Men started playing football in Queensland around the 1870s.
The earliest known match of Association Football took place at Woogaroo Asylum, Goodna, in modern day Ipswich, on Saturday August 7 1875. The combatants were staff and patients of the Asylum, and the Brisbane Club.
Brisbane Club were the original football club in Queensland, which alternated between Rugby and Australian Rules during their existence. However for the sake of the “bedlam” players, rules adopted where the ball was not to be carried or handled.
The Footballer, a Victorian publication which reviewed the year’s football across the colonies, subsequently stated the match “was played without handling the ball under any circumstances whatever (Association rules)”. Though there had been earlier non-handling football matches in Australia, such as Hobart and Melbourne in 1870, contemporary newspaper reports do not provide enough details to definitively class these matches as soccer.
The Woogaroo match is currently considered the earliest match in Australia described as being played under British Association rules.
FQH wishes to thank Garry McKenzie for the above text.
In 1999, Kasey Wehrman became the first Aboriginal player from Queensland to play for the national side.
Wehrman was born in Cloncurry and came through the junior ranks in Mount Isa. After moving to Brisbane as a teenager, Wehrman’s senior career started with the Brisbane Strikers in 1995. Wehrman would go on to play for the Olyroos and the Socceroos on numerous occasions.
It is important to acknowledge here the significant barriers First Nations players face. Maynard (2011, 14 & 34) points out that “historically, Aboriginal players were largely ignored by the soccer authorities” and that racist and restrictive government policy of segregation meant that Aboriginal people were often cut off from sporting opportunities.
The above information is drawn from John Maynard’s groundbreaking book, ‘The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe: a history of Aboriginal involvement with the world game.’ See pages 90-91 for further information on Wehrman’s career.