Victoria Park: Industrial Football heritage

Many large industrial employers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries actively encouraged their workers to play football, and local industrial leagues received significant support in Collingwood. Moran and Cato fielded a team in the Victorian Suburbs Football League in 1902, and the large Collingwood butcher’s firm TK Bennett and Woolcock won the premiership in the Wednesday Football league in 1903. Their team merged into the Northern District Trades team in 1904, and then was renamed the Collingwood Trades team, wearing the same black and white stripes as the VFL Collingwood team. Wednesday Football League games were played at VFA and VFL grounds including Victoria Park, and the Collingwood Trades dominated the league. The Wednesday football league had high supporter turnouts, yet unlike Saturday games, tended to have fewer numbers of women supporters; Collingwood Trades sought to change this in 1905 by lobbying for the Ladies Pavilion at Victoria Park to be opened during their Wednesday games. These league games often acted as local fundraisers and social events, including during the Second World War. While industrial football leagues declined in popularity after this time, the leagues provided an important opportunity for working-class people to access sport, and provided a wider network of supporters and players who would go on to represent their local areas in VFL and AFL teams.

by laurenpiko on March 2, 2019

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