now that the Farm is back if only briefly! (I don’t suppose there’s any old footy photos in the club house from back then??)

  2. Hello Harold, Your story sounds amazing and you should definitely write it down. I have a photo of the 1924 Premiership team and it’s likely your grandfather is in it!
    if you email me on [email protected] I’ll send you a copy.
    Would love to hear more on the history of the MFFC.

  3. Hi Shane, if you send me a copy I’ll post it if you like. [email protected]

  4. Alistair Watson says

    Hannie Rayson wrote a fascinating piece on the history of Melbourne’s sewerage farm in the former local broadsheet about three months ago. A smart person could provide a link. Another aspect of this Victorian engineering marvel, in both senses of Victorian, is that it is a Ramsar site, destination for abundant migratory birds. A paradise for birders. Well worth a guided tour. He of the great footy name is adding yet another interesting angle.

  5. Hi Shane – just made a pledge – sound like a great event – too bad I can’t make it. Would love to know who made the jumpers and at what cost per piece.

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