Mystery VFA scoreboard

Williamstown team photo, The Argus 1949
Williamstown team photo, The Argus 1949. But which ground?

The photo above is from a 1949 edition of The Argus, the Melbourne newspaper that folded (so to speak) in the 1950s. Scoreboard Pressure was drawn to the image by the glimpse of not one, but two scoreboards: the larger board behind the players and the smaller board (for scores from other grounds?) to the right.

The photo caption begins: ‘WILLIAMSTOWN ASSOCIATION TEAM has again been prominent this year and is assured of a place in the final four. Its supporters are very confident that it will win the premiership…’

The caption doesn’t identify the oval, though. Was it the Junction Oval in St Kilda (where the Grand Final was played in 1949)? Or elsewhere?  What do you think?

Famous full-forward Ron Todd is in the middle row, fourth from the left. Todd played in Collingwood’s 1937 premiership team and kicked 120 goals in 1938 and again in 1939 before joining Williamstown, somewhat controversially, in 1940.

Ron Todd, Williamstown champion
Ron Todd, Williamstown champion

Williamstown did indeed win the 1949 premiership but the supporters may not have been too confident when the Seagulls were trailing Oakleigh by three points in the dying seconds of the game. Todd was involved in the final goal of the game, handballing to Fred Matthews, who passed to Johnny Walker, who goaled seconds before the final siren. It was Todd’s last game. He kicked a total of 999 goals for Collingwood and Williamstown, including 188 in the lop-sided 1945 premiership season.

Another curious aspect of these photos is that they show the Towners wearing seemingly green-and-gold guernseys, rather than blue and gold. It’s not a matter of clash jumpers, but clumsy colourisation.

These images were sourced from the Autumn 2010 edition (Issue 41) of The Yorker, the journal of The Melbourne Cricket Club Library.

4 comments

  1. It might be Westgarth Street. The score displayed on the scoreboard (10.13 vs 11.7) is the score of a game between Northcote and Coburg on Saturday 11 June 1949. Williamstown didn’t play that day (their match in that round was at home on King’s Birthday Monday), so maybe the team were guests at the Northcote-Coburg game and posed for a photo afterwards. (Reference with the scores: http://australianfootball.com/seasons/season/VFA/1949/) The slopes of the ground remind me a little bit of Westgarth Street.

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