CARRYING "FOOTY" TO
or 150 Years of Failure
city of Melbourne was founded late
by Australian standards. Sydney had
been founded in 1778 and Hobart,
not long afterwards. Melbourne, at
the base of the Australian mainland, was not formed until 1833, but it did not
take long for Me1bournians to be heard. The title of Crown
City in the new State of Victoria
was in doubt through the 1850's. The port
and the tent city of Ballarat
fifty miles inland, for a short while, vied for top city in Victoria.
Ballarat's credentials were not hard to find - an old
school teacher called Nathan Spielvogul endowed the
reasons in verse:
"In' 51 a tale
In many a town in Europe old,
Of a new found
pasture town with gold
Ho! Ho! Have ye
heard of Ballarat?”
"Come bid farewell and sail away, Sail
and sail for a hundred day, across the sea to
Hobson's Bay away and away to
Quoted in C.
C. Mullen, History of Australian Football
flooded the fields around Ballarat and a neighboring
town called Bendigo.
Melbourne was the point on the
triangle sixty miles from these two cities and became the focal point for
banking and business. It was in this fair city that civilization sprang up in
By 1859, a
new game had developed which soon became known as "Australian Rules"
and, not surprisingly, two intrepid Irishmen were credited
with its beginnings. Principal culprit was Tom Wills - a serious minded
entrepreneur, described as dapper and sensitive and called "the man with zingari stripe," which referred to a shirt he wore
with distinctive and striped colors. He was educated in England
where he played football and cricket and every other game he could. Upon his
return to Melbourne with another
more fractious and loquacious Irishman named Harrison,
he began, a new game.