Research Origin of Australian Football's Gaelic Origin Myth [+Marngrook]

Garlic muncher

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I read with interest this new article by Roy Hay and his continual claim that Australian football is in no way related to Marngrook, it appears he goes out of his way to try and dispel any connection, but then claims this article is not about that when quite clearly it is.

What i would ask is why, why the continual point blank negative assertions ?, both Hay and Zafiris ( other author) are dyed in the wool soccer fans, is that a clue ?, have they set out to discredit the connection between Marn Grook and Football because they are soccer fans, is that a possibility ?

https://theconversation.com/indigenous-players-didnt-invent-australian-rules-but-did-make-it-their-own-76606

Hay conveniently forgets an oral passing down from Wills family about him playing Marn Grook, he conveniently forgets that Marn Grook was played exactly where Wills grew up proven through Johnny Connolly and Howitt papers.

But what is very interesting is Hay claims that football is in no way connected to Marn Grook because high marks did not exist, high marking and kicking being the feature of Marn Grook.

A poster on the link i provided has asked Hay many questions relating to the size and shape of the ball, how the grounds had trees on them and were sloped, the awkwardness of the boots and uniforms they wore, the length of the kicks etc etc were hardly conducive to taking high marks.

It strikes me that whether or not Wills based some of the game of Australian football on Marn Grook it would have physically near impossible to perform marn grook high marking anyway.

Yet as soon as a ball was suitable, high marking became common place.
 

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BringBackTorps

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R. Hay has been one the main challengers to any link between Wills/ the first Rules and Marngrook/high marking, which is his right.
It is extraordinary, in the above G/M linked article( The Conversation -Academic website- Comments, and quoted Footy Almanac article), that he is a professional academic and football historian -but has denied knowledge of Wills' 1859 letter to his brother Horace, where Wills wrote "Rugby is not a game for us, we thought differently etc...". In a reply to a respondent, & elsewhere, Hay CONTINUES to imply Wills wanted to play Rugby school Rules- and not a unique, different game!
These incorrect assertions, therefore, raise many doubts about R.Hay's other views on Melbourne Rules & his antipathy to Wills as the main founder, links to Marngrook, and Marngrook's links to high marking.
Wills cousin & brother in law, the much respected C.Harrison, 1859 player, captain, coach etc (& later Registrar Of Titles in Vic., &"Father of Football") also wrote Wills in 1858 said the words "He very sensibly advised us not to take up Rugby...because he considered it as then played unsuitable for grown men...but to work out a game of our own.".

R.Hay (in G/M link's Comments) has retracted some of his views concerning Aboriginals -saying his comments were just a "joke", and were made "in a weak moment"! This is very poor for R.Hay.

It is stated by some soccer and rugby (Sean Fagan) historians/ promoters that the 1858/9 Melbourne Rules game was basically Rugby, was not a unique game from 1858, and was simply a DIRECT derivative of existing English games. This view is not held by expert AF historians eg Blainey, Hess, and other experts (some of whom also state there is no DOCUMENTED evidence of a Marngrook link to the early Rules & high marking etc.).

You are right to question their motives. You could have included the other soccer promoter & fierce Marngrook denier, Dr. I. Syson, a VU lecturer in Literary Studies and Professional Writing (ie he is not a professional historian) - who is also devoting a huge amount of time on Trove with his soccer colleagues R.Hay & A.Zafiris on early AF history.
R. Hay (in G/M link) states he would be"delighted" if a link could be found between AF & Marngrook -but their AF writing/theories/evaluation of evidence does not support this. They appear to have ideological motives & propound theories which may be considered beneficial for Australian soccer.

Syson, in his neososmos blog, on 26.4.2013 wrote to a respondent:-

"We differ vastly on footy's (AF-my words) position as a local game. It was no less imported (in 1858- my words) than the protean soccer games it supplanted in Vic., Tas., SA and WA. Footy exponents were acknowledging it (AF -my words) as an English game well into the 1880's. It became an indigenous game, or 'national'game in response to Federation. Your argument (that AF was a unique, Aust. game -my words) rests on ideology and myth".
On 7.9.12 Syson wrote, referring to Trove's digital records and the early history of AF "...Sporting history white lies and their more pernicious cousins are being exposed".
Syson also writes that 19th century newspaper reports of AF, RU, & soccer games were often put in the same newspaper column under the generic heading of "Football" -without precisely defining which code. Syson writes these 19th century reports reveal "the idea that soccer and rugby and Australian Rules were different strains of the SAME GAME of FOOTBALL (my emphasis). For much of the first part of the 20th century, newspaper soccer reports were made under the heading of Football".

Thus, for the "soccer boys", AF is, from 1858, essentially, an English game.

Prof. J.Hocking & N. Reidy Meanjin's 2016 article (in G/M link) is very critical of historians Hay & Gibbins; & also R.Gooch (who has been cited with approval by R.Hay in the above link). R. Gooch has suggested that Marngrook may never have existed before white settlement -that Marngrook might have simply been Aboriginals mimicking white man's football. It could be argued this contemptible suggestion by some "historians" reflects their wider agenda -that Wills wanted Rugby, basically, to be adopted in 1858; and, therefore, there was no Marngrook influence for a game which EMPHASISED catching and a free kick, kicking the ball from the hand; no offside, so ball could be kicked forward, marked, & goals scored; & high marking.

I suspect R.Hay's research into Aboriginals playing AF after 1860 is an attempt to deny Aboriginal's oral history -re Wills, Marngrook etc. Hay might argue current Aboriginals might be confused about their oral history beliefs about Marngrook, & that their ancestors were actually playing early AF. Most Aboriginals, until fairly recent times, were illiterate -so their oral history is very important.
Hay will publish a further article in Meanjin in September about early Aboriginal involvement in AF. R.Hay (in G/M link's Comments) declined to answer directly some questions put to him about the article, & questions/ the article were oddly shut down. It is hoped this will not be repeated in his future articles.

If I am correct about Hay/Zafiris/Syson wanting to demolish Aboriginals oral history, The History Wars will become white hot! Certainly, the book being prepared by Prof. Hocking & her team of historians on the Wills'family, Marngrook, its links to the 1858 Rules etc. will return a heavy fusillade.
It would be embarassing for Hay & Hibbins that their claim of no evidence of Marngrook being played in the vicinity of Moyston whilst T.Wills was there (the central plank of their anti- Marngrook views) has been proved factually incorrect (in the above G/M link, re Hocking/Reidy).
 
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Garlic muncher

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Hay is a professional academic and football historian -but has denied knowledge of Wills' 1859 letter to his brother Horace, where Wills wrote "Rugby is not a game for us, we thought differently etc...". In a reply to a respondent, & elsewhere, Hay CONTINUES to imply Wills wanted to play Rugby school Rules- and not a unique, different game!

^^^ that is absolutely incredible that a sports historian that writes about football and marn grook was unaware

I also noticed in the link i provided in the OP that Hay has since closed down the ability to comment.

He seemed genuinely flustered, if he cant answer a series of probing questions in his capacity as a sports historian then what is he really doing ?.

What is he really up to here.

IMO trying to rewrite history to suit himself and his soccer mates.

For what end though ?

Grants $$ ?.
 

BringBackTorps

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Hay is a professional academic and football historian -but has denied knowledge of Wills' 1859 letter to his brother Horace, where Wills wrote "Rugby is not a game for us, we thought differently etc...". In a reply to a respondent, & elsewhere, Hay CONTINUES to imply Wills wanted to play Rugby school Rules- and not a unique, different game!

^^^ that is absolutely incredible that a sports historian that writes about football and marn grook was unaware

I also noticed in the link i provided in the OP that Hay has since closed down the ability to comment.

He seemed genuinely flustered, if he cant answer a series of probing questions in his capacity as a sports historian then what is he really doing ?.

What is he really up to here.

IMO trying to rewrite history to suit himself and his soccer mates.

For what end though ?

Grants $$ ?.
Yes, R.Hay's claim of ignorance in your link's Comments about the seminal Wills' letter of 1859 (" Rugby was not a game for us...we thought differently") "is absolutely incredible". Hay continues, in your link & elsewhere, to suggest Wills wanted to play the Rugby school rules in 1859 ( & thus argue that Marngrook had no influence on the 1858/9 Rules). His whole reasoning and assertions are, obviously, open to very strong suspicion. Perhaps this "ignorance"is another R.Hay self-proclaimed "joke", or "a weak moment" (words he specifically used in your link's Comments).

I disagree the Hay/Zafiris/Syson interpretations have anything to do with grants$$.

Perhaps R.Hay, the Scotsman and soccer promoter, is not enamoured with an Australian nationalist view of history. Hay made, in your link's Comments, an almost sniggering reply to Prof. S. Alomes who challenged his views. Hay said "I can understand your clinging on to the indigenous origins story as an Australian nationalist. It is so inconvenient to have 'a game of our own'as a British artefact".

I do agree, however, with you that for R.Hay, a professional sports historian on an academic website, declining to answer questions, & the Comments closed down, does make R.Hay appear "flustered". This Comments' closure occurred a few days after The Conversation Editor stated in the Comments:-
"...this comment stream is an exemplar for a good one for our site -its been hugely constructive and a great airing of the issues related to Roy and Athas'piece..."!

The Conversation website is supported by acdemics & tertiary institutions. Whatever happened to the traditional academic principles of scrutiny; of intellectual challenges/testing of theories/vigorous discussion?
 
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Garlic muncher

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Just thought i would post a few parts of the conversation that was the link in the OP, plenty of questions from Terry Logozzo, bt not many answers from Roy Hay.


Roy

As you, A.Zafiris, and I Syson are all soccer fans, historians, and promoters, I assume your above comment “Esoteric discussions of ball determinism are beyond my…interest”… possibly reflects your misunderstanding of the FUNDAMENTAL importance of ball shape/size/weight to long, high, PREDICTIBLE-trajectory kicks. All these elements are essential to maximise the chance of successfully taking a hanger in Australian Football (And explain why very few hangers and high marks were taken until the 1880’s).

I will, therefore, not pursue here the issue of ball shape and ball aerodynamics with you.

You have written directly above “…there is nothing to suggest…that Aboriginal practice was influential in either the drawing up of the rules or the patterns of play in the 1860’s and 1870’s…”.

Marngrook was played concurrently in the area where Wills grew up as a child -and it is not disputed he played with Aboriginal children, spoke their language fluently, danced their corroborees, sang their songs, they pined for him when he left Moyston etc.

Also, Aboriginals were recorded, from the 1840’s-70’s, playing Marngrook (including very close to Melbourne), jumping high in the air /on others’ backs, to catch the marngrook ball -and being loudly applauded by onlooking white crowds for doing so.

I suggest many would find your quoted comment unreasonably absolutist -a white Victorian Rules player was recorded as early as 1862 taking a hanger, or a high mark… pure coincidence?

Please answer my above question (o), asked 21 days ago ie-

Where/when else (excluding Victoria) in the approx. 5000 years of recorded history have there been two different games, by disparate groups of people, in proximity, playing a game of kicking a ball out of the hand, high into the air, with other contestants trying to catch it/jump on another’s back, before it hits the ground?

The answer is NEVER.


Roy

(g) A month ago, I asked you the following:-

(1)T. Wills was fluent in the West Vic Aboriginal language by the age of about 10. How do you think he obtained this fluency?

(2)How difficult do you think it would be to obtain such fluency? (Given he was not taught it by a European teacher, and had no West Vic.language book to learn vocabulary/grammar -which was so different to English).

You have not answered either of these questions directly, and it would be appreciated if you would do so.

Furthermore, your response to these questions:-

(3) It is very unlikely, in any place in Australia from 1788 -1938, that an European/Australian child (apart from T.Wills) by age 10 y.o. could speak an Aboriginal language fluently.Do you agree?

(4) Wills left Moyston at age 10 to attend school in Melbourne, only returning to the Moyston farm on school holidays- until he was 14. He was then sent to Rugby School for further education;and when returning to Victoria in late 1856,only lived in Melbourne, Geelong, and Queensland ie not back in West Vic.

In 1867, he returned to West. Vic. to coach the local Aboriginals in cricket, for their cricket tour to England.Thus from 1850 to 1867, he did not speak the West Vic. Aboriginal language.

Dr G.de Moore wrote that Wills performed poorly at academic subjects whilst at Rugby School -and failed his final exam in German, so did not have an affinity for languages.

It is extraordinary that, after 17 years not using the West Vic. Aboriginal language, this (non-European) language was so embedded in his memory that, in 1867, he would converse easily and almost permanently in their language -particularly on the complex rules/skills/tactics of cricket (words not normally required in “day to day"living or interaction with Aboriginals)!Do you agree this is very strong evidence that, up to the age of 14, Wills must have spent considerable time with the West Vic. Aboriginals?

(5) Dr G de Moore has written ( pg 46 "Tom Wills"etc) that T. Wills was one of the best kicks at Rugby School "And as for Tom’s kicking, when the best runners in the school ran the ball in for a try at goal, it was Tom Wills who was summoned to kick”.

Given that there were much more experienced Rugby playing and kicking boys at the Rugby school, do you consider Tom’s kicking supremacy odd?Any theory where/how he might have obtained this superior kicking skill?


Dear Roy

In the last 2 days, I have again requested you answer directly questions (g) and (o) above. You have declined- with respect, it could be construed you are evading these questions. I again request you directly answer these questions (g) and (o) above.

Wills may not “have been noted for vertical kicking at Rugby school”-but did kicking from the hand feature significantly in the Rugby school game in the 1850’s (unlike Melbourne Rules, Rugby had offside rules)?

Re Wills (AND the MUCH more experienced English Rugby players) not being noted “to jump high to catch the ball"at Rugby school, correct -you are, arguably, "confirming"my arguments in (h) to (m) above (23 days ago).

Why weren’t the VERY experienced English Rugby players jumping to catch the ball!? (At Rugby school, under special conditions, a free kick for a mark could occasionally be granted -D. Thompson, pg 12).

Roy, EXACTLY similar to elite VFL/AFL players, using your words, "not being noted to jump high to catch the ball” against the Irish!In all the International Rules games against the Irish, ONLY ONE hanger has ever been taken by the Australians!And none by the Irish-who, obviously, are very familiar with their round ball’s trajectory on long, high kicks.

For the round Gaelic ball, due to aerodynamic reasons, does not offer a predictible trajectory on long kicks, necessary to execute a launch.This is in comparison to an Australian football -which is DESIGNED for lengthy ,accurate, high kicking, with a predictible trajectory -all ESSENTIAL elements to execute a launch.

I was surprised by your comment, above, that “esoteric discussions of ball determinism are beyond my… interest”.Amongst published early football historians, are you unique in this sentiment -if not, approximately how many others share your view?

Dr G. de Moore, at page 326 “ Tom Wills etc…” writes re Wills “ He was the colony’s best footballer, best captain, and most original thinker”.Prof. G. Blainey, at pg 212 “A Game of Our Own etc…”, writes “… Wills chaired the meeting which drafted the very first rules of a game that was already different from every other kind of football…”.Wills might have wanted SOME of the features of Rugby, but certainly also wanted to introduce a unique game -what are you implying about the crossbar, what was said, and why?

In your reply to me 1 month ago, in reply to my question ©, whether you ever doubted/denied Wills ever uttered the expression that “We should have a game of our own”, you wrote “Yes I have, because there is no evidence…”.I am perplexed at your reply, because, at pg 101, Dr G. de Moore wrote about Wills'statement (in his letter to Horace) “Rugby was not a game for us, we wanted a winter pastime but men could be harmed if thrown onto the ground so we thought differently”. Dr G. de Moore believes this undated letter was probably written in 1859.

I recall a Footy Almanac article on Marngrook in 2016, in the Comments section, a reply to you with this above quote ( Re your comments that there was no evidence Wills ever directly used this, or a similar, expression, stating we should have a game of our own).

Wills’ famous and highly respected cousin, C. Harrison, an early Melbourne Rules player and organiser ( who also married Tom’s sister) also wrote that Tom, from 1858, said we should have a game of our own.

Your reference to Cummeragunja Aboriginals in 1900 having difficulty in overhead (ie outstretched arms, without a big jump) marking is irrelevant to the" No Hangers 1858 = No Marngrook Influence on Wills 1858/9 Rules; Start of Hangers/Overhead Marks 1878" premise.For the 1900 adult Aboriginals, playing Marngrook/ executing a launch on another’s back, was not a major part, sadly, of their early childhood sports.
 

BringBackTorps

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Next month in Meanjin magazine, R. Hay & A. Zafiris will further expand on their themes in The Conversation (G/M link) -where they said "Our interpretation may help explain why, to this day, indigenous people believe that Australian Football is their game -not because they invented it or contributed to its origins, but because they forced their way into it (by playing white man's AF -my words)...".

Journalist G. Baum, The Age, wrote 27.5.17 (G/Muncher link) re the Hays/Zafiris article that The History Wars"... have 2 Fronts, one is about which code (in Aust. -my words) came first".
AF advocates state that:-
. the 1858/59 Melb. Rules games were the FIRST regular (weekly -monthly) organised football code played in Aust. (& the world?) with a codified, written set of agreed (generally!) Rules, between Clubs (school & non-school) competing over a season.
. prior to 1858 in Vic., there were a very small no. of irregular types of non-descript football (ie rules unknown now, often 3-6 players per side) played only as "one-off" games, usually only on a Public Holiday/Festival Day (which had no influence on the 1858 Rule makers).

R.Hay & Dr I. Syson disagree, saying a type of SOCCER existed first in Vic. pre 1858, before Melb. Rules.

R.Hay says:-
.(G/M link) to 2 respondents, incl. Prof. S. Alomes "... there were many small-sided predominantly kicking games played for money or other prizes played all over Australia in the first half of the nineteenth century. Many of them looked more like soccer as codified in the UK in 1863".
.(G/M link's Comments, ref. FA article "Wills Country...") "Ian Syson points out that Blandowski's (1857 explorer who saw Marngrook -my words) description looks more like soccer than Australian Rules, or rather the Scottish football exercise which we used to perform in Scotland called keepy-uppy".
.(same link) "Ian Syson's work on what he terms 'code confusion' in the 1860's to the 1880's shows that neither the europeans nor the indigenous were clear about what game they were playing...".

Dr I Syson has written in a blog:-
.There is speculation that when the 1858 Melb. Rules were laid down, "soccer was close at hand as an INFLUENCE (my emphasis)" -due to the previous existence in Melb. etc of, allegedly, soccer-type games.
.Asks " Just what game was Carlton FC playing in the early 1860's?".
.1859 Melb. Rules was a game resembling soccer.
.Melb. FC in 1870 might have played a soccer game against the police.

Prof. J. Hocking & researcher N. Reidy (G/M link) in 2016 make some heated assertions (re comments of R. Gooch, historian, 'Another Look At Marngrook' pg 45"):-
"What the repeated attempts to dispel the earliest reports of marngrook ineluctably lead to is the suggestion that indigenous football did not even exist until AFTER (my emphasis) european colonial expansion into the region... Gooch suggests that marngrook was not a genuine indigenous game but mere MIMICKRY(my emphasis) of european football...(Gooch said -my words') 'If in this instance it was Aborigines who did the copying, they were known everywhere as brilliant mimics...'
In this way a unique indigenous game has been expropriated by and into the colonial present as nothing more than a mimic of the European game, in a modern variant of silencing indigenous history".
Strong words by Prof. Hocking& N. Reidy.

R.Hay has (G/M link) cited with approval the R. Gooch article. Gooch's "mimickry" comments would be regarded as offensive by many.

This is The History Wars at some of their most inflammatory flashpoints. And indicates that The History Wars, started in 1983, are probably entering a more intense phase.
 
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BringBackTorps

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At the prestigeous National Press Club Speech in Canberra on 19.8.2015, Gill McLachlan made a speech to the assembled political & sporting media journalists, where he stated:
"As Australia's only indigenous game, with STRONG LINKS (my emphasis) to the Aboriginal pastime known as Marngrook, we have been fortunate enough to have indigenous culture and indigenous Australians help SHAPE (my emphasis) our game".

The AFL has, over recent decades, acknowledged a Marngrook connection to the game's Origins in numerous ways (Including the large, AFL-opened Moyston monument & descriptive gazebo).

www.monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/sport/display/32785-thomas-wentworth-wills-/photo/1

After the expected further attack from R.Hay & A.Zafiris (citing Dr. I. Syson) in their September 2017 Meanjin Origin's article (likely to eliminate and/or discredit Marngrook & Aboriginal oral history, & demote Wills'contribution), it is hoped the AFL will respond promptly & appropriately.

G.Hibbins, in her Origins' Chapter in The Australian Game Of Football (2008) initially (& bizarrely) made NO mention of Marngrook at all. After prompting from the Editors for some type of reference to Marngrook, she then made her controversial comments on Marngrook.
She said Marngrook should be rejected as an influence for 3 reasons:-

.Firstly, "We have no evidence that a form of football was played in the vicinity of Lexington" during Wills' time from 1839-1850. This is factually incorrect, & was known to be incorrect also in 2008.

Hibbins acknowledged that Marngrook might only have been played (in Wills' childhood) in West Vic. at Pt Fairy & Camperdown - but said that these are c.100 kms from Lexington. Hibbins said "The Aborigines, at the time white man arrived, lived within quite clearly defined tribal areas, speaking a language differentiated from those of other tribal areas. Aboriginal tribal strangers were regarded with suspicion and did not trespass without risking being killed". This is VERY misleading. Whilst such conflicts did sometimes occur, different tribes were able to communicate with message sticks etc. to try avoid such conflicts -& the big, joyous corroborees did attract multiple tribes, who peacefully travelled across vast intertribal areas (& played Marngrook!).

." Second, conceding that football could possibly have been played near Lexington", Hibbins states that whilst it is asserted Wills saw/played Marngrook with Aboriginal children, "as a child, he did spend some time with Aboriginal children and this would have been when he was VERY (my emphasis) young as he was at school in Melbourne from the age of 10 and in England from the age of 14". This is incorrect, as he returned to Lexington, on school holidays, until he was 14 y.o.

Hibbins then states "His coaching of the Aboriginal cricket team in 1866 (whom he taught the complex rules/skills/tactics etc of cricket in their own language -my words), which is cited as evidence of his affinity with Aborigines, probably had more to do than anything else with Wills' love of cricket, his acceptance by Aborigines (possibly contradicting her own point -my words) in contrast to his increasing alienation from family and colleagues at the time (some family, not all -& didn't necessitate him moving to the "wilds"of West Vic. -my words), and his need for money".

."Third, a distinctive feature of some of the Aboriginal football being played was jumping for the possum-skin ball and it claimed this was replicated in the high mark. High marking is generally considered to be a later development (of the 1870's) and rarely a feature of early games".

Hibbins ignores that:-

. the early players, prior to the late 1870's, were not brought up on Vic. Rules as children (very few children played) -so were very unskilled & inexperienced; & as adults, they played relatively VERY FEW games each year (eg 1865, av. 3.2 games per team, only 16 Vic. teams; 1875, av. 10.6 games per team, only 26 Vic. teams: Dr M. Pennings).
Therefore, obviously, their overhead, contested marking skills were VERY poor.
Hardly any adult players today, playing in very low grades, can take hangers; very few take big contested pack overhead marks -despite playing since childhood.
Only a few professional AFL players today can regularly take hangers, such is the degree of difficulty.

. the Rules allowed, until 1887, for players to legally push in the back/push out their opponent who was attempting a mark! So marking in a pack could be dangerous (tunnelling). In 1875, The Footballer Journal warned players against marking, as it was too dangerous.

.the number of early players was VERY low -certainly less than the no. of foreign players playing AF overseas now. These foreign players were also not brought up as children playing AF (excluding Nauru & PNG) -& consequently virtually no foreign players (excluding Nauru & PNG) ever take hangers(even though some have played AF for 10 years+).
(There are also other arguments that can refute Hibbins' 3 main objections -relating to physical/environmental/psychological factors; & a clear desire, from the 1858 Rules, to have a UNIQUE game, preferably with a ball played above the hard Melb. ground).

Hibbins continues by saying there is no documentary evidence of a Marngrook link; & "There is much evidence to show that Wills in fact favoured Rugby school football". (Easily refuted -see my comments to G/Muncher above); & that "...the racist mindset of the time which deemed Aborigines to be both morally & physically inferior. So to conclude that Wills, either consciously or subconsciously, would give Aboriginal football any countenance in his approach to a football code for Victorians is hardly plausible".

At another time, G. Hibbins has called Wills "a dreadful person".

John Hirst is highly credentialled, an author of c.15 history books, & is considered one of Aust.'s greatest ever Historians (google John Hirst La Trobe wiki; see the fulsome praise from other historians in the citations, following his death in 2016).
In the link below, he challenges some of Hibbins' views.

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2008/september/1331684674/john-hirst/comment-indigenous-game
 
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BringBackTorps

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Wow, they are thinking of reopening it ?.
The 1850's Parade Hotel (recently called the MCG Hotel) has heritage protection -but the internals can, apparently be altered.

The upstairs original 2nd level (213 sq.mtrs -no balcony) of the Parade Hotel has been converted to a private appartment -& has been sold ( for c. $2,500,000). The rear of the Parade Hotel will be a new, multi-storey residential appartment block (only 1 appartment left unsold, 4th Fl -167 sq.mtrs internal living space, plus 2 very small balconies -$2,500,000)

Downstairs will be converted to a PRIVATE Residents'Lounge & Dining area ie members of the general public cannot enter it.

It is very sad that the public can no longer enter the original Parade, & have a quiet drink there before/after a match.
Wills & the others discussed the new game there, argued about the most desirable Rules etc. The earliest surviving Melb. Rules of 17.5.1859 were written up there by Wills, Hammersley, Thompson & Smith after games across the road in Richmond Paddock (Yarra Park).

A very important part of our history & culture has been lost. I'm surprised there wasn't a campaign to keep it open to the public.
 
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I’ve finally come back here read the last few posts of this great thread – some really excellent contributions, especially from BringBackTorps and also Garlic Muncher (what happened to him?).

Overall this thread quickly demolished any sort of pretensions that our game derived from Gaelic Football (in fact our game has had much greater influence on the Irish game e.g. handball, marking).

It has also made a strong case for the influence of Marngrook in the way Australian Football developed in its early years – e.g. the high mark or “hanger”, and kicking skills. However, the debate on this continues, though some involved the debate have doubtful motives or agendas e.g. the soccer zealots (and purveyors of fake history) Dr. I. Syson, R. Hay & A. Zafiris.

Another myth busted in this thread are the claims that Australian Football was originally just another derivative of rugby and/or that Tom Wills 'favoured' rugby rules. The documentary evidence cited in this thread comprehensively refutes both these claims.

The actual evidence shows that Wills, along with Thompson, Hammersley and Smith, consulted the school rules of Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Winchester, but all (particularly Wills) decided none of these school boy games were at all suitable for adults.

They thus quite deliberately devised an original brand new code, suitable to be played by adults in the local conditions – so that Thompson, editor of the 1860 ‘Victorian Cricket Guide’, omitted the Rugby and Eton Rules he had included in 1859, writing – “… for we seem to have agreed to a code of our own … the game in Victoria is now universally played”..
 

BringBackTorps

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R.Hay & A Zafiris, both strong soccer evangelists, who challenge "the common misconception that Australian Rules football had Aboriginal origins", have published late Sept.2017 in Meanjin magazine further research. It primarily covers Aboriginal involvement in Victorian Rules & Australian Football from 1872-1931 (nil played pre 1872?).

They provide their theories on "why has there been such a receptive audience among Indigenous people today for the claim to historical involvement (ie Marngrook, the Origins etc. -my words) in the Australian game". R.Hay has previously undermined/attacked/refuted Aboriginal oral traditions, & Marngrook's influence. They make no attempt here to defend R.Hay's many previous incorrect claims that T.Wills wanted only the Rugby game to be played, not a different football game; nor is there an attempt to amend/deny R.Hay's incorrect claim that T.Wills never directly used the words "We should have a game of our own", "Rugby was not a game for us, we wanted a winter pastime but men could be harmed if thrown on the ground so we thought differently", or similar words.

Some of their Meanjin salient points are:-

. "The interpretations developed here may help explain why to this day Indigenous people believe that Australian Football is their game, not because they invented it or contributed to its origins (my emphasis), but because they forced their way into it...".
ie post 1872 Aboriginals were playing white men's football, it is this oral tradition that has been passed down & "misinterpreted" (my words).

. "Some of the skills they had honed long before the white man arrived were used to develop different ways of playing the game...as well as high marking (my emphasis)".
This is their partial "open-minded & balanced ?!" nod to Aboriginals -but is no Origin's concession; nor do they concede 1858/59 etc. early whites might have been inspired to jump high for marks by first watching Marngrook players do this.

They do not endorse even the possibility of any Aboriginal influence on the 1858 & 1859 Melbourne Rules (ie paying a free kick for a mark, kicking from the hand, kicking to score goals, "goal sneaks" being allowed to mark & kick goals & no offside rules).
Melb. Rules in 1858/9 was uniquely & essentially a kicking & marking game -as researcher D. Thompson has comprehensively outlined.

. "...so modern day Indigenous people, relying on the stories handed down through the generations, find it very hard to pin down when key developments occurred. It is not unreasonable to conclude that it was in the second half (my emphasis) of the nineteenth century that Indigenous Australians began the prolonged process of infiltrating the white man's game of football".

https://meanjin.com.au/essays/australian-footballs-indigenous-history/


Garlic Muncher, apparently, no longer contributes to BF -unfortunately.

EDIT:
Athas Zafiris has withdrawn as joint author from their 2019 book, for which he provided significant information/research, & new discoveries! See "View Extract" in post #243.
He receives an acknowledgement from Hay.
 
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Our Game

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R.Hay & A Zafiris, both strong soccer evangelists, who challenge "the common misconception that Australian Rules football had Aboriginal origins",
About Roy Hay He is a member of Football Federation Australia’s Panel of Historians and Football Federation Victoria’s Historical Committee.

Its no wonder this soccer urger is against real Australian Football and its long history.!

Lets hope the AFL keep pushing the Marngrook origins really hard as it makes our game and its history quite unique among all other imported football codes.This fact really gets up the nose of the RU RL Soccer mob in NSW.
 
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BringBackTorps

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Dr I. Syson (who lectures in Literature, & has never been an academic historian, AFAIK) has also worked for the FFA or FFV on historical issues.
Amongst other anti-AF views he has promulgated, he has claimed that Carlton FC might have been playing (at least for 1 game) a version of soccer in its first games in the 1860's.
 

BringBackTorps

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Roy Hay's book has been published on Aboriginal 19th century footballers (mainly from 1872); & Origins issues.

https://cambridgescholarsblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/exciting-new-publication-aboriginal-people-and-australian-football-in-the-nineteenth-century-they-did-not-come-from-nowhere/

The Scotsman Hay, a strong soccer fan & soccer evangeliser, has again attempted to downplay significantly the seminal/primary contribution of Tom Wills to the creation of the 1858 & 1859 Melbourne Rules (Decapitate T. Wills = Decapitate any Aboriginal/Marngrook connection).

Hay also says there is no direct, written evidence (which is correct) of any Aboriginal/Marngrook influence on the 1859 Rules (& 1858 scratch match Rules- which have not survived, but can be deduced from contemporary 1858 game descriptions. Marks in 1858 were highlighted in newspapers- with resulting free kicks from the mark, then a goal being kicked,no offside).
A white player, as early as 1862, succeeded in taking a hanger. Early newspaper game accounts, however, were often sporadic/not profuse.

Searches via Trove (National Library Digital data base) on Victorian & Australian 19th century newspapers for "marngrook" show no record. Are we to surmise, therefore, that Marngrook/aboriginal football games did not exist also in Victoria prior to 1870!
Such is the folly of the Hay (& other historians) dogmatic "necessity of written evidence" approach. In Australia, accused people can be convicted of murder (onus of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt") purely on circumstantial evidence.

There is, of course, circumstantial evidence of Aboriginal/Marngrook influence- the importance given to marking from 1858. The Rules of the 4 English school football games (Rugby, Harrow, Winchester, Eton) that the the Founders examined in 1858/59, did not give marking this encouragement & prominence.

Hay has previously, on numerous occasions, falsely claimed that Wills desired only the full Rugby School Rules in 1858/59 (which would probably negate the Wills'-conscious or subconscious- aboriginal influence theory on marking/Rules/game style).
Direct, WRITTEN comments by T. Wills ("Rugby was not a game for us, we wanted a winter pastime but men could be harmed if thrown on the ground so we thought differently"), in a letter he wrote to his brother Horace about 1859, categorically refute Hay's extraordinary claims.
Also, C.Harrison, the highly respected & acclaimed "father of the game", a Melbourne Rules champion from 1859 (& friend of Wills until 1880, was T.Wills' cousin, & who married Wills' sister) wrote, re Wills' 1858/59 desired football preferences, the famous comments

"When T.Wills arrived from England...he very sensibly advised us NOT (my emphasis) to take up Rugby...because he considered it as then played unsuitable for grown men, engaged in making a livelihood, but to work out a game of our OWN (my emphasis)".

Hay's claim (that Wills wanted only the full Rugby school Rules in 1858/59) is based solely on comments by W. Hammersley, an 1859 Founder- but long term, public, bitter enemy of T.Wills. Hammersley made this comment only once in 1882, & only in Sydney- in a Sydney pro Rugby/anti Victorian Rules newspaper. Wills was dead then.

Many would argue the "cultural cringe" (an expression first enunciated to the world by Melbourne social commentator, A. Phillips, in 1950)- & anti-Victorian rivalry- are exemplified par excellence by Sydney's opposition to a unique local game, Australian Football, from the 1870's.
Also, it was in Sydney that the "dismissive" expressions "Rules", the "Australian Rules", "Aussie Rules" first started- but these terms were NEVER the official name of Australian Football (which became its official name in the mid 1880's). Sydney did not want to use the descriptor "Australian Football' from the 1880's.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_cringe

Preceding discussions in this Thread convincingly undermine Hays' claims ( & the claims continue into 2019), re:-

. "dogmatic/written evidence only appropriate" anti-aboriginal influence view

. demotion of T.Wills' influence as the main driver of the creation of Melbourne Rules (contradicting most historians; including Dr G. De Moore- who described Wills "...as most influential in football 1859 and 1860...".

. T.Wills was not aware and/or influenced by Marngrook

Hay's colleague, Dr I. Syson (a Literature academic, not a professional historian), another activist soccer proponent who has been employed by the FFA, has a strong anti-AF record.

We are still awaiting the lengthy book being compiled by Prof. J. Hocking, researcher N. Reidy etc. on Tom Wills & family, Melbourne Rules/game styles, & marngrook influences- which specifically refutes Hay, Syson, Zafiris, Hibbins etc.claims of no early aboriginal influence.
Their book will support the aboriginal influence on the 1858/59 Melbourne Rules- as does G. McLachlan & the AFL (see post #232 above), re McLachlan's speech, including support for aboriginal influence, to the prestigious National Press Club in Canberra in 2015.
 
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RogersResults

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Roy Hay's book has been published on Aboriginal 19th century footballers (mainly from 1872).

high_catch.jpg


Wasps v Gloucester Rugby - Gallagher Premiership Rugby
COVENTRY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Matt Banahan and Gerbrandt Grobler of Gloucester Rugby catch a high ball during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Wasps and Gloucester Rugby at Ricoh Arena on October 6, 2018 in Coventry, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

The 'high catch' has always been a feature (albeit not so common) of Rugby. A search for 'high catch rugby' will reveal more.
The game that developed in Victoria from 1858 on, promoted kicking the ball over carrying and throwing it as part of the desire to make it less rough and congested. More balls being kicked would have made the above 'high catch' more common than had happened in Rugby.

A search for images of 'high catch American Football' images may inform further.
 

BringBackTorps

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I disagree with your comment implying the "high catch" was important, or a prominent feature of the Rugby school game in the 1850's -it was not integral to the Rugby school Rules (ie marking was not strongly encouraged by the Rules, unlike Melbourne Rules; nor did marking improve greatly the likelihood of scoring, & winning).

D. Thompson writes:-

. Re 1850's Rugby,"It should be noted that in Rugby School football catches were not rewarded with free kicks during general play...the committee supported Wills' preference that catching be prominent in the code" (pg 12).
.From 1858,"...all the protagonists (Rule makers- my words) shared the view that Victorian football was unique and not, simply a hybrid of English football games" (pg 13).

I suggest you read the preceding posts in this Thread- in particular, posts #176, 198, & 215.
What is your response to the arguments put in those posts- & others?

David Thompson, in his book, "The Rules that Made Australian Football" (2013) has done the MOST exhaustive analyses of the Melbourne Rules & rules of British school football games from 1858; AND of the game styles in all these games.

In his very detailed analyses, Thompson wrote, re the period from 1858 where a free kick was awarded for a mark; & NO offside, & a "goal sneak" was not only allowed, but encouraged; & a goal could be kicked from a mark (goals were VERY rare then).

"The mark was the CENTRAL (my emphasis) element of Australian Football, this practice being recorded at the first interclub matches... in 1858...It seems more than a coincidence that Australian Football featured similar (ie to marngrook leaping/marking- my words) catching methods. It seems likely that some future Australian Footballer had watched and approved of the way Aborigines leapt for a catch introducing this technique to a new game".
 
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"implying the "high catch" was important, or a prominent "
No. I merely pointed that the high catch was not unknown in Rugby (and American Football for that matter) and continues in both as an occasional feature of both games and is trained for accordingly. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/skills/4198516.stm and some history of the 'mark' in Rugby is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_(rugby)

The thing to understand is that if you can kick a ball in a game and to catch that ball can have some advantage then players will attempt on occasions to outreach their opponents by what ever means allowable to get to the ball in the air first. It is a completely logical development that needs no antecedents or influence from outside of the game to arise. Without any direct evidence to the contrary we must assume that the 'high mark' is an expected and natural development of Australian Football without necessarily being copied from elsewhere.

There are plenty of examples in human history of multiple similar discoveries and innovations being made independently. For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_multiple_discoveries
 

BringBackTorps

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To see the first 20+ pages of R.Hay's new book, click on "View Extract".

He has not changed his views on denying the possibility of any Aboriginal/Marngrook connection-consciously or subconsciously- on the men who made the Rules in 1858/59, & on early playing styles). He continues to deny the primary influence of Wills in the creation of football & the Rules in 1858/59.

Wills actually wrote, in the 1870's, he tried to introduce football, unsuccessfully, into Melbourne in 1857; Hammersley made similar comments, both not being contradicted by newspaper writers etc. (No evidence of these 1857 attempts/ games in Trove, or other sources)

https://www.cambridgescholars.com/aboriginal-people-and-australian-football-in-the-nineteenth-century
 
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BringBackTorps

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[QUOTE RogersResults
No. I merely pointed that the high catch was not unknown in Rugby (and American Football for that matter) and continues in both as an occasional feature of both games and is trained for accordingly. [/QUOTE]

(1) You used the word "feature". In my Concise Oxford Dictionary, one definition of "feature" is "...distinctive or characteristic part of a thing, part that arrests attention; distinctive or prominent article etc".

The contested, standard, arms outstretched overhead marking (no jumping), and hangers, were NOT prominent features of early foreign football games; nor were they specifically integral to & strongly encouraged by the early Rugby & American Football Rules Rules. These aspects totally differentiate these games from 1858/59 (& later) Melbourne Rules.
Obviously, contested standard overhead catching of a kicked ball by outstretched arms (but not leaping on someone's back) is not a hanger. Such standard marks would have infrequently occurred in Rugby (whose 1850's Rules required rugby players to have their FEET on the GROUND, when catching the ball) & American Football- no one denies this.

(2) Are you suggesting that the 1850's Rugby School game inspired the crucial & unique importance given to marking in 1858/59 Melbourne Rules?

(3a) Do you have evidence that early Rugby or American Football players were actually doing hangers prior to 1858? And pre 1995? If so, details when/who etc?

(b) If you have no evidence, using your words above, that it can be expected that players who "...catch the ball can have some advantage...completely logical development that needs no antecedents or influence from outside the game to arise", why were early & later pre 1995 Rugby & American Football players NOT doing hangers; or regularly, standard contested, outstretched arms (no jumping) overhead marking of the ball?

Implications, on the Aboriginal 1858/59 influence debate, if these marking practices (& Rules strongly encouraging marking; kicking from the hand, no offside, goals could be kicked from marks, no throwing or lifting ball off ground) were UNIQUE characteristics of Melbourne Rules only ?

(c) Juxtaposing your word "catch" with "kicking"
Using your words, it can be expected accurately "...kicking the ball can have some advantage...completely logical development that needs no antecedents or influence from outside the game to arise", why did RU & RL players not prefer AF drop punts (which can be kicked more accurately, over short & long distances) until recently?

(4) Jumping high on the back of a player is a strenuous & dangerous activity for both the jumper (landing awkwardly), & the unfortunate recipient who gets a knee in the back/head. Do you agree?

(5) Have you read all of this thread from post # 163 - 7.4.2017 onwards, when possible Aboriginal influence was discussed?

(6) D.Thompson (& others) has written:-

. In 1858/59, "The free kick assumed a UNIQUELY (my emphasis) Australian meaning" pg 9.

. "Tom Wills, although educated at Rugby School in the early 1850's, was a notable supporter of the mark and the free kick (in the 1858/59 Rules, strongly opposing fellow 1859 Rules maker, James Thompson, who vehemently resisted Wills' desire- my words)". pg 12
. "...the majority of the committee (1859 Committee- my words) supported Wills' preference that catching be PROMINENT (my emphasis) in the code" pg 12.

. re 1858/59, " Wills supported the Australian catching game, agreeing with the committee members prohibiting running with the ball " pg13.
(ie Wills didn't want Rugby's most prominent feature -running with the ball- in Melbourne Rules).

. Wills was one of the best kicks in Melbourne Rules from 1858. pg 13
Dr G. De Moore also said Wills "..was the longest kick of a football in the colony of Victoria".
Wills would rarely have done kicking from the hand playing rugby at Rugby school. Does it surprise you Wills was such a good kick from the hand in 1858/59 Melbourne Rules? How did he acquire such skill & superiority?

(Wills was noted, by his coaches at the Rugby school, as one of the BEST & MOST ACCURATE kicks there, despite only playing Rugby there from 15 y.o.- post August 1850- much better, surprisingly, than many of his much MORE EXPERIENCED rugby playing school mates; & was the"designated (ie place) kicker" at Rugby school, Dr G. De Moore).
Does Wills' kicking prowess at Rugby School surprise you?

Wills had never played Rugby whilst in Victoria prior to his departure to Britain on 27.2 1850. How, where, & when had he achieved superiority at Rugby school, from such a young age, in the complex skills (ie accuracy & distance) of kicking an oval shaped ball?
(An oval shaped rugby ball has a smaller "sweet spot, cf to a round ball; & occasionally in rugby is dropped from the hand to kick, greatly increasing the difficulty of precise placement on the instep. UK winters are very often wet, with wet/muddy grounds- & wet, slippery hands/wind affect an accurate drop)

. From 1859, all the Melbourne Rules committee "...shared the view that Victorian football was unique and not simply a hybrid of English football games" pg 13

. re Football games in Britain, "Catching was merely a SECONDARY (my emphasis) practice of the carrying and dribbling games of England, Scotland and Ireland. Delivering the ball towards goal through a series of kicks and catches was an Australian INVENTION (my emphasis)...the ball was delivered close to goal by a series of kicks and marks. There was truly no other game like it" pg 15, 18.

. re the "anti-marngrook influence" arguments of historians, "these authors also failed to emphasise that marngrook was played in Melbourne, affording settlers the opportunity to view it" pg 21.

Post 1840's, early Melbourne settler W. Kyle said that marngrook was "frequently" played in Melbourne (pg 25). There were corroborees, including at Abbotsford- & "the Yarra Yarra tribe camped on the site now occupied by the Melbourne and Richmond cricket grounds, where they held numerous corroborees, much to the interest of white people"pg 24

. Re 1850's Rugby Rules, Historian "Robin Grow noted that rugby players had to have their FEET on the GROUND (my emphases) when they caught the ball...The Victorian Rules already encouraged catching and did not prohibit catching off the ground" pg 27

."...the Rugby school football Rules of the late 1850's, that were circulated in Victoria, did not make any reference to the term 'free kick' or the mark" pg 22.

Do you agree with all these above comments by D. Thompson? If not, what is the basis of your disagreement?

(7) I have never claimed that, in human history, there are no examples of similar discoveries being made independently- of course there have been.

In 5000 years of recorded history, there might have been hundreds/thousands of "unconnected" people, contemporaneously & in distant locations (for huge personal, monetary & public/state gain etc.), examining "scientific" issues & problems.

You linked "harmless" intellectual pursuits/discoveries- but your analogy is inappropriate.
I was referring to physical, potentially dangerous, GAMES of skill in my 2017 comments in this Thread (re 5000 years of recorded human history: NO previous parallels to the UNIQUE & "uncanny" events of 1858/59).
Some historians & others disagreed it was simply a "coincidence" that marngrook leaping to catch a ball kicked from the hand coincided simultaneously with whites' Melbourne Rules, who were also in proximity to marngrook players: the 1858/59 etc Rules emphasised also Marking/similar high jumping/kicking the ball from the hand etc.

At no time in 5000 years of recorded human history, have there been two totally separate & disparate groups (ie the "older" group having NO influence on the "younger" group), in proximity, where both games strongly emphasised kicking a ball from the hand, & marking/ leaping on another's back to catch the ball. Most historians wrongly claim the similarities between marngrook & Melbourne Rules was simply a coincidence, & Australia is the sole example in 5000 years. !

A minority of historians (eg Prof. J. Hocking, D. Thompson, Prof. S. Alomes, C. Hutchinson etc) believe marngrook's central feature was NOT a massive coincidence - & it influenced whites who had seen marngrook (& probably T.Wills, who probably also played it with Aboriginal children in the frontier area of Moyston when he was a child, as is the family legend. It is not disputed, as the only white child in this frontier area, he regularly played games with Aboriginal children, spoke their language, & would dance their corroborees & sing their songs).

The risk of serious injury (by leaping high & falling awkwardly/tunelling/suffering from the heavy force of a knee/elbow into one's body etc.) is very real. Medical care etc. was much more primitive than now, no X-Rays in the mid 19th century, nor antibiotics for compound (exposed bone) fractures etc causing infections- so death could eventuate (as happened in a few, early AF marking contests).

We have other reports that, in 1852, Warrandyte (c. 30 km from central Melbourne) whites witnessed "...a spectacular game of native football that involved players leaping high in the air onto each other's backs in order to catch the ball"; & these spectacular games "... were met with much excitement and cheering from hundreds of onlooking natives,settlers and goldminers". (D. Thompson pg 19).
These exciting spectacles may have given confidence to whites such high marking could be done safely; & encouraged whites in 1858/59 to emulate these stirring feats of athleticism & skill.

(8) Ball games have been played for thousands of years, in many countries.

In the last 5000 years (outside of Australia), I am not aware of any other game, where even only ONE group developed a game where it was integral/strongly encouraged to jump regularly in the back of another player, in a pack, to catch a contested ball that had been kicked high in the air. Do you?


EDIT

(9) "Peter The Great" Burns, who played for both Sth. Melbourne & Geelong :-

. was the first player to reach 300 games
. was twice declared "The Champion Of The Colony"
. was Captain of Geelong twice, & vice-captain of Sth. Melb. (who won 4 premierships) four times; & Captained Victoria
. had contemporary poems & songs celebrating his playing prowess
. is described by many historians as in the Top 3 players of the nineteenth century
. has been declared by some historians as a fitness fanatic, who could run all day; was courageous & a great leader, & "the games first superstar"

He publicly warned, c.1886, that players should not attempt contested marking (ie not just hangers). Why?

https://www.geelongcats.com.au/news/2016-08-16/peter-burns-the-first-to-300-elite-games
 
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BringBackTorps

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Some more, rather strained/"psychological", alternative theories on possible influences by academics Dr. R. Pascoe & Dr. G. Papalia on the Origins.
Much conjecture.

Amongst other issues, they don't acknowledge that other football/other sporting guernseys in Australia, & around the world, often had horizontal stripes in the 19th century. Many of these are non-contact sports, & have no relationship to war or military conflict.

https://theconversation.com/did-indigenous-warriors-influence-the-development-of-australian-rules-football-73512
 
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BringBackTorps

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1.This link provides further, segmented (by Google, not me) extracts from R. Hay's book (more material, cf post #243 above). The book's material from pg 246 is most relevant to this Thread.

Hay's & Zafiris' documentation & recording (most of it very expansive/some newly rediscovered) of Aboriginals playing AF from 1872 is interesting, important for Aboriginals & for the game. The material from 1872 does not, however, directly relate to the issues in this Thread- Marngrook had basically died out by then.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=mlyJDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA269&dq=Roy+Hay+Meanjin+Football&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjH2oP39_LhAhWHTX0KHXgSAC0Q6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Roy Hay Meanjin Football&f=false
(scroll to pg 246)

2. Athas Zafiris is very unhappy with the lack of "recognition" provided by the AFL, historians, & even Meanjin itself- when Meanjin published, in September 2017, his & co-author R. Hay's preliminary, brief account on their study of Aboriginal/Marngrook influences (they claim nil) on Wills & the 1858/59 Rules/Game Styles/ Origins; & Aboriginals playing AF, post 1872..

Zafiris wrote in his twitter

"The plaudits are rare from academia and the AFL industry. The lack of recognition for our important work reflect badly on their pissant attitudes...I was amazed it got published in the end. No surprise it was shuffled to the back of the magazine...unlike the Hocking piece of Wills wishful thinking, we received no publicity no fanfare".
(click on his twitter symbol in the link, scroll to his 6.12.17 comments)


3. Athas Zafiris was originally going to be co-author of the completed 2019 book- as Zafiris has also heavily researched for it, & has provided some of the new, rediscovered post 1872 information. Their book now, however, has R. Hay as the sole author.

Hay wrote
"We collaborated on some of the pivotal research that led to this book and only his other commitments prevented him from being its joint author"- Book Preface, pg X (in point 1 link above)
 
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BringBackTorps

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This link provides an excellent, detailed account, by Dr. C. Hallinan & Dr. B. Judd, of the Australian Football "History Wars" arguments that raged for the period 1983- 2012. Both Hallinan & Judd continue to argue for the possibility/likelihood of Marngrook influence on T. Wills/other early players on the 1858/59 etc. Rules & game styles.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271625641_Duelling_paradigms_Australian_Aborigines_marn-grook_and_football_histories
(scroll down to the article headed " Dueling Paradigms...".


Notwithstanding historian G. Hibbins' anti-Marngrook Origin comments in the 2008 Official History, the AFL does support the Marngrook connection to the birth of Melbourne Rules.

In 1998, the AFL's official historian, C. Hutchinson, opened the monument/descriptive gazebo at Moyston- where T. Wills spent his childhood. This monument recognised T. Wills & Marngrook's seminal early contributions to Melbourne Rules

http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/sport/display/32785-thomas-wentworth-wills-/photo/1

In 2015, in his address in Canberra to the prestigious National Press Club, AFL CEO G. McLachlan reinforced the aboriginal/Marngrook involvement in the game's creation when he said

"As Australia's only indigenous game, with STRONG (my emphasis) links to the Aboriginal pastime known as Marngrook, we have been fortunate enough to have indigenous culture and indigenous Australians help SHAPE (my emphasis) our game".
 
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BringBackTorps

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1. Lawton Wills Cooke, the grandson of Horace Wills (who was Tom Wills' younger brother), aged 98, has passed away around 25.12.18.

RIP




2. Lawton Wills Cooke told journalist Martin Flanagan (& also at meetings with both the MCC & Old Melbournians Melb. Grammar FC) that he was told directly by his mother Rene- who was told directly by her father, Horace Wills- that Tom Wills, when he was a child, played Aboriginal football -with a possum skin ball, wrapped with sinews- with Aboriginal children near the homestead.
(Tom Wills then was the only white child living in the "frontier" area of Moyston in the 1840's- when he left 27.2.1850, as a 14 y.o., to go to Rugby School, England. He was fluent in the local Aboriginal dialect, & would sing their songs & dance their corroborrees in front of whites- not in dispute by historians).

Lawton Wills Cooke also said his grandfather Horace- who died in 1928- never spoke to him about Tom Wills; & that his mother/other members of the family hardly ever spoke about Tom Wills at all ("a womaniser")- possibly because of perceived 'shame' that Wills had brought to the family (Wills' own mother disowned him- suicide, alcoholism, constantly asking for money/indebtidness, focus on sport/not a real job etc.)

https://www.theage.com.au/sport/a-new-chapter-in-the-legend-of-tom-wills-20081227-ge7lfp.html

Horace Wills & C. Harrison (T.Wills' cousin & life-long friend) both wrote that Wills played with Aboriginal children when he was a boy at Moyston (but neither specified the nature of the games).
Horatio Wills (father of Tom & Horace) wrote that Aboriginals would often come to the homestead (whilst Tom was in England) asking where Tom was, & when he would return.

See above posts # 176 & 189 for further info.

3. Terry Wills Cooke, Horace's great grandson & nephew of Lawton, wrote a family history book in 1997.
In it, re Tom Wills in the 1840's at the Lexington homestead near Moyston, he wrote
"... Tom Wills playmates tended to be Aboriginal children". He did not specify any games played.

Verbally (after Lawton's above comments), however, he later told Dr. B. Judd "...Anyway so the final thing I'd say is that all this romantic stuff about how he grew up playing with Aboriginal children simply wasn't the way it was ". He rejected Lawton's claims- & said "Thus we find history rewritten to suit political correctness".

He has stated he has some other very early letters etc. relating to the Wills' family, which will only be released after he (ie Terry) passes away. It is assumed these
are of a very sensitive nature.

These are the items he has provided to the National Library for safe keeping.

https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-628720848/findingaid
 
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1. abc.net. au 14.6.19 D. Mark

The AFL is now giving its official imprimatur, in its strongest comments ever, that Marngrook had a direct influence on Melbourne Rules/creation of AF in 1858/59. The importance of marking (at least), to both games, is here being highlighted.

(This is through Tom Wills' time spent on a farmstead at Moyston, SW Victoria. It is uncontested that he was the only white child in this frontier area, his only playmates were Aboriginal children, he learnt their language quite fluently, danced their corroborees, & sang their songs etc. whilst living there up to 10 y.o. From 11 y.o to 14 y.o he went to boarding school in Melbourne, but returned to the farmstead on holidays. On 27.2.1850, when 14 & 1/2 y.o., he left Melbourne to attend the Rugby School in England; & left England in October 1856 to return to Melbourne).

D. Mark is incorrect in stating that the AFL has drastically changed its position on Marngrook's influence on the 1858/59 Rules, as:-

.the AFL's official historian, C. Hutchinson, opened the 1998 opening of the Tom Wills' monument & information gazebo at Moyston. He was consulted for its wording, which strongly implied a Marngrook influence on Tom Wills & the 1858/59 Rules. See post #247 above for photos & the monument's exact wording etc.

.G.McLachlan, in his prestigious National Press Club speech in 2015, stated

"As Australia's only indigenous game, with STRONG (my emphasis) links to the Aboriginal pastime of Marngrook, we have been fortunate enough to have indigenous culture & indigenous Australians help SHAPE (my emphasis) our game". See post # 232 above.

. The 2008 AF Official History had a chapter on the origins by historian G. Hibbins, an expert on 19th century sport in Melbourne. Hibbins (who has stated that Tom Wills "was a dreadful person") vehemently opposed any Aboriginal or Marngrook influence on the 1858/59 Rules. They are her views alone- the AFL never formally accepted her views; its Official Historian, C. Hutchinson, believed a Marngrook link was possible or probable.

T. Hosch, AFL executive, said on 14.6.19 re Melbourne Rules/AF

"...is a game born from the ancient traditions of our country...Marngrook, a high marking game played in Victoria's western districts (& in Melbourne'e etc general district- my words), pre-european settlement, UNDOUBTEDLY (my emphasis) influenced what we now understand as the modern AFL football code. We... recognise the Aboriginal origins of the game in this statement...The sharing of oral history by Aboriginal elders has changed the understanding of Marngrook within the AFL industry".


Aboriginal oral history, re the 1840's-50's period, has been considered very vague by many- there was no Aboriginal written language, & hardly any Aboriginals could write in English in the 19 th century. Most Victorian full blood Aboriginals perished in the 19th century, due to disease, neglect by whites, losing their lands, mistreatment etc.

2. The link below (AFAIK, not written by an historian) offers a very brief snapshot of Aboriginal oral history for this period.







EDIT:

3. Historian David Thompson has written a follow-up Paper to his 2013 book "The Rules That Made Australian Football" (earlier cited by me in this Thread).
As was his previous book, this Paper is very detailed re the early Melbourne & Victorian Rules; & locations in Aust. where Marngrook was played, & its possible /probable influence on Melbourne/Victorian Rules.

He writes:-

."Early Australian football was based on two main practices- kicking the ball through the air and catching from these kicks. The kicking and catching of Australian football was likely influenced by Indigenous or Aboriginal footbal games such as marngrook which was played around Melbourne and was watched by settlers. Researchers promulgating the myth argument, that there is no evidence that Indigenous games influenced Australian football, fail to mention that marngrook was observed in Melbourne, the exact location where Aussie Rules started". pg 90

. re the 1850's, " Not one contemporary English public school or university type of football allowed players to kick the ball in the direction of goal to a team-mate who caught the ball. Eton banned catching outright, but even in those games featuring catching from kicks, which was a secondary practice, the offside rule ensured the players were positioned further from goal than their team mate who kicked the ball". pg 102

I suspect he will argue the ball was kicked through the air more often than many historians have assumed. Throwing/handballing was prohibited.
The ball could not (except for a 1.7.59 -28.5.60) be picked up from the ground until 1866, but could be marked on the first hop/bounce. Therefore, there was much soccering, & scrimmages.

He is, as he has done before, also broadening the Marngrook influence beyond Tom Wills' early Moyston exposure to it ie to other early whites.
(I suspect these themes will be heavily promoted by Prof. J. Hocking, N.Reidy et al in their forthcoming book- which the AFL may have been briefed on)


It is in Sporting traditions, vol.34, no 2, November 2017, pgs 89-118
(This is a paid subscription article only-$8. It can also be obtained from Victoria University, Footscray campus)
I strongly recommend both Thompson's publications.
 
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