At a 1962 dinner celebrating the 1912 Premiership win by Edenhope Football Club five of the seven living members of the team and the umpire Mr Donald Caldow were present. The members were Messrs Henry Burns, Jack Marr, Angus McDonald, Leo Kelly and Bill Bird.

Henry Burns said Edenhope had a team as far back as 1908 when the team played against Connewirrico and Harrow, but Edenhope didn’t win. They were quite young men – some 16 year old – and they won the 1912, 1913 and 1914 premierships. The cup on exhibition was the 1914 trophy which had been donated by Bert Mitchell owner of the Lake Wallace Hotel. The players also received watch chains and a locket in 1914. He was Secretary when football resumed after World War One. The club won the 1919 and 1920 premierships.

Mr Burns said that in 1922 Edenhope was too strong, so split into two teams- Ozenkadnook in the north with the Lampards, Dixons and Burns playing. In that year Ozenkadnook won the premiership on the Edenhope ground when they defeated Apsley.

Leo Kelly told of travel in the early days in a dray- a skin wagon during the week. Some rode bikes and some horses. Where the road was too heavy for the horses, they could get out and walk.

Angus McDonald said he sometimes had to walk eight miles to see if he was picked to play. He had ridden to Salt Lakes and Apsley on his bike. On the way home from Minimay the team would always call at Charlie Wong’s Wine Shanty. Wine was “two bob a bottle.”

Jack Marr, of Hamilton said in the early days players used to change behind trees or anywhere they could. There were no dressing sheds.

Bill Bird claimed he was a “ring in” as he didn’t play in the match. He played the week before and in the first final but Connewirrico won that premiership. This was soon after a replay. The first match was a draw. The goal umpire kept the scores on a stick with goals notched on one end and points on the other. Edenhope claimed he put one notch on the wrong end. He said the old players had no training – or rather, that they were always training- always on the jog trot. There was no Saturday half holiday and players had to beg the day off to play.

Don Caldow was the umpire and was always requested by opposing teams. There never was a better one and he was tougher on Edenhope than on the other sides.

Mr Caldow said he had never received anything but courtesy and the hand of friendship after he had umpired a game. He had umpired at Coleraine, Heywood and on the Melville Oval at Hamilton as well as in the local area. In the early days players could say what they liked to the umpire. The umpire today had “everything” and some didn’t make too good a job of it”

Alex McDougall’s said his father, Jack “Stumpy” McDougall was a member of the 1912, 1913 and 1914 premiership teams. Alex has photos of these teams, which the Edenhope Historical Society has scanned and are part of our photographic collection.

There is no known published history of the Edenhope Football and Netball Club.  The History of the Apsley Football Club has been published in book form, originally compiled by Les Burgess.  It covered the period from 1890 to 1955.  A reprint of the book was published in 1990 and added the extra period from 1956 to 1989.

Information supplied courtesy “The Kowree Advocate”  3rd July 1962 and from research by Geoff Langsworth.


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