Essendon (VFL)

Photos by Competition and Team


1950 Argus Badges
1950 Argus Badges

Essendon is a middle class suburb in Melbourne’s north west. Essendon is further north than North Melbourne and the Moonee Valley Racecourse and has the Essendon airport, Melbourne’s only international airport until Tullamarine airport was opened in the late 1960’s. The Melbourne Olympics and the 1964 Beatles tour arrived in Melbourne through Essendon.
Essendon Football Club was founded in the early 1870’s and in the 1890’s was one of the Associations strongest teams. The team won four premierships in a row, (1891, 1892, 1893 and 1894) and early champion Albert Thurgood played with Essendon in 1892-94 before returning to Essendon, who were now playing in the breakaway VFL competition and played from 1899-1902 and in 1906. Essendon won the first ever VFL premiership and won again in 1901.

From 1900 to 1921 a rival Essendon Football team was formed which played in the VFA. To differentiate the teams, people began to refer to the VFL team as the “Same Olds”. The “Same Olds” won premierships in 1911 and 1912.

Ground Issues and amalgamation talks with North Melbourne (then playing in the VFA) led to the club playing at a new ground (later called Windy Hill) and the transfer of a number of North Melbourne players (for example Syd Barker, George Rawle and rover Charlie Hardy) to the club. Rover Hardy became a member of what became known as Essendon’s mosquito fleet of agile small players and Essendon surged to back to back VFL premierships in 1923 and 1924.

From 1927 until 1939 Essendon did not reach the finals and usually placed in the middle of the ladder. Dick Reynolds though won three Brownlow medals for the club (1934, 1937 and 1938) matching the feat of Fitzroy’s Haydn Bunton (1931, 1932, 1935).

1940 was a turnaround year. In the next 12 seasons (1940-1951) Essendon would miss the finals only once (1945) and would win four premierships.

Grand Final losses in 1947 and 1948 brought a young John Coleman into the team for the 1949 season. Coleman’s 100 goals added that extra magic to an already successful team and Essendon won premierships in 1949 and 1950.

Injuries to Coleman and the retirement of Reynolds added to frustration in the 1950s as from 1952-62 were finalists nearly every second year, 1953,55,57,59, 60 and. In 1962 Essendon were able to convert a finals appearance into a Premiership and there were to do so again in 1965.

The era of Kevin Sheedy in the 1980’s saw premierships in 1984 and 1985 and a further waves of new players brought premierships in 1993 and 2000.

Team Name and Jumpers

Cgwil003 009 Essendon - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Cgwil003 009 Essendon - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Team Photos

Boyles Team Photos

Team Photos by Other Photographers

Essendon Team Photos

Player Photos


1933 Giant League and Association Colours
1933 Giant League and Association Colours
Reference_ Essendon Captains
Reference_ Essendon Coaches
Reference_ Essendon Best and Fairest
Reference_ Essendon Leading Goal Kicker
Reference_ Essendon Team of the Century
Reference_ Essendon Mosquito Fleet Players
Reference_ VFL Premiers vs VFA Premiers 1924
Reference_ 1949 VFL Grand Final

Results during Charles Boyles Work Period 1925-63

For more extensive results (and source data for this table), see

Home Grounds

East Melbourne Cricket Ground 1882 -1921
Windy Hill (Essendon) 1922 -

Interesting Articles

The Australasian Sat 20 Jul 1940 Page 14

1946 VFL Grand Final: Essendon vs. Melbourne


Kia-Ora Sports Parade Essendon 1948

Kia-Ora Sports Parade Essendon 1948 Cover - Source: Private Collection
Kia-Ora Sports Parade Essendon 1948 Cover - Source: Private Collection
Kia-Ora Sports Parade Essendon 1948 Inside - Source: Private Collection
Kia-Ora Sports Parade Essendon 1948 Inside - Source: Private Collection

Wikipedia - Essendon Football Club
Essendon Football Club - Official Site

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