The first mention of a Leopold Football Club appears in 1898 when a team played in the Metropolitan Junior Football Association. Leopold competed from 1898 to 1915 winning five premierships in 1900,1901,1910,1911 and 1913. The Leopold Club was associated with the South Melbourne VFL Club around 1912 and became the South Melbourne Second Eighteen after the First World War.
A photograph has been donated to the club that shows the Leopold football team with the people of Trawool on a picnic to the Trawool falls. The photo is not dated, but going by the clothes worn it appears to be early 1900’s, perhaps before the First World War. Further research is continuing.
There appears to be no connection with Leopold here on the Bellarine Peninsular.
Local Leopold Team
A Leopold team was also competing with teams in local leagues in Geelong and District in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The early local leagues in Geelong were:
1879 – 1918 Geelong and District Football Association.
1907 – 1913 Geelong 2nd Rate Football Association.
1919 – 1921 Geelong District Football League
1922 – 1932 Geelong Junior Football Association, Geelong Athletic Society Football League, Industrial Association, Bellarine District Football Association
1933 – 1938 Geelong District Football League, Geelong Football Association
1939 – 1945 Geelong District Football Association
1946 – on Geelong and District Football League
From the Geelong Advertiser on September 17th 1897
Springs v Leopold – On the latter’s ground. Leopold team: Ash, Barker, Culph, Cooke, Curtain, Craig, Dwyer, Dendle, Evans, Fitzgerald, Gibney, Hoare, Hooper, Hopkins, Hamilton, Munro, Nicholson, Polly, Quirke, Syer, Worland and Wragge.
From the Geelong Advertiser on September 1st 1899
Leopold v Drysdale, at Drysdale. Leopold to be chosen from: Ash (3), Miles, Cutrain, Cain (2), Lomas, Henry (2), Dendle, O’Loughlen, Richardson, Rollins, McWilliams, Thompson, Maxwell, Fitzgerald, Quirk, Wilkins.
Note: When listing player names, The Geelong Advertiser would indicate if there was more than one player with the same surname by including the number. Eg. Two players named Ash (2).
Teams playing were Barwon, Chilwell, Newtown, Geelong West, 2nd Barwon, Wellington, Leopold, Drysdale, Lovely Banks, Batesford, Meredith, Leigh Road and others?
From the Geelong Advertiser on September 27th 1907
Leopold plays South Barwon. The Leopold team picked from Ash, Bonnett, Carlon, Dendle, Davis, Evans, Grinter, Hickenbotham, Lee, Lomas, Miles, Maxwell, McWilliams, Martin, Richardson, Scott, Spinks, Twitt and Williams.
Teams in the League were Leopold, South Barwon, Junior I.O.R (Independent Order of Rechabites), Sons of Temperance and others ?
From the Geelong Advertiser on July 31st 1908.
Leopold v Ocean Grove at Ocean Grove. Leopold team : Butcher, Bedgood, Mason, Rollins (2), Richardson (2), McWilliams (2), Miles, Ash (2), Williams, Syre, Dendle (2), Fitzgerald (2), Roadnight, Lomas, Davis, Curtain, Bennett and Curtis
From the Geelong Advertiser on September 11th 1908.
Leopold v Mannerim. On the Leopold Reserve – Leopold team will be picked from : Jones, McWilliams (2), Dendle (2), Mason (2), Richardson (2), Ash (2), Miles (2), Lee, Warren, Bonnett, Bedgood, Barker, Fitzgerald (2), Williams, Rankin, Smith, Martin and Evans.
From the Geelong Advertiser on September 18th 1908.
Mannerim plays Leopold at Mannerim. The Leopold team picked from Jones, McWilliams (2), Dendle (2), Mason (2), Richardson (2), Ash (2), Miles (2), Lee, Warren, Bonnett, Barker, Fitzgerald (2), Williams, Rankin, Smith, Martin and Evans.
Teams playing were Geelong West, 2nd Marlebone, Mannerim, Leopold, Portarlington, Queenscliff, Newtown, Germantown, Sparrowvale Farm, Geelong Sons of Temperance, Presbyterian Guild, Ocean Grove, Fyansford Juniors, St Paul’s, South Star, Town Rovers, Ashby, East Geelong, Barrabool, Humble’s Foundry and others ?
From the Geelong Advertiser on September 9th 1910
Produce Employees v Leopold on Richmond Cresent.
From the Geelong Advertiser May 1922
The local football team have been indulging in a little practice recently and having had a few scratch matches, they are anxious to meet any team desiring a friendly game. Would the Secretary of any team desiring such a match please communicate with the Secretary of the local team, Mr. F. McWilliams, Leopold.
From the Geelong Advertiser May 18th 1922
Leopold plays Employees O’Connell’s grocery store at Leopold. The Leopold team picked from Ash, Bryne, Bryant, Barker (2), Curtain, Dendle (2), Dellar (2), Evans (2), Firth, Hooper (2), Hose, Hoare (2), Larkins (2), O’Halloran and Sparrow.
Teams playing were, Moriac, Barwon Heads, Torquay, Freshwater Creek, Barrabool, Connewarre, Leopold, Employees O’Connell’s Grocery Store, St Mary’s Athletic Club F C, Ballarat YMCA, Fyansford and Inverleigh.
From the Geelong Advertiser June 2nd 1922
Eastern District v Leopold at Leopold.
From the Geelong Advertiser September 18th 1922
On Saturday afternoon a return football match was played between the staffs of the Corio Stores and Leopold. The game took place on the Friendly Societies reserve, and the visitors were victorious by a margin of sixteen points. In the evening a social was held in the Societies hall. Dancing and games filled in a very enjoyable evening which terminated with supper catered for by “The Rendezvous”. On behalf of the visitors, Mr. F McWilliams thanked the employees of the stores for their hospitality.
The next mention is in 1923 when a Leopold team played in the Geelong Athletic Society Football League.
GEELONG ATHLETIC SOCIETY FOOTBALL LEAGUE 1923
Breakwater, Leopold, St. Mary’s, Eastern District, St. Augustine’s Old Boys, Christian Brothers College.
The following extracts are from The Geelong Advertiser.
July 4th page 10. Breakwater, 9-5-59 defeated Leopold, 6-14-50.
These teams met for the first time last Saturday. After a friendly game Breakwater ran out the winners with the scores: Breakwater, 9 goals 5 behinds 59 points. Leopold, 6 goals 14 behinds 50 points. All the winning side played well, but perhaps the efforts of Smith, B.Fowler 4 goals. F.Fowler, Coleman, Nelson,Reid, Singleton and Gebbe until injured made them stand out above the rest. Leopold were best served by McWilliams, Curtain, O’Halloran and Cleary.
July 12th page 8. St. Mary’s, 13-13-91 defeated Leopold, 3-4-22.
These two teams met for the first time this season on the F.S. reserve on Saturday last. The day was unsuitable for good football and the ground was very sodden and under water in places. After a friendly game, St. Mary’s proved too strong for their opponents and eventually ran out winners with the scores, St. Mary’s, 13 goals 13 behinds, Leopold 3 goals 4 behinds. St. Mary’s were a very even side while Leopold’s captain, O’Halloran, played finely. Goal kickers for St. Mary’s were Alsop (4), Bryne (3) Brushfiled (2), O’Callaghan, Kearney and Podbury. St. Mary’s players are requested to attend training to-night as Saturday’s match against Eastern District is sure to be a hard one.
July 13th page 2. Leopold v Christian Brothers College.
Today the Christian Brothers College football team play Leopold on Leopold’s ground. The former team’s players will meet at the College at 1.30 pm sharp, at which place a bus will be awaiting them. The C.B.C team will be selected from the following: R.Dickinson, A.Larkins, E.McCoy, T.Hayes, D.Madden, J.Stanley, L.Harvey, H.Hardiman, F.Ganim, J.Glynn, C.Mulroyan, D.Coghlan, J.Hayes, J.McFarlane, P.Joseph, P.Riordan, W.Mee, J.Diamond, L.Byrne, C.Kinsella, D. O’Keefe, L.Elias, A.Podbury, L.Meehan, J.Tolliday, L.Lansing, G.Brady, J.Lory, J.McGrath.
July 23th page 7. Eastern District, 11-11-77 defeated Leopold, 2-3-15.
These teams met for the second time this season on the Eastern Reserve and as on the previous occasion, the Eastern proved superior and ran out easy winners, the final scores being:- Eastern District, 11 goals 11 behinds; Leopold, 2 goals 3 behinds. Goalkickers for the winners were: Carroll (5), Clarke (3), Pathie, Stoate, Godfrey. All on the winning side played well and the best of the losers were: Hooper, O’Halloran, McWilliams, Davis, Scott and Dellar.
August 1st, page 19. St. Augustine’s Old Boys, 7-10-52 defeated Leopold, 5-4-34.
These teams met for the second time this season at Leopold on Saturday last. In Queen’s Park on June 23rd the Old Boys won a hard fought game by 5 points. On Saturday the Old Boys again proved victors by 18 points. They were without the services of L.Boyd, C.Lilburne, J.Ryan, T.Jewells and Holmes. Leopold won the toss and took advantage of the wind, managing to score 1 goal 1 behind to the Old Boys’ 2 goals 1 behind. In the second quarter the Old Boys, playing well together, had the best of the play scoring 4 goals 5 behinds to Leopold 2 behinds. In the third quarter Leopold, playing a great game, had the best of the play, scoring 4 goals 2 behinds to Old Boys’ 1 behind. In the final quarter the Old Boys, playing good open football, added 1 goal 3 behinds to Leopold nil. Final scores were: Old Boys, 7 goals, 10 behinds: to Leopold, 5 goals 4 behinds. The Old Boys were a very even side, while all for Leopold played well. Goal-kickers for Old Boys: Stokes, A.Ryan. Barnett, M.Ryan, King, O’Dea and Loney.
August 21st, page 6. Breakwater defeated Leopold by 2 points.
This match took place at Leopold on Saturday under ideal weather conditions for football. Leopold had a strong team afield, while Breakwater were not fully represented. The visiting captain won the toss and chose to kick with the slight breeze, favouring the Northern goals. The first quarter was in favour of Breakwater but Leopold evened up the scores in the second quarter and up to half time seemed to play the better game. The third quarter was more evenly contested and ended showing Leopold to have a small lead of three points. The final term produced the best football of the day. Leopold kicked with the wind, seemed to have the game well in hand, but Breakwater were not to be denied and finishing strongly won by 2 points. The winners were a very even side, but special mention is due to C.Neilson (best man on the ground), who was well supported by Hughan (2), Fowler, Coleman (2), Gebbie (2), Singleton, Reed and Smith, while Leopold were best served by Larkins, Curtain, McWilliams, Cleary and Hooper. Leopold are to be congratulated on the fine sporting spirit to which they played the game and again, for entertaining the visitors to tea after the match.
August 13th. Report of a junior game between Leopold and Geelong.
These teams met for the second time this season on the Melbourne ground, before a fair crowd of spectators. On the previous occasion Leopold won by the narrow margin of one point. The ground was in splendid condition. The teams at starting were placed as under:—
Leopold won the toss and kicked with the slight breeze towards the stand gold. They attacked off the bounce and with the aid of free kicks opened the scoring account with a point. Another was gained almost immediately again from a penalty kick. Leopold were playing a better concerted game and were leading the Geelong to the ball. The first goal was kicked by Bryne of Leopold, again from a free. The Geelong boys were scraggling too much. Geelong then turned the game to the opposite end and Paterson from a great mark, scored the first goal for his side. Heaghney was conspicuous for good defence work at this stage. Getson, from a free, forwarded to Gurr, who passed to Lehman and second goal resulted for Geelong. Byrne, of Leopold and O’Meara were doing the best work for the home team, the former getting another goal. Leopold were attacking until the close of the quarter, only four behinds, however were added to their score. First Quarter – Geelong, 2 goals (12 points): Leopold. 2 goals 6 behinds (18 points).
Leopold again led off the bounce, but the Geelong backs were now steadier and minding their men better. The Leopold team were playing good handball, but on occasions overdid it, whereas Geelong men were taking long kicks. The teamwork of Leopold was better than that of Geelong and they were better in the air. The only goal scored in this quarter was from Getson’s boot. The scoring for the quarter was very low. Geelong obtained 1 goal 1 behind and Leopold 3 behinds. Connell and James stood out for superior work during this time for Leopold and Britter, Heaghney, Gurr, Lehman, and Murrels for Geelong. Half-time scores:– Leopold, 2-9 (21 points): Geelong, 3-1 (19 points).
The start of the third quarter was a repetition of the first and second, with Leopold attacking from the bounce, superior team work being shown. They soon piled on the points. Burnstill got two goals in quick succession and Bryne and Marsh followed suit soon afterwards, giving Leopold a 5-goal lead. From then onward Geelong rallied and goals were obtained by McGregor and Mills. Towards the close of this term Geelong were playing more like their usual game, but up to then, over the whole game, Leopold were the better team. Murrells, Britter, McGregor and Williams shone out for Geelong and Burnstill and Bryne for Leopold. Three–quarter scores – Leopold, 6-11 (47 points): Geelong, 5-4 (34 points).
Leopold again forwarded on the bounce and soon had Geelong defending. They scored two behinds before Geelong could work the ball away. The play then evened up. For about ten minutes no scoring was done and it looked as though Geelong would be beaten, as Leopold added another behind, hitting the post. Geelong, however, kept at it with dogged determination characteristic of the seconds. They slowly commenced to overhaul the Leopold’s score. Lehman was the first to score a sixer from a snap. Getson followed soon afterwards. Then several behinds were obtained. It was noticeable that the Leopold were a very tired side, whereas Geelong were racing at their top and fighting harder than at any part of the match. With seven seconds to go, F.Murrells, from a clever dodging piece of play, came through a bunch of Leopold players and passed to H. Britter, who had left the full back position and posted himself forward. Britter, who was about 40 yards out, placed the ball and kicked a beautiful goal, bringing with it victory by 2 points. There was a great demonstration at the close. Britter’s club mates carrying him in. In this term special mention might be given to Heaghney, Britter, Murrells, McGregor, and Fleming (Geelong) and Adamson, Bell and Bryne for Leopold.
Final scores :– Geelong – 8 goals 8 behinds (52 points) Leopold – 6 goals 14 behinds (50 points).
The best players for Geelong were : Heaghney, Britter, Murrells, McGregor, Fleming,: for Leopold, Burnstill, Byrne, O’Meara, James, and Connell. Drysdale gave satisfaction as umpire.
From the Geelong Advertiser May 1st 1924
The applications of Portarlington and Leopold Football Clubs for admission to the League were held over until the matter had been fully discussed at a meeting of the League to be held at Mr. Aspinall’s shop on Friday evening at 8.30. All clubs are requested to send their delegates along, as the business is very important.
From the Geelong Advertiser May 3rd 1924
The committee met last evening to consider the applications of the Portarlington and Leopold Football clubs for admission to the League. After a long discussion it was decided to admit the Portarlington Football Club.