Bumped Richard Stremski's "Kill for Collingwood"

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Saintly Viewed

Premium Platinum
Aug 10, 2015
AFL Club
I don't disagree, but since estate means a person's disposable assets less liabilities it is generally used to refer to a person either deceased or bankrupt.
That is pretty much it; I was actually going to mention bankruptcy but went the shorter post.

Very good book. In my view, the best I’ve read on a sports club actually. Well written. Good research.
Pity it’s never been extended to today’s time; maybe when we win this year the lot, it would be an ideal time to update.


Club Legend
Jul 22, 2017
Eastern Suburbs, Melb
AFL Club
Searched for it on Amazon (Kindle) site - not there

this is though - sounds enticing.. :)

The Girls of Collingwood's - Book One: school tales of discipline & corporal punishment


PS - I believe the "Kill for Collingwood" comes from the slaughtering butchers back in the day

here's hoping we slaughter a few teams this year
Jan 4, 2019
AFL Club
That is pretty much it; I was actually going to mention bankruptcy but went the shorter post.

Very good book. In my view, the best I’ve read on a sports club actually. Well written. Good research.
Pity it’s never been extended to today’s time; maybe when we win this year the lot, it would be an ideal time to update.
Thank you, but the time for an update was in 2010-11.

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All Australian
Aug 26, 2009
Yarra Bend
AFL Club
Other Teams
Liverpool FC
Welcome aboard Richard. How's your relationship/involvement with the club these days?
I attended a function last year at the Holden Centre to Celebrate the 58 Premiership. It was really entertaining. I reckon a Kill For Collingwood night would be an enormous hit.
Jan 5, 2017
AFL Club
Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
I enjoyed reading your 1986 book, which is still recognised by most historians as the best, or one of the best, written about a Club.

I also enjoyed reading your descriptions of early Melbourne/Victorian Rules in "The Oxford Companion To Australian Sport Oxford University Press, ASSH, editors W. Vamplew et al, Melbourne, 1992". The book is an excellent, general sports' history (& still readily available).

Your comments (at pg. 38, 1994 edition) were prescient- &, IMO, very "under-rated" by most academic Australian Football historians.

"High marking, like high scoring, did not become a noteable feature of Australian Rules until the game moved out of the parklands in the 1880's and on to the cricket ovals, where there were no gumtrees to restrict long or high kicks". (My emphases- long and high kicks are ESSENTIAL, usually, for overhead marking).

At pg 37, you highlighted that the early "footballers" were VERY unskilled (High marking is, arguably, the most skilled feature of Australian Football)

"Physical strength remained the single most important component of the game for the first decade or two, and newspaper commentators regularly compared competing teams in terms of average weight- a key factor in determining the outcome of scrimmages".

At pg 40, you wrote re 1897 rule changes

"...the "little mark" was abolished; henceforth, a kick had to travel at least 10 yards in order to be marked. The resultant longer kicking added to the higher marking and made the game even more distinctive...".

Gillian Hibbins has written a commissioned history of the Collingwood district (not the Club). In it, she referred to aboriginals at Dight's Paddock -now Victoria Park area.
In 1862, aboriginals were "...often to be seen around the area in their possum skin coats, armed with spears, and retreating mainly to the unsold hill north of Collingwood where they camped with dogs, played football with a possum-skin ball, and fought with other Aborigines".

The MCC Library has produced a discussion paper which itemises ALL the examples (ONLY about 10 high marks ever recorded from 1858- late 1870's) of white players taking an overhead mark (ie outstretched arms mainly, not hangers) between 1858 to the late 1870's.

Balls were initially round, and from the mid 1860's mainly oval shaped balls were preferred- they were large and heavy, also. When waterlogged, these very heavy balls could easily break a finger when attempting to take a mark- no waterproofing technology until the 1920's. As initially they had pig skin bladders, these expensive balls were often not perfectly round, or oval- and were often kicked/damaged into a further "irregular" shape (but still used).

Aboriginal corroborees (where sometimes marn grook was played) in Melbourne and environs, and other parts of Victoria, from 1838 to about 1870's, were recorded by whites.

(1) In your research, have you read any other examples of aboriginal, marn grook-type football games being played in Victoria? Details?

(2) Why do you believe that overhead (ie outstretched arms) marks were extremely rare in the first 20 years after 1858?

(3) Tom Wills umpired the first 2 schoolboy games in June & August 1858; and, of course, first publicly promoted that a football code should commence/helped formulate the first 1858 Rules.

Do you accept that marn grook was played VERY closely to his isolated "frontier" homestead near Moyston- when he lived there as a child/returned there on holidays from schooling in Melb.?

I assume you are familiar with Prof.J. Hocking's 2017 research.

(4) Dr G. de Moore has written that Wills, as a child, played with aboriginal children (no white children lived near his western district Moyston farm); & would speak the local aboriginal dialect, would dance their corroborees, would mimick their customs; and local aboriginals went to his actual farm homestead- asking adults there about his whereabouts.

Do you think it is possible that Wills might have witnessed marn grook? Or heard about it? Or played it with aboriginal children?

(5) Dr de Moore has written that, whilst at the Rugby School (UK) he attended from 14 y.o., when playing Rugby, he was considered one of the best kickers/ a designated kicker? He was, therefore, much better at kicking than the much more experienced local lads.
Do you consider this odd? And its implications?

(6) Some commentators have written that the Melbourne Rules/Australian Football word "mark" is very similar to a west Victorian aboriginal word "mumark"- which local aboriginals used to describe a person taking a competitive catch of the marn grook possum-skin ball.
Do you accept it is possible that our word "mark" derived from this?
(I am aware that, in 1850's at the Rugby school, players would make a mark on the ground, if entitled to a "free kick"- but never used "mark" to describe a catch of the ball).

(7) We know the 1858 Rules (lost to history, but 1858 games referenced in 1858 newspapers) emphasised the mark- a free kick was given, there was NO offside rule (very unusual in the UK). Having no offside Rule meant Melbourne Rules players were "encouraged" to be "goal sneaks" (usually illegal in UK), and a goal (which were VERY rare from 1858-70's) could be kicked from a mark.

Do you consider it possible that early white players might have seen/heard about Aboriginals jumping high to take marks of the marn grook ball (which was seen and recorded by many whites in their private letters, diaries etc)?

And this might have encouraged whites, either consciously or subconsciously, to attempt similar high marks?
(I realise there is no written, contemporary documentation to support a marn grook link to Australian Football. It is also interesting that there is no mention in 19th century newspapers about aboriginal football, or marn grook).

I realise I am posing many questions to you. Your considered reply would be much appreciated- either here; or, preferably, in the BF "Footy History" Forum: Thread "Origins Of Australian Football's Gaelic/Marn Grook Myth". (Currently, last post is 16.3.18).
There is much interest (& controversy!) in the possibility of an aboriginal connection to the early Melbourne Rules ie fundamental importance of marking, & style of jumping marks.

The AFL's G. McLachlan, at the prestigious National Press Club Official Speech, said in his speech on 19.8.15

" As Australia's only indigenous game, with strong links to the aboriginal past time known as Marn Grook, we have been fortunate enough to have indigenous culture, indigenous Australians help shape our game".

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