CAST OFF YOUR CRICKET GARB OF WHITE;
LAY PAST THE WICKETS, BAT AND BALL;
WITH SPIRITS KEEN AND PROSPECTS BRIGHT,
KING FOOTBALL MAKES HIS ANNUAL CALL.
SO LET US GIVE OUR ROYAL GUEST
A WELCOME OF A GLORIOUS SORT;
JOIN IN THIS TOAST WITH VIM AND REST,
"LONG LIFE TO AUSSIE'S KING OF SPORT!"
Club formed by Robert McFarland (First President) and Ben James (First Secretary)
Original Committee; A. W. McHarg, G. F. Bowen, O. T. L. O'Brien, T. P. Power, Robert Richardson, G. Waugh.
Home ground- a clearing in Royal Park.
First Captain. Harry Chadwick.
Pioneer players. Lanty O'Brien , James Byrne , Frank Hillsden ,Bill Williams , Jim Williams, J.Clark, W. 'Bill' Gorman , Tom Gorman , Harry Guy , Andy McHarg , George Waugh , George F. Bowen , T.P. Power , Robert Richardson , Dr.J.Duncan , Robert McFarland , Ben James , and Harry Chadwick.
1864 was the year that the Carlton Football Club was officially formed, although an earlier attempt at forming the club in 1861 has been found; -
see Formation of the Club, and for 1864-1896 football grounds see Pre VFL Venues
(In 1908 on the anniversary of 50 years of Australian Football, The Age ran a story of the history of football. Twice in the article the newspaper mentions that Carlton was formed in 1861.)
The Herald May 23 1924 (p4)
"The club came into existence in July, 1864 having been formed by several members of the Carlton Cricket Club.
Its founders were messrs. Ben James (the first secretary), L. ("Lanty") O'Brien, A. McHarg, R. W. McFarland, A. W. Waugh, G. F. Bonner? Bowen and Tom Power."
The Adelaide newspaper "Sport" June 24 1927 (p8)
"The famous Carlton, Victorian team came into existence in July, 1864.
Its founders were Messrs. Ben James (the first Secretary), L. ("Larty") Lanty O'Brien, the famous punt kick. A. McHarg, H. W. McFarland, A. W. Waugh, and Tom Power."
In The Footballer, 1875 edition, writing on the history of the game,
"At the beginning of 1864, Football, which has been growing in favor, received additional impetus, from the advent of Emerald Hill, Royal Park and Carlton."
The Footballer was the first publication dedicated to Australian Football and was edited by T.P. Power a Carlton pioneer player who was also on the Club's first committee.
At the Annual General Meeting of the C.F.C. on 26th. April 1878 at the Clyde Hotel, the club's report states that
"... the club, now arrived at it's 14th. anniversary ..."
(The Argus April 27 1878 p8)
Initially joining the 'Melbourne Rules' competition, then the Challenge Cup Competition, Carlton was a foundation club of newly formed Victorian Football Association (VFA) for the period 1877 - 1896 and then on to the Victorian Football League (VFL) from 1897 onwards. Of course, the VFL was to become the Australian Football League (AFL) almost a century later, a century in which Carlton would prove itself one of the powerhouses of the competition.
At this stage of our existence, we were still to be called the Navy Blues. In fact, we had very little navy blue on our uniform at all - just a navy blue stripe. By 1871 we would have adopted a Navy Blue uniform and cap, earning the name 'the Blues', but it wouldn't be until 1908 that we would locate the white CFC monogram to complete the perfect jumper!
This has been the Carlton Cricket Club's motto since it's inception and was inscribed around the cricket club's pavilion clock.
(In 1903 Jack Worrall wanting a message to send to his players, suggested to the committee to adopt the saying.
It therefore became the motto of the Carlton Football Club.)
The Carlton Football Club in 1864 was born from the Carlton Cricket Club.
Most cricket clubs looked warily at at football matches, but the Carlton Cricket Club helped in the formation of the Carlton Football Club.
Club President Robert McFarland scored the first century for the Carlton Cricket Club.
Secretary Ben James was also an enthusiastic cricketer.
Most of the original players and committee members were Carlton cricketers.
After a Carlton victory against Essendon at the East Melbourne Cricket ground in 1889 the Melbourne Punch, August 29 (p139) wrote;
"Be it known by these presents that the match wasn't over when it finished. Not half over in fact. In the upper room of the East Melbourne pavilion it was played over again by a party of seven.
This was made up of Sir Herky, the Honorary Treasurer, the Gold Medallist ( Tom Power )*, an Old Dark Blue Skipper (who with a mighty rush through the serried ranks of the foe would crush) ( This would be J. A. Donovan: Blueseum), the Commercial Traveller, Mine Host of the Duke of Wellington, and the Carlton Fat Man.
There were one or two bottles of Dry Monopole punished during the couple of hours' sitting, which passed pleasantly enough in recalling old-time reminiscences.
Strange to say, the Honorary Treasurer, the Gold Medallist, and the Fat 'Un were three of the original eight lads that started the Carlton Football Club, at the University Hotel, in 1864 - exactly a quarter of a century ago."
-*Tom Power had a saddlery business and one of his saddles won a Gold Medal at the 1889 Paris Exhibition.
The Carlton Fat Man maybe George F. Bowen who went onto become a sports writer and wrote under various non-de-plumes for newspapers.
Melbourne F.C. (Est. May 1858) and the Geelong F.C. (Est. July 1859), along with Carlton F.C. (Est. July 1864), are the three oldest clubs in the competition.
These three clubs are older than any club currently in the four divisions of the English League.
(Notts County, the oldest English League soccer club, played informally in 1862 but was not officially formed until December 7th. 1864.)
The Carlton Football Club is the only club to have competed in every season, including 1864, until the present day.
Both Melbourne and Geelong went into recess during both World Wars.
Melbourne 1916-18, and Geelong 1916, and 1942-1943.
1864 season Carlton played 10 games for 1 win.
Finances sound at end of first season.
The Argus mentions the Melbourne Amateur Athletic Sports meeting to be held and lists the day's activities.
One of these is a "Drop Kick At Football" contest.
Three contestants, one a Jack Conway, who came second with 55 yards 1 foot 8 inches, 11 inches short of the winner H.C.A. Harrison of Melbourne F.C.
No controlling body, clubs played each other according to an unwritten agreement.
Captains acted as umpires until 1870's.
Games consisted of two 50 minute halves with no change of ends-this lasted until 1870.
Two goals won a game.
If two goals were not scored, the game resumed the following week.
This changed in 1865 when a game limited to one afternoon and a draw declared if two goals were not scored.
Players in those days were not tied to a particular club. Footballers played with multiple teams and if a game was decided early, then they may have played in another match for another club.
1864. Premiers. Melbourne, 2. Ballarat, 3. Geelong.
Footnote:So far, the earliest newspaper report of a game involving Carlton is a match on May 27 1865 against Melbourne Grammar on the Myall Ground.
If 1865 was the first game, it seems odd that the club would have been formed in July 1864 mid way through the football season and 10 months before actually playing.
Maybe the 1861 formation had continued and the club in 1862 had become known as the Royal Park Football Club. Early in 1864 the Carlton Cricket Club broke away from the amalgamation with Royal Park Cricket Club. Perhaps the footballers followed suit, but decided to play out the1864 season as Royal Park. In the following years quite a few Royal Park players joined the Carlton Football Club.
The Carlton Story. Hugh Buggy and Harry Bell. Pages 5.6,7,8.
Mullen's Footballers Australian Almanac of 1951 Page 66.
The Association of Football Statisticians, web site.-History of Football (soccer). Page 4.
The History of the Carlton Football Club, Brian Hansen p115
King Football Poem from The Advocate (Burnie) April 7 1923, p12.