Almanac Football History: An ordinary meeting of the VFA in 1892

One of the Almanac’s favourite 86-year-olds, Jim Johnson, loves to make use of the Trove library database (as do many of us). He stumbled across this gem from The Argus – published almost 130 years ago, but strangely relevant in 2019!






The ordinary meeting of the Victorian Football Association was held last night at Young and Jackson’s Hotel. Mr. A. Hunt presiding.


Reference: a team captain playing a losing game and bad supporter language of 1892.



James O’Meara, late captain of the Port Melbourne club, wrote stating that a committee of that club lately held an inquiry respecting a charge, made against him, that he had as captain played a losing game in the match against South Melbourne, and that the committee reported against him. That finding was not satisfactory to him, and he asked the association to take the matter up in justice to him, as there was not a scintilla of ground for the charge which had been made.


Mr. Hunter (Port Melbourne) said his club had held that the charge was not proved; but they thought it advisable to ask O’Meara to resign the captaincy, and he not only did so but resigned as a member of the club. A motion was proposed that the letter lie on the table, and an amendment was moved that the Port Melbourne club should forward to the association the evidence taken at the inquiry. The amendment was negatived, and the motion agreed to.



The following report of the permit committee was read by the secretary : –

“ln accordance with a resolution passed at the last meeting of the association the permit committee consider that the new rules relating to permits are clear enough. For the guidance of players, however who may feel interested in this matter, and who may not be certain of their position with respect to permits, the commitee rule thus-‘Any player who played with a senior club during any portion of the season 1891, subsequent to the 1st June, cannot play with another senior team in 1893 (even if he did not play at all in 1892) without received a permit. A senior player who played as above and afterwards played with a junior club, cannot return to the senior ranks without obtaining a permit from this association.’ “The report was adopted.



A report was brought up by a committee in reference to a complaint made by W. Johnson, umpire, to the effect that two Ballarat players named Penrose and Hewitson had behaved unwarrantably in a match between the Ballarat and Ballarat Imperial clubs, and had used insulting language towards him. The committee reported that in their opinion the charges against the two players had not been proved, but they desired to place on record their strong disapproval of attempts on the part of club officials or players to influence umpires and recommended that in future, wherever practicable, the field umpire should have a separate dressing room apart from both teams. The report was adopted.



The CHAIRMAN brought under the notice of the members the disorderly occurrences which had happened lately on some cricket grounds at football matches. He thought that the cricket clubs should be made answerable for order being kept on their grounds, and that this association should early next year take some action in the matter. If they took matches away from one or two of the clubs on whose grounds the disorderliness occurred he believed it would have a good effect.


Mr. WORRAL (Fitzroy) was glad the chairman had brought the disorderly conduct under the notice of the association. He was positive that if the association did not see into the matter the game of football would go down.


Mr. JAMES (Ballarat) stated that steps ought to be adopted to stop the use of bad language by spectators.


Mr. SLOSS suggested that a private detective should be engaged to take offenders into custody. He was not aware whether the association could afford to pay a private detective, but would move that the matter be referred to the finance committee to formulate a scheme for putting an end to the bad language and conduct of spectators at football matches. The motion was agreed to.




Extracts from 

  •  Trove
  •  The Argus Sat 10 Sep. 1892 page 5.



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  1. Very interesting. It took me 5 minutes to read these minutes. I wonder if that was how long the meeting took. I suspect not.

  2. Re John Henry (Jack) McInerney of The Britannia 1891’s first game pictured front row third from the right.
    Hi 6%
    Thanks for your short comment.
    I have more interest in the content of this meeting because of the following.
    My late mother in-law’s maiden name was McInerney. Her great uncle was John (Jack) Henry McInerney. Her grave position is quite close to John Henry (Jack) McInerney’s unmarked grave at Preston. The information we believe is that Jack was refused a game or clearance at Collingwood after he had played A VERY BAD GAME. He was refused a clearance even back to Carlton and eventually went to Prahran without a clearance in 1900. He played as Co-Captain and Coach at Prahran in 1900,1901 and1902. Notes in the news papers re his playing days in the Association with Carlton or Collingwood were quite good. His transfer information of Collingwood to or from Carlton is well recorded. I am working on information for a later publication re John Henry (Jack) McInerney of The Britannia 1891’s first game and his having to transfer to Prahran without a clearance.
    Stab Punt Jim Johnson.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    The eternal debate between cricket and football over grounds. Though guessing they didn’t mind the centre wicket area as much back in 1892.

    Always interested to read about the Ballarat clubs in the early VFA, how different the footy landscape may have been if a Ballarat club or two had been a fixture at VFA or even VFL level long term.

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