Tom Wills: books, plays, references in works of history, art work

With the interest in Tom Wills at the moment, given the project to restore his grave, I am interested to know how he has been depicted in books, histories, and other works. Also in the arts.

Here’s a few:

Greg de Moore’s biography

Martin Flanagan’s novel  The Call

Geoffrey Blainey’s A Game of our Own

Martin Tighe’s Wills  series


Comments on depictions of Wills?

The Footy Almanac, Marius Cumming and Phil Dimitriadis are behind a project to fix up Tom Wills grave, by public support. To make a contribution, however small, CLICK HERE.


The Game - part of the Tom Wills collection by artist Martin Tighe. Click for more.

The Game – part of the Tom Wills collection by artist Martin Tighe. Click here for more.


  1. Doco trailer on Tom Wills YouTube and

    Tom Wills Would by Neil Murray
    Tom Wills by Mick Thomas performed on Marngrook
    Tom Wills by Shane Howard also performed on Marngrook footy show

    In 2004, Bruce Myles adapted Flanagan’s novel The Call into a play of the same name for the Malthouse Theatre.

  2. E.regnans says

    Myron Lysenko wrote a poem called Tom Wills (150 Years of football)
    Fairly stark, brutal ending.–Tom-Wills–by-Myron-Lysenko

  3. Dave Nadel says

    About one third of Barry Judd’s book “On the Boundary Line: colonial identity in football” is about Tom Wills. Published by Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, 2008.

    Barry Judd is Professor of Indigenous Studies at RMIT and his work frames Wills in terms of his relationship with indigenous Australians and indigenous sport.

  4. This blog contains a few pieces on Tom Wills, as well as an interview with biographer Greg de Moore:

    There’s also a piece on Frank Allan, another overlooked figure from colonial sport with links to Tom Wills and Indigenous Australia:

  5. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Brian Matthews’ book ‘The Temple Down the Road’ captures the spiritual/religious significance of the MCG. He uses the ghost of Tom Wills to take readers through the highlights of the G’s famous moments. He writes:
    “On a cold, foggy Melbourne night, Tom Wills – one of the architects of Australian Rules Football and a pivotal figure in the history of the MCG – makes a ghostly return to the famous ground. Like a magic circus-master, he stands in the centre circle and conjures up the resonant past and the celebrated figures and events that have made the ‘G’ such a compelling presence in the city.”

    Can’t think of a more apt figure than Tom Wills to narrate the drama, joy, despair and collective human history of the G.

  6. Off the Ball: Football’s History Wars

    Volume 67 Issue 4 (Summer 2008)

    Cazaly, Ciannon

    Its a cracking read but has a fire wall.

  7. Robert Power’s short story collection “Meatloaf in Manhattan” contains “The I Zingari Cap” which jumps back and forward through time, weaving in Tom’s story with that of the narrator.

    There’s also “The Ten Rules” by The Holy Sea

Leave a Comment