Reference_ 1935 Richmond v South Melbourne - First Pre-season Night Game


Table of contents


In 1935 Richmond Football Club were renegotiating their agreement with the Richmond Cricket Club for use of the Punt Road Oval.

As an alternative to Punt Road Oval, Olympic Park was modern, next door to Punt Road Oval and was not affected by the cricket season. Management at Olympic Park were also offering a larger percentage of the gate.than Richmond received at Punt Road. (The Age 30Mar1930 p24) In this climate and before the start of the VFL season, Richmond organised a night time game at Olympic Park.

This would be the first Australian Rules game involving a major teams under artificial light since 1879. As such the match was highly reported in the Australian Rules States and it’s success would be noted and remembered. Richmond and South Melbourne had both been Grand Finalists in 1934, so even without the novelty value, a big crowd would be expected.

It must be remembered that the lights had been used since 1925 and there had been at least once instance where soccer had been played on the ground at night. (Argus 9Oct1934 p8) This would be a new for the football community, but the lights had been in use at the ground for a long time and their quality and reliability were well known.

The VFL gave permission for the match and Richmond would play on 30 March with a white ball especially prepared by Syd Sherrin (Argus 22-Mar-1935 p14).

The Age 1Apr1925 p5 Night Football
The Age 1Apr1925 p5 Night Football


Friday Night Team Lists only. Source: The Argus 29Mar1935 p11
Players marked with * are mentioned in the Argus or Age Newspaper Match reports.


Dave Baxter
Dave Baxter
Percy Bentley
Percy Bentley
Jack Dyer
Jack Dyer
Martin Bolger
Martin Bolger

Source: All cards from the 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers Series - Source: Australian Football Cards

B:Martin BolgerMaurie SheehanFred Heifner
HB:Jack Baggott*Joe MurdochBasil McCormack*
C:Bill GarvieDick Chirgwin*Candy (Probably M. Candy from Ararat)
HF:Pat Davey*Dave Baxter*Jack Dyer*
F:Clarrie JordanJack Titus*Fred Crapper * (Probably))
Foll:Percy Bentley*Bert Foster*
Rov:Dick Harris*
Emerg:Horrie Edmonds*

South Melbourne

Dinny Kelleher
Dinny Kelleher
Alan Welch
Alan Welch
Jack Bisset
Jack Bisset
Bert Beard
Bert Beard

Source: All cards from the 1935 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers Series - Source: Australian Football Cards

Joe Garbutt, the Port Melbourne Player, trained with South Melbourne in the 1935 pre season but eventually played the 1935 season with St Kilda.

The Age newspaper report on the Monday after the game listed that South Melbourne were missing a number of key players including Bill Faul, Jack Bissett, Austin Robertson, Laurie Nash and Bob Pratt.

Pratt and Bissett were listed on the Friday night list and therefore although listed, they did not play.

B:Hec McKay*Joe Garbutt*Jock McKenzie*
HB:John AustinBrighton DigginsLinsday Richards*
C:Harry ClarkeFrank Davies*Jim Reid*
HF:Roy McEachenWilber HarrisAlan Welch*
F:Fred Backway*Bob PrattBert Beard*
Foll:Jack Bisset*Dinny Kelleher
Rov:Herbie Matthews*

Syd Dineen a centreman for Preston played on the night for South Melbourne.

Richmond 4.3 (27) 7.6 (48) 11.6 (72) 14.8 (92)
South Melbourne1.1. (7) 4.1 (25) 6.6 (42) 8.8 (56)

Goal Kickers:
Richmond: Titus (5), Harris (2), Edmunds (2), Jordan, Davey, Foster, Baxter, Bentley
South Melbourne: Backway (3), Davies (2), Matthew, Welsh, McKenzie

For the winners none was more conspicuous than Basil McCormack – (Argus 1-Apr-1935 p7).

25,000 people crowded Olympic Park to watch Richmond and South Melbourne.

When they last met in the 1934 Grand Final, Bob Pratt had kicked his 150th goal for the season, but South Melbourne lost by 39 points.

Ivor Warne-Smith writing in the Argus reported that the lighting was good, the white ball easy to see. Although players found marking and handling the ball slightly more difficult. The low lights also meant that players could be temporarily blinded by the lights when there was a boundary throw-in. (Argus 1-Apr-1935 p7)

From the beginning until the final bell the players of both teams, in spite of their strange surroundings and the soft training, did remarkably well and strove valiantly to keep the enthusiasm of the gathering alive. Unfortunately the spirit of a competitive game was missing. Players did not have the urge to win, which puts that extra ounce of devil into their play.....Stuill, the spectators enjoyed themselves in a quiet way, and night football would seem to have great possibilities given a competitive flavour.” Ivor Warne-Smith (Argus 1-Apr-1935 p7)

The Age report on the success of the match recorded the popularity of the car races before the game, and at half time as well as the good visibility and a good game. (The Age 1Apr1935 p5)

The night was a booming success for Richmond and the club profited by 200 pounds. On the night a match for the next week was announced over the loud speakers to cheers from the crowd.

What's New

More Articles

Ken and Michael are proud members of the Australian Football Heritage Group (AFHG)
This site is an independent creation. Site content and views expressed are personal and are not endorsed by the AFHG.

Read our comments regarding Sharing Your Football Memorabilia - Donating Items to your Club


Boyles Photos by Year//Interesting Games
1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

Outside Football

General links to footballers' occupations and links to other sports.
Links to Outside Football