The Mystery of the 1896 First XX

We love a good sporting mystery at the Almanac and this one looks like a beauty.

Almanacker and professional photographer MICHAEL SILVER came across this photo of a football team from the late 1800s.



The mystery 1896 football team. Pic contributed by Michael Silver



He’d love to know more about these 20 robust and hearty-looking chaps – and their coach or teacher – but the only clue as to who they might be is contained on the football in the photo in which 1896 can be made out.

We put it to you, Almanackers, to help point us toward solving the mystery of who is in this image.


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  1. Youth side?

    School side?

    Looking like red and blue – just guessing?

  2. bob utber says

    Obviously a school team of the era as the teachers always stood in the back row.
    Red and blue Guernsey for sure. Ballarat?

  3. Seems to definitely be a schoolboys/youth side.

    Teacher/coach appears to be in formal white tie dress also (could be a grey tie and simply looks white due to age of the image), suggesting perhaps a public school team?

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