Organised football in the Perth/Fremantle region of Western Australia dates back to 1881. Back then though rugby union was the dominant football code, with only one senior club, “Unions”, playing Australian Rules. In 1885 one of the leading rugby clubs, Fremantle, decided to change to Australian Rules. It was quickly joined by three other clubs – “Rovers”, “Victorians”, and a team of schoolboys from Perth High. The schoolboy side lasted just two matches, but the three other sides went on to contest what in retrospect was viewed as the first-ever official Western Australian Football Association (WAFA) premiership, won by Rovers. And virtually overnight Australian Rules football became the dominant code for the spectator as well.
In 1908 the WAFA was renamed the West Australian Football League (WAFL). In 1932, the WAFL was renamed the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL) but in 1980 it reverted back to the WAFL.
A special postmark on the 21st September 1985 celebrated the Centenary. The cachet showed a contest between the two Grand Finalists East Fremantle (Blue & White)and Subiaco (Maroon & Gold). It was a close affair with East Fremantle winning by 5 points before a crowd of 42,657 fans at Subiaco Oval. It is regarded as one of the best-ever WAFL Grand Finals.
The above 33c PSE of Kakadu National park was issued on the 20 March 1985. The cachet shows Haydn Austin Bunton. He is the son of the legendary Haydn Bunton Sr.. Bunton Jr. played for North Adelaide and Norwood in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), as well as Swan Districts and Subiaco in the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL).
Bunton was regarded as a tough and skillful player in both South Australia and Western Australia, but it was as a coach that he cemented a reputation alongside his father as one of Australian football’s greatest identities.
Bunton was inducted into the coaches section of the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996, as well as the Western Australian Institute of Sport Hall of Champions in 2003 and was made an inaugural member of the WA Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and the SA Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
The Banner shows a hand painted cover by Newcastle artist Ron Donkin. The cover was part of an auction by Abacus Auction 236, lot 197. His NSW origin may excuse the goal post configuration.