Champion of the Colony

Champion of the Colony

The Champion of the Colony award refers to a list that was most likely compiled in the late 1940s by Australian football historian C.C. (Cecil Clarence) Mullen for the publications "Mullen's Footballers' Australian Almanac 1950",[1] and 1951, plus a History of Australian rules football he wrote in about 1958.[2] The final date for each list used by Mullen varies throughout his works – the 1950 Almanac finishes with 1949, the 1951 edition 1950, and the history book ends with 1940.

A list (date range 1856–1945) claimed to be based on Mullen's work has been used since 2003 in official Australian Football League (AFL) publications as if it were an actual award. The AFL guide claims in recent editions that their version of the list is from Mullen's history book, but that is incorrect. It has been claimed that the award was originally based on votes by club captains and later voting was by Melbourne's leading football journalists.[3]



The list itself carries errors of fact.

  • Tom Wills cannot have won the 1856 award, as he did not arrive back in Victoria until 23 December 1856,[4][5] having spent years away in England.
  • G S Bruce could not have won the award while playing for Richmond Cricketers Football Club, a club which is not known to have existed in 1858.[6][7]
  • Hugh Gavin (of Essendon) is named as winner in 1903, which is impossible as he played in Western Australia that year, not Victoria.[8]


Year Player Team
1856 Tom Wills Corio Bay
1857 Tom Wills Corio Bay
1858 G.S. Bruce Richmond Cricketers
1859 Tom Wills Geelong
1860 H.W. Bryant Melbourne
1861 G.O'Mullane South Yarra
1862 Henry C. Harrison Melbourne
1863 Henry C. Harrison Melbourne
1864 A.M. Greenfield Ballarat
1865 Tom Wills Melbourne
1866 Henry C. Harrison Melbourne
1867 Henry C. Harrison Melbourne
1868 J.J.A. Conway Carlton
1869 Henry C. Harrison Melbourne
1870 T.W.C. Riddell South Yarra
1871 B.J. Goldsmith Melbourne
1872 Tom Wills Geelong
1873 J.C. Donovan Carlton
1874 W.N. Lacey Carlton
1875 George Robertson Carlton
1876 George Coulthard Carlton
1877 George Coulthard Carlton
1878 H.P. Douglas Geelong
1879 George Coulthard Carlton
1880 James Wilson Geelong
1881 James Wilson Geelong
1882 James Wilson Geelong
1883 John Baker Carlton
1884 Jack Kerley Geelong
1885 Peter Burns South Melbourne
1886 Charlie Pearson Essendon
1887 John Worrall Fitzroy
1888 D.D. McKay South Melbourne
1889 Bill Hannaysee Port Melbourne
1890 John Worrall Fitzroy
1891 Peter Burns South Melbourne
1892 Charlie Forbes Essendon
1893 Albert Thurgood Essendon
1894 Albert Thurgood Essendon
1895 George Vautin Essendon
1896 Bill Strickland Collingwood
1897 Fred McGinis Melbourne
1898 Dick Condon Collingwood
1899 Mick Grace Fitzroy
1900 Fred Leach Collingwood
1901 Albert Thurgood Essendon
1902 E.M. 'Ted' Rowell Collingwood
1903 Hugh Gavin Essendon
1904 Vic Cumberland St Kilda
1905 Percy Trotter Fitzroy
1906 Jack McKenzie Essendon
1907 Dave McNamara St Kilda
1908 Bill Busbridge Essendon
1909 Bill Busbridge Essendon
1910 Dick Lee Collingwood
1911 Bruce Sloss South Melbourne
1912 Ernie Cameron Essendon
1913 Vic Cumberland St Kilda
1914 Dave McNamara St Kilda
1915 Dick Lee Collingwood
1916 Vic Thorp Richmond
1917 Paddy O'Brien Carlton
1918 Jack P. Howell South Melbourne
1919 Vic Thorp Richmond
1920 Roy Cazaly South Melbourne
1921 Horrie Clover Carlton
1922 Goldie Collins Fitzroy
1923 Tom Fitzmaurice Essendon
1924 Tom Fitzmaurice Essendon
1925 Colin Watson* St Kilda
1926 Ivor Warne-Smith* Melbourne
1927 Syd Coventry* Collingwood
1928 Ivor Warne-Smith* Melbourne
1929 Syd Coventry Collingwood
1930 Allan Hopkins* Footscray
1931 G.J. 'Jocka' Todd Geelong
1932 Haydn Bunton, Sr.* Fitzroy
1933 Gordon Coventry Collingwood
1934 Laurie Nash South Melbourne
1935 Laurie Nash South Melbourne
1936 Harry Collier Collingwood
1937 Dick Reynolds* Essendon
1938 Jack Regan Collingwood
1939 Dick Reynolds Essendon
1940 Jack Dyer Richmond

* Player also won the Brownlow Medal that year.

See also

Australian rules football - Early years in Victoria


  1. ^ The Almanac 1950
  2. ^
  3. ^ AFL Record Season Guide 2011. p. 561. ISBN 978-1-921778-19-3. 
  4. ^ Wills arrived in Melbourne on board the Oneida which had departed from Southampton
  5. ^ "The Argus.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848–1954) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia): p. 4. 24 December 1856. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "FOOTBALL.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848–1954) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia): p. 7. 12 May 1904. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 

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