Emigrants to the Colony of Victoria brought with them a variety of approaches to playing football from their schools and towns in England, Ireland and Scotland. Thus Australian football had its evolutionary beginnings in the 1850s in scratch matches (games without standard rules) played in Melbourne parks on holidays.
By 1858 some of these games were advertised or recorded in local newspapers or diaries. From these records we know that on 5 June 1858 Melbourne Grammar School won a game of football against St Kilda Grammar, on 31 July 1858 a scratch match between young men was arranged by the local publican Jerry Bryant near the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the boys from Melbourne Grammar played against a group of men from St Kilda.
In August and September of that year the well known three-game match between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar was played, as were at least five other scratch matches that we know of. There were probably others.
A new sporting code
Also in 1858, the idea of establishing a football club and formalising the rules was first suggested in a public forum. On 10 July, the Victorian cricket captain Tom Wills wrote a letter to Bell’s Life in Victoria & Sporting Chronicle calling for the foundation of a “foot-ball club” with a “code of laws” to keep cricketers fit during winter and benefit the turf of the cricket ground.
It was not acted upon until May 1859 when the Melbourne Football Club was made official and a committee of four men organised some rules. They were the university-educated Irish teacher Tom Smith, English university-educated journalists from York and Surrey, James Thompson and William Hammersley and Australian Tom Wills, educated at the Rugby School in England. These rules of the Melbourne Football Club subsequently became the Australian Football Rules.
From its beginnings, Melbourne football attracted big crowds, as it was played in large open parklands and was free to watch. Trees could be used for goalposts and the game played with a round ball, as pictured on the stamp in the 1866 engraving of a game of football in the Richmond Paddock, adjacent to today’s Melbourne Cricket Ground.
On the 29 July 2008 Australia Post issued a single gummed stamp. It was only issued in sheets of ten. (See banner). The maximum card also has the same image. The cover of the stamp pack, FDC and PNC is from the “Illustrated Sydney News…..”, Football in the colonies.
FDC – Wesley Cover Service
FDC – Limited Edition
Limited Edition Covers created a cover that shared the 125 and 150 Anniversaries.
FDC – Hand Painted Covers
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(Photobucket has made a lot of images difficult to see)
In 2008 Australia Post allowed FDI postmarks to be applied on any stamps, provided that the postal rate was attached. This allowed you to mix and match. (only one cover shown)
- AFL 1996 Centenary Cover with a single Peel and stick and Gummed stamp (90c for 50c relevant rate) with 150th Anniversary Postmark for the 16 clubs playing in 1996.
- The 150 Year stamp and cover with the new Postmarks for Essendon, Geelong, Melbourne and Richmond
- The 150 Year stamp and AFL Centenary cover with the new Postmarks for Essendon, Geelong, Melbourne and Richmond
- The 150 years Cover and stamp postmarked on the day of the Grand Final won by Hawthorn with their Permanent Postmark.