There were seven senior and nine junior clubs in 1910. At the annual meeting of the QBFA in September 1910, the secretary reported that the association was “without doubt, the strongest association that had existed for some considerable time” (Brisbane Courier Article 1910). Australian Rules football appeared to be faring little better in Brisbane around this time, as the Ipswich A Grade side beat Brisbane 102 points to 1. It was also 1909 that saw the inaugural Brisbane Rugby League competition, with that game ultimately becoming the dominant code in Brisbane.
By 1912, the game was growing again as that season featured at least three grades, including teams such as Albion (probably playing at the ‘Albion Flats’ – likely to be the present Allan Border Field), Blackstone Rovers (the eventual Premiers), Bulimba Rangers (1911 Premiers, played at what is now Memorial Park, Bulimba), Bush Rats (Dinmore), Eskgrove (possibly Mowbray Park, East Brisbane), Pineapple Rovers (Raymond Park, Kangaroo Point), Red Rovers, Rebels (Dunn’s Paddock, Kangaroo Point) and Shafston Rovers (Raymond Park).
A newspaper report for the 1913 season noted that a “record number of teams have entered for the various competitions”. The First Division teams were Albion, Australian Meat Works, Bulimba Rangers, Corinthians, Eskgrove, Toowong, Wellington and YMCA, and there were nine teams in the Second Division, including Natives FC which was founded that year (it appears that no Ipswich teams entered the Brisbane competition in that season). It’s likely that Natives FC got its name from the term ‘Natives’ or ‘Colonials’ which was used to describe Australian-born caucasian football players at the time (conversely, players who were immigrants from Britain were referred to as ‘home-born’). These terms illustrate the colonialist thinking of the time and the predominance of white players in football during this period. Natives FC disappeared from the public record by the mid-1920s.
The opening match of the 1913 season was held at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, “before one of the biggest attendances which a club “soccer” match has had in Brisbane”, where Wellingtons defeated Bulimba Rangers 1-0. The reporter noted that “There was a little combination work, which was very pretty, but for the most part the play was very ladylike. Almost every time the ball was kicked it seemed to go out.” The 1913 Premiership was won by Bulimba Rangers.
The only extant club from this era is Oxley United FC, founded in 1912 (Oxley United FC’s club history).
Brisbane hosted the second annual meeting of the Commonwealth Football Association at the Grosvenor Hotel in April 1914. Amongst other things, the meeting resolved “Regarding the Olympic Games at Berlin in 1916, the congress strongly recommended each State to co-operate with the various local Olympic Committees, with a view to representation at Berlin” (Brisbane Courier Article 1914). This, of course, was not to be, with the beginning of World War I in Europe just two months later.
Park Church AFC played in the second and third tier of senior football from 1917 to 1919, with their home ground at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane. This photo describes the team as ‘First grade’ meaning this is likely the Club’s ‘junior’ team (Under 21). The sponsors of the cup (Flavelle, Roberts and Sankey) were prominent Brisbane jewellers at the time.
The goalkeeper pictured here, George Hughes (referred to as ‘Hughen’ in the photo), went on to play for Queensland for several years.
This information was provided by Brisbane football historian, Peter Eedy.