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.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.
History is so subjective when looking for hard facts.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".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."
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?
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.
Another conflicted argument.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.
https://www.pressreader.com/australia/the-west-australian/20160624/282677571589460What's you're source for this ?
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.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.
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,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
Great post. Nice to have some links.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.
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).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.
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).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.
Don't get it, him and Athas Zafiris are out and out soccer fans, why bother unless you have an ulterior motive.
Wow, they are thinking of reopening it ?.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!