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

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Subprime

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From the latest article...

For football's 150-year anniversary when the AFL commissioned the book, The Australian Game of Football since 1858, it went so far as to include a controversial piece by AFL historian Gillian Hibbins who labelled the idea a "seductive myth".

"There is no mention of Aboriginal football by Wills in letters or in the two cricket guides he edited," she wrote.

"There is no mention in existing family documents or in those of his fellow football founders.

"On the contrary, there is much evidence to show that Wills, in fact, favoured Rugby School, as set out in the preceding text."

In the same 'controversial piece' Hibbin's speculated that the publican of the Parade Hotel in 1859, Jerry Bryant, may have played for the Surrey Football Club sometime after 1849 because he was a member of the Surrey Cricket Club and they were related entities.

Ms Hibbins notes 'there is no evidence that Bryant played for the Surrey Football Club' but she does include this theory in her piece.

There is no mention of who took the field in the Surrey football game, how many games were played, how long it lasted or why it died out.

Surrey football had six rules of which 3 were administrative and none are found in the 1859 rules drawn up at the Parade Hotel by the committee that did not include Jerry Bryant.

Pick your seductive myth I suppose.
 

RedV3x

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Why is it that we keep only hearing about Wills and not other members of the committee, prominent players, prominent figures etc ?
It's portrayed as if one man did everything. Will's quotes are often mentioned especially w.r.t. rugby but obviously he didn't get his way
so where are the men who had differing views. As the years go on Will's part gets bigger at the expense of others.
 

Subprime

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Why is it that we keep only hearing about Wills and not other members of the committee, prominent players, prominent figures etc ?
It's portrayed as if one man did everything. Will's quotes are often mentioned especially w.r.t. rugby but obviously he didn't get his way
so where are the men who had differing views. As the years go on Will's part gets bigger at the expense of others.
Hibbin's article mentions other members of the first rules committee, for instance, James Thompson, a journalist, is quoted in 1860 as saying "Football, as played in Victoria, is now fit to run alone...because we seem to have agreed on a code of our own". She gives Thompson credit for first using this famous phrase.

Wills' life is the most famous and probably the most documented of the original committee so that's why he gets the attention but Thompson actually promoted the code through his writing which was probably just as important for its early spread.
 

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

The argument is not whether or not he was influenced. It is more whether evidence supports he witnessed it?

Sports historian Gillian Hibbins, who researched the origins of Australian rules football for the Australian Football League's official account of the game's history as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations sternly rejects the theory, stating that while Marn Grook was "definitely" played around Port Fairy and throughout the Melbourne area, there is no evidence that the game was played north of the Grampians or by the Djabwurrung people and the claim that Wills observed and possibly played the game is improbable

In his exhaustive research of the first four decades of Australian rules football, historian Mark Pennings "could not find evidence that those who wrote the first rules were influenced by the indigenous game of Marngrook".[19]Melbourne Cricket Club researcher Trevor Ruddell wrote in 2013 that Marn Grook "has no causal link with, nor any documented influence upon, the early development of Australian football."[20]

Oddly enough, there is an argument that back in the day those charged with the rules and administration wanted to distance themselves from aboriginal origins.

Now some fans are desperate to make the link.

Which flavor of the month will it be to serve marketing purposes in 50 years time?
History is so subjective when looking for hard facts.
The tribe that Liam Jarrah came from, 'the Walpiri' still have Indiginous elders who remember the game of Marngrook being played in the 1960s.
(That's northern Australia)
Maybe there was varying forms but the same premise for the game was universal. Keep the ball above the ground.
History is like science.
It is easier to disprove than it is to prove.
More facts.
Little to nothing is known about the Mongols of Mongolia. Even Gengis Khan is sketchy.
No written history of a people who until recently ran the biggest empire the world had ever seen.
(Is that reason to deny their existence)
Similar can be said about the illiterate Vikings who raided Europe.

One thing that Indiginous culture did have was spoken stories.
At least 10 such stories have been dated 10,000 years where tribesmen have pointed to historical ecological events that were proven to be true.

I don't wish to get in an argument with Gillian Hibbins.
With hard facts it is hard to compare.(when talking in legal terms)
Still. It doesn't seem like she looked too hard.
 
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MISFITS

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L.Wills Cooke, grandson of Tom Wills' brother Horace, has told journalist/author Martin Flanagan, & a public meeting of Old Melburnians FC (ex Melb. Grammar students -this school played against Scotch in the famous game organised by T.Wills in 1858) that his mother told him of this family legend - Tom Wills, as a young child in the isolated Moyston area, played Marngrook with aboriginal children.
(The ball, made of possum skin, tied up with kangaroo sinews, & stuffed with charcoal, was kicked high in the air between two groups of aboriginals, who faced each other in 2 lines. The winner was the person who was able to catch the contested high ball, without it touching the ground, the most times).

Wills was so fluent in the Western Vic. Aboriginal dialect that, 20 years later after leaving that district in 1845, when he returned, he was able to recall & speak to the Aboriginals in their dialect. VERY COMPLICATED dialect conversations re cricket rules & coaching cricket skills for their tour of England!

These Aboriginals embarassed the Hamilton white cricketers by defeating them in a cricket match, prior to the English tour. The Hamilton cricketers then challenged them to a Victorian Rules match for "revenge"-but they declined, as their train was leaving for Melb. the next day. Wills NEVER trained these Aboriginals in Vic. Rules -but the West Vic. district whites obviously believed that the Marngrook they had witnessed in Western Vic. would have enabled these athletic Aboriginals to play a "fair, even match" of Vic. Rules ie there was some overlap in skills between Marngrook & Vic. Rules (but no tackling in Marngrook).

Marngrook was also witnessed by Europeans in other parts of Victoria -including very close to Melbourne, up to c.1870 (Incidentally, Aboriginals were seen & recorded by europeans playing Marngrook in what is now called Collingwood in the 1860's - fairly close to where Vic. Park currently stands!).

In historian David Thompson's important new book "The Rules That Made Australian Football" Walla Walla Press, NSW,2013, pg19, Thompson quotes historian Jim Poulter, who quoted 1850's Warrandyte (c. 30 kms NE of Melb.) settlers seeing"...a spectacular game of native football that involved players leaping high into the air onto each others backs in order to catch the ball...the athletic displays of the footballers (Aboriginals playing Marngrook -my words), men and women, were met with much excitement and cheering from hundreds of onlooking natives, settlers, and gold miners... this was 1852...".

The 1859 Melb. Rules allowed a FREE kick for a mark, if the kicked ball was not touched by another person first- thus placing great importance on catching. (otherwise, the round ball could NOT be picked up off the ground, only dribbled ala soccer).
The 1858 Rules of the "chaotic " football games that occurred then in Melb. (following Wills'famous 1858 letter to Bells Life), with much disputation amongst the players over the "agreed"rules, sometimes causing "fisticuffs", have not survived.

Thompson writes at pg.90 "The mark was the CENTRAL (my emphasis) element of Australian football, this practice being recorded at the FIRST (my emphasis) interclub (properly formulated- my words) match between Melbourne and South Yarra in 1858...".
At pg.91, Thompson writes"...there is some evidence that the settlers watched games of marngrook (in Melb. environs -my words). William Kyle, who lived in Melbourne (in the1850's-my words), recalled that game (marngrook-my words) with its spectacular high catches, was frequently played and witnessed by european spectators. It seems MORE than a COINCIDENCE (my emphasis) that Australian football featured similar catching methods. It seems likely that some future Aust. footballers had watched and approved of the way that Aborigines leapt for a catch introducing this technique to a new game...".

We are unlikely to ever know for certain why the MARK/FREE kick was the CENTRAL, distinguishing element of the Melbourne Rules of 1859 (its potency emphasised by the lack of an offside rule).

And we will never be certain what motivated its early white proponents to attempt this"suicidal" dangerous feat (People in the 19th century could, & often did, die from complications of broken bones then, no antibiotics for infections. Some believed high jumps were too dangerous,& should be banned).
Spectacular high marking was a very rare feature of Vic. Rules until popularised by Charles "Commotion"Pearson in the 1870's (Many female spectators then would shriek out in fear when Pearson flew for a mark, thinking he would severely injure himself on landing in these hitherto rare jumps. Thus the females caused a commotion, hence Pearson's açquired famous nickname).

The 1859 Rule makers never gave reasons as to their prime influences (except for Wills famously saying 'We decided we should have a game of our own', & 'Melb. grounds were too hard for the Rugby school game'). Pearson never explained what influenced him to regularly attempt "suicidal"leaps to mark the ball (nor the other, earlier, irregular high leapers).

What we can be certain, though, is that some of the most vociferous, current opponents of the marngrook connection to Wills/ other early rule makers (direct or subconscious connection) in 1859 (& marngrook's connections to jumping players from 1858 -1870's) comes from devotees of RL, RU, & soccer.
And for the same reason that soccer supporters are trying to usurp & monopolise the words "Australian Football" for their code.
And for the same reason that RL, RU, & soccer devotees refused to call our code "Australian Football"-its correct name since the 1880's; but deliberately called the code "Rules", or "Aussie Rules"; or "'the Melbourne/ Victorian game"; or "aerial ping pong"; or "gayFL". etc.

Must deny/obfuscate/divert/ignore its "Australianess"- & the great pride many Australians have in our Australian game.
And thus they argue that AF is simply a slight variation, & direct lineage, of ancient English school/folk games.
One of the best posts that I have read and yes our game is the only AUSTRALIAN Football born and bred in Australia not an imported one from England or Ireland.Weather RL urgers like PB like it or not that is the truth and to come on here ********ting about our game just proves what a glutton for punishment he really is.
If any of us tried this on LU we would last about 5 minutes before we would be banned.

As for the predominance of Islanders/PNG and Maoris playing both the Rugbys this will hurt both RL and the struggling RU in the future as it will force a lot of boys/men who cannot compete with the much bigger and stronger bodies to look to other sports and that is not a racist view its just what is happening to those sports as those guys are the best suited to play those sports.Its a bit like the black athletes at the Olympic games who have dominated running for decades.
Another conflicted argument.
A famous quote in music is,
'Everything is borrowed and not stollen'
Hence the bagpipes were not Scottish and can be traced thousands of years before, as far as ancient Egypt.
Sports if they didn't borrow from each other, they borrowed from the same source.
The bladder and leather ball had Welsh/Irish Celtic origins.
You don't see them jumping up and down in protest about stealing their idea.
What defines Australian is still to be determined.
I like the way that RL and Aussie Rules have embraced all things Australian. Indiginous culture is celebrated and participation is high.
RU sadly less so.
 

BringBackTorps

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https://www.pressreader.com/australia/the-west-australian/20160624/282677571589460
I first heard it spoken about on the Marn Grook footy show.
Who the elders were, I don't know.
I'm no detective.
I'll leave that one to you.
The link says the Warlpiri in Central Australia played pultja, a variation of Marngrook -but no mention that it was played up to the 1960's. I am not aware of Marngrook, or variants, being played in the 20th century.

Can you confirm it was being played up to the 1960's? Its main features? A link?
Or do you mean that elders in the 1960's stated then it was played sometime in the past -if so, when in the past?

What was the ball made of?
Were these "town aboriginals"-or still living a mainly traditional, nomadic lifestyle?

Info. appreciated.
 
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killer

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it would be strange (not impossible) if this was occurring in the 1960s
as most of the large Central Australian community's had their own organised
Aussie rules teams (playing each other)

your best bet is to ask someone in Yuendumu or ted egan
 

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MISFITS

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it would be strange (not impossible) if this was occurring in the 1960s
as most of the large Central Australian community's had their own organised
Aussie rules teams (playing each other)

your best bet is to ask someone in Yuendumu or ted egan
Killer I am neither Indiginous, nor do I have access to Indiginous scribes. This is where you can shoot things down as the evidence is stories and opinions,
The Liam Jarrah Story
https://books.google.com.au/books?id=bvycAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT17&lpg=PT17&dq=warlpiri+marn+grook&source=bl&ots=3YxwbKX1PB&sig=FolIM6wPVwiq4HQ-GVHf2rb70wM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjpmLyL06PTAhXMFZQKHbxuCWEQ6AEIPjAF
"The old men in Yuenduma can remember playing an ancient game Purlja using a ball made of emu feathers bound together with human-hair string. At each end of the field according to some accounts were two posts that were much like the goalposts of modern football. In the South east of Australia the Koori played a similar game called Marn Grook."
 
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RedV3x

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Must deny/obfuscate/divert/ignore its "Australianess"- & the great pride many Australians have in our Australian game. And thus they argue that AF is simply a slight variation, & direct lineage, of ancient English school/folk games.
Great post. Nice to have some links.
What we do know is that were quite a number of influences on the creation of Australian Football.
We don't know the degree of influence of each or how one influence might have strengthened another.
Without evidence, we can only surmise.

It peeves me that so many people profess strong linkages on small co-incidences.
In creating a new game of football as the colonialists did, there were only four scenarios.
1. Ball is on the ground - couldn't be picked up in Cambridge and Melbourne Rules (possibly Gaelic Football) but OK in Rugby rules.
2. Ball is in the air - could be caught in all codes but with different emphasis. Marngrook is closest to the kicking/catching of AF.
3. Player has possession - only Rugby rules allowed tackling. (Irish players talked about shinboning so they probably didn't have tackling as well)
4. Scoring was a always kicking the ball through two posts. (In later times both AF and Gaelic Football had the IR setup of 4 posts/crossbar/net.)

The major differences obviously came from the rules and the rules of Rugby were long and complicated whilst the rules of Cambridge and Melbourne were simple. With the absence of Gaelic rules, logic dictates that any comparison should be with Cambridge rules.
 

BringBackTorps

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Great post. Nice to have some links.
What we do know is that were quite a number of influences on the creation of Australian Football.
We don't know the degree of influence of each or how one influence might have strengthened another.
Without evidence, we can only surmise.

It peeves me that so many people profess strong linkages on small co-incidences.
In creating a new game of football as the colonialists did, there were only four scenarios.
1. Ball is on the ground - couldn't be picked up in Cambridge and Melbourne Rules (possibly Gaelic Football) but OK in Rugby rules.
2. Ball is in the air - could be caught in all codes but with different emphasis. Marngrook is closest to the kicking/catching of AF.
3. Player has possession - only Rugby rules allowed tackling. (Irish players talked about shinboning so they probably didn't have tackling as well)
4. Scoring was a always kicking the ball through two posts. (In later times both AF and Gaelic Football had the IR setup of 4 posts/crossbar/net.

The major differences obviously came from the rules and the rules of Rugby were long and complicated whilst the rules of Cambridge and Melbourne were simple. With the absence of Gaelic rules, logic dictates that any comparison should be with Cambridge rules.
The "best" reference, for detail & general acclaim, is "Tom Wills First Wild Man of Australian Sport", Dr Greg De Moore, 2008 Allen & Irwin, Crows Nest NSW (Shortlisted for the National Biography Award 2009).
Dr De Moore's 1 hour radio summary, linked below, of his superb book is very interesting, about Wills' life & influences.

.Prof. Geoffrey Blainey "A Game of Our Own The Origins of Australian Football"' Black Inc 1990, Melb. (Both of these should be in most public libraries)

.Dr M. Pennings "Origins of Aust. Football 1858 to 1876" Vol.1 2012, Connor Court, Balan
.Ass.Prof. Rob Hess/Prof. B.Stewart "More Than A Game, An Unauthorized History Of Aust. Football" 1998 MU Press
.Dr R. Pascoe "The Winter Game The Complete History of Australian Football" Pt Melb. Text Publ. 1995

.Also, possibly most insightful IMO, with easily the deepest & most forensic analysis of Marngrook, the early Rules & early Melb.& Vic. Rules game styles, is David Thompson's excellent new book "The Rules That Made Australian Football 1858 -1879". IMO, the "no written evidence"argument is exposed for its fragility. (Already cited in post #176 above).

The 1858 Rules haven't survived, & probably were altered regularly by Wills & others, in the various 1858 school, scratch (ie whoever turned up to play outside the MCG) & Club football teams. The early games were chaotic, disagreements about the Rules during games were common, & the opposing captains were also the Umpires.

The 1859 Melb. Rules have survived, with Wills'name listed first. It is generally accepted that the 1858 & these Rules are an amalgam of these English public Schools -Rugby, Harrow, Eton, & Winchester (De Moore pg 101). Thomas Smith, the Irishman, previously attended Trinity College, Dublin -so, presumably, was aware of Gaelic Football. T.Marshall, who played in these early games, wrote about them, & "Irishmen yelling, whilst punting the ball high into the air".

Wills is quoted in De Moore (pg 101), writing to his brother Horace about 1859, "Rugby was not a game for us, we (Hammersley, Smith, & Thompson -my words) wanted a winter pastime, but men could be harmed if thrown on the ground so we thought differently". H.C. Harrison, Wills'cousin, wrote in his memoirs that Wills told him "We should have a game of our own".
These quotes should discount the views of some who claimed Wills' primary preference was for the Rugby school game, not a unique local game (including Hammersley, who later became a mutual bitter enemy of Wills).

Also, the 17.5.1859 Melb. Rules' are further evidence its combination of:-
. a lack of Rugby's off-side rule
. prohibition on throwing the ball
. not being able to pick up the round ball from the ground (new Rules, from 1.7.1859 said it could be picked up, but had to be kicked immediately -thus, unequivocally, eliminating long runs with the ball in Melb. Rules).
. catching a kicked ball, untouched - then being given a free kick AND...
. then being allowed to kick the ball to a man in a FORWARD position (possibly close to the goal -goal sneak) who could take a catch
. and a goal can ONLY be kicked (not run/knocked through) without being touched
made Melbourne Rules a UNIQUE game. With no offside, it had a strategic kicking/catching/going forward mindset, & aesthetic.

The only features of Marngrook, kicking the possum-skin ball out of the hand & marking it untouched, from a pack usually, were also the crucial skills to master (to improve chances to score, & win) in Melbourne Rules.

There was NOWHERE else in the world where, contemporaneously, an ancient ball game was occuring between 2 teams which had its sole feature of kicking a ball out of the hand, forward, into the air, & another taking a contested catch/"mumark" of it (West Vic.Aboriginal word for a Marngrook catch = "mumark"), untouched, before the ball hit the ground...
...AND a different newly created ball game (played by teams completely "alien" (?) to the above group but in close proximity) had its most significant features being kicking a ball out of the hand, forward, into the air, & another catching it (catcher to call out "mark"), untouched before the ball hit the ground.
A VERY valuable free kick would be awarded (& possible kick to goal, the only way to score; or to a team mate to catch it, who might then kick a goal).

Most historians, commentators,& RL RU & soccer supporters believe the unique focus both games have of being ,primarily, kicking/catching games, are a pure coincidence. "No written evidence exists for Marngrook".

Many academics & other commentators do NOT believe in this"pure coincidence."

And that Marngrook may have had an influence, consciously or subconsciously, on the unique Melb. Rules focus on kicking out of the hand; and/or focus on marking; and/or importance/excitement and aesthetic appeal of occasional leaping for a "mumark".
Thompson writes at pg38 " Australian football was exclusively a kicking and catching game in the Rules of 1858 and 1859, there being little scope to run with the ball". A nod (conscious or subconscious) to Marngrook? A pure coincidence?

Newspapers in 1858 reported the startling sight, in the first games of 1858, of a few whites taking marks -& later, a few leaping for a mark. A few similar accounts followed in the next two decades, until Commotion Pearson appeared.

Many of these "doubters" (inc. G. Hibbins, who wrote a much criticised chapter in 2008 rebutting any Marngrook influence. She even, again much criticised, downplayed the primacy & seminal importance of T. Wills in introducing/developing Melbourne Rules) also claimed -to buttress their views- Tom Wills could not have seen, or played, Marngrook as a child: because there is no evidence Marngrook was played in Wills' Moyston area. These evidentiary claims are factually incorrect.

It is readily accepted by all Marngrook was played in close proximity to Melb, & observed by many whites, up until c.1870.
(Inc.in Dight's Paddock, now called Collingwood, close to Vic.Park! - where "...in 1862...the Wurundjeri ...played football (marngrook-my word) with a possum-skin ball...".
G. Mcfarlane & M.Roberts, "Collingwood At Victoria Park" pg 8, 2005, Media Giants Sth Melb).

On 13.4.2017, History Prof. J. Hocking, Monash Uni. has given support to the connection of Marngrook to Australian Football's origins -"...with a historian citing transcripts she says proves a key Aboriginal influence". (See post # 201 above). Hocking (with 2 others from Monash) is writing a joint history about the Wills family -inc. Melb. Rules & Marngrook.
Dr De Moore in his 2012 ABC broadcast said "It is possible Wills played Marngrook -but because there is no written evidence, it is unlikely". In podcast below.

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/02/22/3696190.htm
 
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BringBackTorps

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The Q & A link below, where Dr De Moore is interviewed in 2015 by an AF history researcher, is a much more comprehensive analysis about the main issues & controversies in Tom Wills' life.

De Moore says "Tom was clearly the most significant person. I've written an unpublished essay in which I itemise each point. There's about 30 of them, where I think he was the most significant person (in the game's origins -my words)".

De Moore says "I dont agree" with Hibbins take on Wills -&, by implication, refuted the downplaying/ negative views by G. Hibbins on T. Wills' role in the origins ; who she has also called "a dreadful person".

He also states "his father inculcated that idea about Australianness and so on".
Wills'father, Horatio, published a newspaper, & in 1833, called for Australia to be a republic - probably the first newspaper appeal to do this. Horatio also named his station near Moyston, Lexington -the name of the place in the USA, where the first battle against the British occurred in 1775 in the War of Independence.

Amongst other items, De Moore discusses claims made in a Cricket Guide in 1875 by Wills, & in a newspaper in 1883 by W. Hammersley (one of the other four 1859 Rule makers), that football began in Melb. in 1857. We have no evidence of any contemporaries disputing the 1857 claim. We only have clear, documentary evidence that it began in 1858.
Wills wrote that he started football in 1857, but provided no details. Wills returned to Melb. from Rugby (where he was the star cricketer & rugby player) in Dec. 1856.

It also discusses the claim, made by an 1860 Geelong player & Wills family friend to a newspaper in 1923, that Wills introduced football into Geelong. Wills often visited Geelong then, where he had relatives.

De Moore says that it is possible, but unproven without documentary evidence, that Wills may have initiated the first scratch football matches in Melbourne in 1857, & Geelong shortly after. As an historian, however, he wanted corroboration from other sources.

https://tomwillswould.wordpress.com
 
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BringBackTorps

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My point is his sporting prowesss is probably just as much if not more owed to his development in his boarding school years as anything else.
De Moore states that Wills, after being sent to the Brickwood Academy in Melb. from 10 -14 years, would return to the Lexington Station on his holidays (ie when Academy was closed).

De Moore also quotes, from contemporary letters, that the Moyston area Aboriginals would sometimes go to Lex. station, ask Wills'family where Tom was -& would also ask if they could look at Tom's photo.
 

Professor Knowall

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Some excellent post from BringBackTorps above. I was motivated to post a weeks back now (#181) on Tom Wills probable exposure to Marngrook because I was long annoyed about Hibbins' factual error in relation to Marngrook in the Moyston area making its way into an official AFL publication, thereby widely being accepted as a fact - despite the existence of actual contemporary documentary evidence to prove Marngrook was definitely played there.

Though it probably will never be 'proved' (at least through documentary evidence) that Tom Wills or any of the others involved in the formation of the rules were influenced by Marngrook, there is still the circumstantial evidence (not just via the childhood background of Tom Wills but also that many of the early settlers arounbd Melbourne witnessed Marngrook being played), which suggests it may have had an influence in the way Australian Football developed in its early years. As proof is lacking, the debate will no doubt continue anon.

Another annoying claim was that Australian Football was originally just another derivative of rugby - a claim championed by rugby amateur historian Sean Fagan back in 2008, who stated that the first games of AF were in fact rugby games which then gradually diverged over a period of years (conveniently ignoring the complete absence of any off-side rules) and others who stated that Tom Wills 'favoured' rugby rules. This was no doubt mainly, or solely, based on the fact Wills played at Rugby school and not much else.

However, the actual evidence is overwhelming that Wills, along with the other original rule makers in Thompson, Hammersley and Smith, consulted the school rules of Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Winchester, but decided none were really suitable and quite deliberately devised a brand new code, suitable for adults.
 

BringBackTorps

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It's a nonsense for anyone to claim that the first games in 1858 (or 1857?) were Rugby games. There were also other Rugby rules which did not apply, besides the crucial no-offside rule eg tackling, & hacking (kicking in the shins) etc.were not allowed in Melb. Rules. Newspapers from the first game in 1858 highlighted that players were catching the ball, a VERY important part of Melb. Rules. Catching was not important in 1858 Rugby.

Fagan, the strong RL supporter, & others make the claims denying the uniqueness of the 1858 games - to deflect the importance of Wills from 1858-1860. If Wills is "sidelined" from the origins, they can extinguish the possibility of a Marngrook connection, based on Wills' childhood friendship with Aboriginal children...& exposure to Marngrook. This, IMO, is their prime motivation.
For similar reasons, some argue, falsely, that Wills only wanted to play rugby (despite his letter specifically saying "rugby was not the game for us"written c.1859).

The official History is still being sold. Booksellers should be requested by the AFL (as occurs sometimes) to have a "stick-in"brief Addendum inserted at the front, stating there is factual evidence that Marngrook was played in the Grampians area, & very close to Moyston. This would correct Hibbins' factual errors in her Early History section in the book.

I have spoken to some colonial sport/AF historians, & asked them about the historic significance of Horatio naming his station "Lexington". Some had no idea, until I mentioned the connection, that it was the place where the first battle against the British occurred in the American War of Independence.
 
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BringBackTorps

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Prof. J. Hocking, highly credentialled History Professor at Monash Uni., talking about the recently rediscovered Marngrook evidence -played concurrently, & very close to, where Wills spent his childhood. Other strong evidence also existed previously that it was played there.
A book, with more information, will be published soon by her team of historians. Her podcast on ABC RN is below.

This further debunks the embarassing comments of G. Hibbins, R.Hay,and others that there was no evidence it was played in Wills' area (the central part of their anti-Marngrook influence argument). They simply had not done adequate (any?) research on relevant Aboriginal history & culture/early settler reports etc.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sundayextra/2017-04-23/8457968
 
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BringBackTorps

Club Legend
Jan 5, 2017
1,363
746
AFL Club
GWS
Jerry Bryant was the 1858 Parade Hotel publican (& professional cricketer, footballer, & provided the first 1858 football for the first match, that Wills advertised). The Parade Hotel is on Wellington Pde, E.Melb., is directly opposite the MCG (its front bar offering a view of the MCG)- & still exists. It has been closed for c.20 years+. It sits on very valuable land, & it's lucky the building still exists! The hotel used to be jam-packed (inside & outside) before VFL/AFL games started, & afterwards.

The Parade Hotel is the place where the 1858-70's footballers, after playing a game on the opposite, sloping, gravelly (with obstructing trees on the playing field!) "Richmond Paddock" (Yarra Park), would cross the road for a few cleansing ales. They would sing their songs, talk about their footballing exploits/who showed courage, who didn't etc (some things never change!) -and also talk/ discuss/argue/fulminate over what the Rules should be.

This 2 storey rendered building is in sound condition, but the rear "lean-to" section has been demolished. Luckily, it was granted heritage protection -for, after about 15 mtrs. of vacant land directly behind it, a huge residential tower is being built, and will soon be completed.
(I don't know if this vacant land belongs to the hotel, & if a new, small building might be attached to the hotel at the rear, to increase its size -I hope a "sympathetic" addition will be made).

Of course, its greatest fame is where the 21.8.1858 Rules of the Melbourne Football Club C'tee were written up by Wills, Hammersley, Thompson, & Smith. These Rules have not survived (but newspaper accounts gave descriptions, so the Rules can be deduced) -"The committee had been meeting regularly at the Parade hotel to discuss the rules..and the committee wrote the first rules". D. Thompson pg 94

The 17.5.1859 Rules were also written up at the Parade Hotel -with T. Wills listed first, amongst the authors. These original, hand written Rules have survived, being rediscovered in 1980.

The Rules of Sat., 21.5.1859 (same C'tee) were again written up at the Parade Hotel, after the end of the football match across the road. It appears only the tripping rule was amended then. These Rules have not survived.

The Rules of 1.7.1859 were again revised at the Parade Hotel. Tripping was completely banned. These rules have survived.

It is hoped, when the Parade Hotel finally reopens, functions of the Tom Wills Society will be held there. If only the walls could talk!
 
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Garlic muncher

Cancelled
Feb 3, 2016
4,482
3,008
AFL Club
Collingwood
Jerry Bryant was the 1858 Parade Hotel publican (& professional cricketer, footballer, & provided the first 1858 football for the first match, that Wills advertised). The Parade Hotel is on Wellington Pde, E.Melb., is directly opposite the MCG (its front bar offering a view of the MCG)- & still exists. It has been closed for c.20 years+. It sits on very valuable land, & it's lucky the building still exists! The hotel used to be jam-packed (inside & outside) before VFL/AFL games started, & afterwards.

The Parade Hotel is the place where the 1858-70's footballers, after playing a game on the opposite, sloping, gravelly (with obstructing trees on the playing field!) "Richmond Paddock" (Yarra Park), would cross the road for a few cleansing ales. They would talk about their footballing exploits/who showed courage, who didn't etc (some things never change!) -and also talk/ discuss/argue/fulminate over what the Rules should be.

This 2 storey rendered building is in sound condition, but the rear "lean-to" section has been demolished. Luckily, it was granted heritage protection -for, after about 15 mtrs. of vacant land directly behind it, a huge residential tower is being built, and will soon be completed.
(I don't know if this vacant land belongs to the hotel, & if a new, small building might be attached to the hotel at the rear, to increase its size -I hope a "sympathetic" addition will be made).

Of course, its greatest fame is where the 21.8.1858 Rules of the Melbourne Football Club C'tee were written up by Wills, Hammersley, Thompson, & Smith -these Rules have not survived. "The committee had been meeting regularly at the Parade hotel to discuss the rules..and the committee wrote the first rules". D. Thompson pg 94

The 17.5.1859 Rules were also written up at the Parade Hotel -with T. Wills listed first, amongst the authors. These original, hand written Rules have survived, being rediscovered in 1980.

The Rules of Sat., 21.5.1859 (same C'tee) were again written up at the Parade Hotel, after the end of the football match across the road. It appears only the tripping rule was amended then. These Rules have not survived.

The Rules of 1.7.1859 were again revised at the Parade Hotel. Tripping was completely banned. These rules have survived.

It is hoped, when the Parade Hotel finally reopens, functions of the Tom Wills Society will be held there. If only the walls could talk!
Wow, they are thinking of reopening it ?.
 

Harry Hook

Team Captain
Sep 30, 2016
375
116
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Don't want to enter the debate on the origin of the game.

But I was doing some random searching and found this article of the Australasian of 1 July 1939 interesting:

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article142148202

Don't know if it's been posted before but it's comments on the offside rule may be of some interest.
 
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