by Doug Ackerly


1890:  Birth of a club


When the Coldstream Football Club was formed in 1890, there was no organised competition.

In fact, the previous year, Lilydale and Healesville had had to be content largely with playing each other four times.  Healesville also had a match against Heidelberg, and Lilydale played Mitcham, return games against Hawthorn, and one against a team from the Victorian Railways.

The haphazard fixturing was hardly surprising, given the population.  The Upper Yarra Shire, created in October, 1888, had around 500 people, and there was an estimated population of 3,542 in the Shire of Lillydale.  (In 1891, Yering had an official population of 58.)

Coldstream had just received its name, from the station on the new Lilydale to Healesville railway, opened in March, 1889.

In the main, the area comprised dairy farms, orchards and vineyards.

In May that year, a certain Helen Porter Mitchell debuted at the Paris Opera, and the following month made a triumphant return to Covent Garden in Romeo & Juliet.

There was a Gruyere Cricket Club in early 1889, but it had disbanded.  About the only other organised sport in the district was the annual meeting of The Lodge Race Club, held on Easter Monday.

The formation of a Coldstream Football Club was, indeed, an ambitious project.  But, Yarra Glen, too, had started a football club in mid-May, so the mood in the Yarra Valley was bullish.

Lilydale, meanwhile, had stolen a march on both with matches in May against Mitcham, Middle Park and Healesville.

And, at 1.15 pm on Saturday, June 7, 1890, a squad of their players met at the railway station and travelled by train to Coldstream.  

The ground was very rough in places, and a brilliant display of football was out of the question.

But, it was first blood to Coldstream as captain, E. Keogh, won the toss and elected to kick towards the northern goal.

After a goal-less first term, the visitors got into stride.  Their defence was strong, and Lilydale led 3-6 to no score at half-time.

The floodgates opened in the last quarter.  Coldstream, playing two or three men short, seldom succeeded in getting it past half way, and Lilydale booted five majors.  The Lilydale Express noted that the novices ran themselves out in the first half, and were all at sea in the latter part of the game.

Lilydale won 9-14-68 to no score.


Those to give a good account of themselves in the club's inaugural match included the new stationmaster, Andrew Ferguson.  The 28 year-old Scot would become a pillar of the community over the ensuing decade.

Another was 20 year-old William Park, son of the local storekeeper, and whose mother ran the local Sportsman's Arms hotel.  Also listed among the best players was 27 year-old Yering-born Lilydale farmer, Fred Lithgow, who would later serve on the Shire Council.


Three weeks later, Coldstream journeyed to Yarra Glen and again failed to score as the locals piled on 7-13-55.

The signs weren't good when Coldstream could not muster a full team for the return match against Lilydale a week later.  Several Lilydale players threw in their lot with the vistors to make a game of it.

At 2.45 pm, Coldstream skipper, Robert Logan, a Gruyere coachman, won the toss, but again that was the only highlight.

In fact, Lilydale ring-ins, W. Morton and Mortomore, were the visitor's two best players as they were thumped 13-20-98 to nil.

Aside from William Park in the centre, the play of the visitors was very disappointing, and until they learn to play to one another, they can have very little chance of being successful.


A fortnight later, the Yarra Glen boys met at their railway station at 1.30 pm to travel for the return fixture with Coldstream.

The game was very slow throughout owing to the heavy state of the ground, but it proved a red letter day for the home team.  Coldstream scored at last  1-3-9  but still lost to Yarra Glen 4-12-36.


The following Saturday, Yarra Glen hosted Healesville, and Lilydale played a match among themselves, in these days before formal competition

On August 2, Lilydale played a return match against Mitcham as Coldstream again journeyed to Yarra Glen.  In slippery conditions, the hosts won 3-6-24 to six behinds.


The season had been an uphill battle all the way, but Coldstream persisted, managing to assemble twenty names for a home fixture against Yarra Glen.  The central umpire would be C. Schard who had played in the inaugural match in June.


On August 30, with Beavis, Alway, Logan, Park and Lithgow firing, Coldstream broke through for its maiden victory, downing the Glen 2-4-16 to 1-4-10.

Three weeks later, Coldstream's season concluded with a home fixture against Lilydale.  The weather was very showery and the ground was in a frightful state, being almost covered with pools of water.

Despite having the bare eighteen, Lilydale again proved far too strong, scoring 6-8-44 to Coldstream's solitary behind.  


It had been a tough season.  Coldstream won just one of its seven matches.  But, one man could certainly hold his head high.  William Park had been named in the best players in all but one game.  Had there been a best & fairest, he surely would have won it.

But, things were starting to happen in the district.  On September 13, a meeting was held to organise a Coldstream cricket club, with several of the footballers involved.


In April, 1891, the Lilydale Express football correspondent was full of optimism.  Would it not be a worthy act if one of the leading residents of the district was to offer a cup for competition between Lilydale, Healesville, Yarra Glen and Coldstream clubs?


In May, there was a meeting to form the Warburton Football Club, and the annual meeting of the Coldstream Football Club was set down for May 6.  


But, the club failed to field a team that season.


The newspaper man got his wish the following year when Lilydale, Healesville and Yarra Glen played in regular competition for the Jordan Trophy.

And, in 1894, a team from the Coranderrk aboriginal station joined them in battle for the Irvine Trophy.

But, formal competition again foundered in 1898, and it would not be until 1903 that the Coldstream Football Club would re-form.



1903:  Organised competition


There may have been no football team in Coldstream, but one local identity was creating plenty of headlines.  Dame Nellie Melba had given her first return concert at the Melbourne Town Hall in late September, 1902, and was welcomed home to Lilydale in November.  The following April, she returned to London and Covent Garden to perform La Boheme.


On May 23, 1903, Messrs Park and Spillane represented Coldstream at a delegates meeting held in Con Dwyer's Healesville Hotel.  After yet another season without a formal competition, the publican had put up a trophy to be fought amongst four clubs, the others being Lilydale, Yarra Glen and Healesville.

It was to be an amateur competition played under the rules of the Victorian Junior Football Association.  All players must reside within a radius of 12 miles from the local post office.  Matches would start at 3 o'clock, and all players must play in clubs recognised colors as far as possible.  In the case of Coldstream, they were all blue.


No less than thirty players were named in The Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian on June 6, for their opening round match at Healesville.  Of these, Comerford, Douthie, Duscher, Laing, Lyons, Macintyre, G. & H. Ostrom, Park and Towt had represented Yering in a match against Yarra Glen in May, 1902.


The list of thirty would prove to have been ambitious.


The Coldstream players did not all roll up, and they had to fall back on substitutes, which is not allowed under the conditions, to which the Healesville players magnanimously offered no objection.


Indeed, Coldstream had only 17 players of their own.  Herbert Duscher, a 23 year-old labourer from Seville and secretary of the Coldstream Cricket Club, was elected captain.  He won the toss and decided to kick toward the town goal.  Rain started to fall on the already-sodden ground, and a mere 150 spectators braved the weather.

Despite Duscher playing like a Trojan, the visitors were wretchedly slow in getting to the ball and, in their manipulation of the leathern shere, they showed a want of acquaintance which did not augur too well for their prospects.

Nevertheless, P. Laing created a bit of history by registering the team's maiden point in competition, and T. Spillane the first goal.  Coldstream trailed Healesville 1-2 to 4-6 at quarter time.

Others to show out were McIntosh, Ostrom, Chamings, Park and Moloney.  But, despite the loss of some of their best footballers who had left the district, the home side were far too strong, winning 14-20-104 to 1-4-10.


On home soil the following Saturday, Coldstream gave a better account of themselves, going down by just two points to Yarra Glen.  A delegates meeting at Park's Hotel (the Sportsman's Arms) that evening made it mandatory for players to wear their clubs colours. 

But, when Yarra Glen and Healesville each applied for permits for players residing outside the league's 12-mile radius, William Park moved successfully against the motion.  A strange attitude by the delegate from Coldstream whose club could not field a full team in the opening round.


Despite the ground being in very bad order due to recent rain, a vociferous crowd at Coldstream watched a real contest with the visitors from Lilydale in round three.

Captained by Douthie, the Coldstream team  which contains about a dozen first-class players, and a rather weak tail end -showed marked improvement on their previous form.

In the greasy conditions, neither team scored a goal in the first half.  Lilydale were well in control at three-quarter time, but Douthie had been splendid in defence for Coldstream.  And, in the final term, he went forward to mark dead in front and register the first goal kicked against Lilydale for the season.  But, the visitors won 3-11-29 to 1-1-7.


It was off to Yarra Glen the following Saturday, but Coldstream arrived on the ground shorthanded, and were allowed to play some Glen men to complete their number.

But, there was an irony.  At half-time, the home team was lined up, it being asserted that they were playing 19 men.  One of their players had to stand down in consequence.  It was explained that the mistake arose through one of the men allotted to Coldstream lining up with Yarra Glen.

Yarra Glen won easily, and to add insult to injury, Coldstream's Cliff Laing would miss the next match after sustaining a nasty cut near his eye and a kick on the thigh.


He was the lucky one.  The home fixture against Healesville was played in a continuous heavy downpour.  The visitors set off in steady rain around 1 pm.

The Healesville & Yarra Glen Guardian noted that it needed the services of four waggonettes and a couple of single-seated vehicles to convey the warriors and their supporters to the trysting ground.

The ground was under water, and play didn't start until shortly before four o'clock.  Captained this time by Duscher, Coldstream had only 14 men.  Despite the sterling efforts of Douthie and Moloney in a scrambly encounter, they went down 3-14-32 to one behind.


The final match of the first round saw a clash with Lilydale at their Olinda Oval.  The visitors were a bigger combination, and Lilydale were missing some of their most experienced players.  

But, it was the same old story as the home team scored 13-11-89 to Coldstream 2-2-14.  Douthie was again in great form.


Then a disaster for the competition with Yarra Glen pulling out due to the unsatisfactory train service on the Healesville line.  The rail service not only disrupted the players, but the Melbourne umpires had to remain two days in Yarra Glen, whereas, in previous years, they could come up at midday and return the same evening.

Instead of taking the weekend off, Lilydale arranged to play Monbulk.  And, Coldstream would make the trip to Healesville with the resumption of the official competition on July 25.


Well, that was the plan.  But, Coldstream couldn't muster a team, and failed to fulfil their engagement.  A fortnight later, they played host to Lilydale and suffered another heavy defeat, 8-12-60 to one behind.


The competition concluded prematurely on August 15 when Lilydale beat Healesville to claim the Con Dwyer Trophy.


Like 1890, Coldstream had played seven matches.  But, this time, they had lost them all.  Players included Henry Ostrom, and his younger brother, George, both labourers from Gruyere, and 32 year-old Lilydale barman, Bill Supple.


There was no local care competition in 1904 save for an association formed as late as July involving Emerald, Monbulk, Macclesfield and Woori Yallock.


Two years later, the Lilydale Express”, “Healesville Guardian and Evelyn Observer offered a trophy for a District Press competition between Healesville, Lilydale, Yarra Glen and Badger Creek.  The same clubs played for a trophy donated by Mr Richard Stevens, proprietor of Lilydale's Olinda Hotel, in an abbreviated 1908 season.


In 1907, Warburton, Millgrove, Woori Yallock and West Warburton competed for the Gascoigne Trophy.


The disparate and irregular competitions coalesced in 1909 as the Yarra Valley Association.  There were no less than six teams - Lilydale, Millgrove, Yarra Glen, Healesville, Warburton and Woori Yallock  with Yarra Junction refused admission because they would make an odd number.


Melba had returned to Australia once again and sang in Lilydale in April, 1909.  It wouldn't be long before Coldstream was re-formed.



1911:  Back for good


Dame Nellie Melba bought Coombe Cottage in February, 1910.  And, at last, there were moves to kick-start the local football club once more.


The sport was starting to take off.  Warburton, Millgrove, Woori Yallock and Yarra Junction competed in the Upper Yarra Association, and the Reporter competition featured teams such as Croydon, Ringwood, Blackburn, Doncaster and Ferntree Gully.


Lilydale, Healesville, Badger Creek, Yarra Glen and St Huberts comprised the Lilydale District Junior Competition.


On August 6, Coldstream took advantage of a St Huberts bye to challenge their neighbours.  A two-point victory was just the fillip needed to re-form the club properly in 1911.


After the match, the teams adjourned to the Sportsman's Arms Hotel where a dinner was provided by the losers.  A capital programme of songs and complimentary speeches brought a very pleasant evenings enjoyment to a close.


On May 10 the following year, many of the same people gathered again at the hotel.  On the motion of Jack Madden and Vincent Black, it was decided to form a football club, including all ages, in Coldstream.


Madden and his younger brothers, Charlie and Bill, had in fact played the previous season for St Huberts.  But, they were well and truly on board, and Charlie was even named vice-captain to Jim Moloney.  


Charlie Madden, who married late in life, had twin sons, Brian (1961-68, 1973) and Don (1962-76) who were to continue the dynasty half a century later.  Another brother, Dan, a stablehand at Coombe Cottage, also played for Coldstream.  His son, John, was full-back (1963-74) and club secretary (1966-73) and holds life membership.  The Madden's sister, Liz, married Brian Cahill who coached Coldstream in 1952.


Halley Supple was elected president, and Moloney and Coldstream farmer, Dennis Murphy, vice-presidents.  Local drover, Edward Black, became secretary, and Daniel Moloney was treasurer.


But, was this third incarnation of the football club in 21 years another exercise in futility?  After all, Coldstream's official population in 1911 was 109.  Given that, presumably, roughly half were women, and if you take into account children and the aged, it doesn't leave many potential footballers,

Nevertheless, a week later, Messrs Black and Moloney attended a meeting of delegates in the Victoria Hall, Yarra Glen, called to consider the advisability of re-forming the old Association.


Mr Stevens again donated a trophy (worth 10 pounds 10/-) as he had done in 1908 when two Maddens and a Moloney played for Lilydale.


The five teams would play three rounds and there would be no semi-finals or finals.


On Saturday, May 27, Coldstream played host to Lilydale in the opening round and Moloney won the toss.  Coldstream played a plucky game”, but were no match for the visitors, going down 4-12-36 to 1-3-9.


The following Saturday, it was off to Coranderrk who had also re-formed for the first time since 1896.  The 2,400-acre station near Healesville had been opened in 1863 for members of the Yarra Yarra and Goulburn tribes.  In 1911, there were just 54 aborigines under care.


According to The Guardian, the game was fast and furious and resulted in a big win for the locals, 8-13-61 to 2-1-13.  The station manager, Mr Robarts, was highly pleased with their success which was the direct result of speed, fine hand-balling and passing, and combined play.


Bownas and Pooley kicked Coldstream's goals, and the Moloneys, Maddens and Cawthorn battled hard.  And, at least they were good sports.  The Healesville & Yarra Glen Standard reported that, at the conclusion of the match, the visitors, after partaking of light refreshments, gave three ringing cheers for Coranderrk for the good time they had in spite of their defeat.


After a bye, Coldstream was at home to Healesville, whose players made the rough journey in a small procession of cabs in which they gave vent to their liveliness in song.


In soft conditions, the visitors proved too powerful, despite a report that the home team were very rough.  Coldstream were still goal-less at three-quarter time, after which play was fast and furious, and too many got on the ball, scrimmages being plentiful.  


The Healesville newspaper put it more bluntly:  Although Coldstream were making the game as rough as possible, those tactics did not increase their score.


Indeed, despite valiant defence from Madden, Cawthorn, Moloney and Murphy, and the good play of Duscher, Healesville won 10-10-70 to three behinds.


A strong wind made good football difficult the following Saturday at Yarra Glen.  But, Coldstream showed vast improvement.  The Lilydale Express observed that a draw would better have represented the play as Coldstream were distinctly unfortunate in having the two goals disallowed in the second quarter.  They were also inaccurate in front of goal and, as darkness fell, Yarra Glen won 3-3-21 to 1-2-8.


But, on the other side of the globe, things could not have been going better for Coldstream's favourite daughter.  Two days later, Dame Nellie Melba attended the coronation of King George V.


In fine conditions at Lilydale, Coldstream kicked with the cold wind.  With Ramshaw dominating, they were unlucky not to score two goals, but actually led at the change.  Skipper, Moloney, at full back  was playing a marvellous game, saving shot after shot, but he couldn't prevent Lilydale scoring three goals before half time.


Poyner played well in the third term in which Coldstream goaled, but Lilydale dominated the final term, winning 7-9-51 to 1-4-10.  Coldstream put in some pretty passing work, but again erred in not making for goal when they got the ball.


The Coranderrk ruck dominated a rough second half of the next match at Coldstream whose forwards were a bit on the weak side.  The visitors won 9-10-64 to 1-5-11 after which Mr Robarts, manager of the Coranderrk station, thanked the ladies and the Coldstream club for the kind treatment his club received, and assured them that a cup of tea and a sandwich was very acceptable.


After another bye, Coldstream journeyed to Healesville with only thirteen men, some of their principal players being absent through illness.


In sloppy conditions, the home team dominated the opening quarter with Coldstream only getting the ball past the centre line three times.


Healesville led by 53 points at the long interval.  In the third quarter, most of the players were on the ball, and the game was hearty and good natured on both sides.  


In the final term, Ostrom got hold of the ball and, placing it under his arm, dashed off for a goal (he evidently thinking it was Rugby football).  Despite the sound of the umpire's whistle, he continued his run towards the uprights, ending his great effort by kicking a brilliant goal;  the spectators, players, and umpire meanwhile being convulsed with laughter, Ostrom not knowing of his mistake until he turned round.


He made up for it immediately after, though, by passing the ball to Marden for Coldstream's only goal.  Of the others, only Hay and Moloney were prominent as Healesville won 12-27-99 to 1-3-9.


The Madden brothers, Daniel Moloney and Hay, who scored the lone goal, were the only ones to stand out as Yarra Glen won their away fixture the following Saturday, 7-6-48 to 1-2-8.


After another loss to Lilydale, Coldstream could muster only 15 men for the trip to Coranderrk.  The locals helped them make up the numbers but dominated play.  Near the end of the third quarter, a Coldstream player's eye was split open after a clash and, with the advent of heavy rain, the captains and the umpire decided to close the game.  Coranderrk won 6-6-42 to two behinds.


Coranderrk and Healesville were now the only teams who could win the Stevens Trophy, so Lilydale and Yarra Glen withdrew from their remaining matches.  


Coldstream's season concluded on a bright note with a fair number of supporters, especially of the fair sex for a home game against Healesville.  


The visitors won the toss and elected to kick with a strong breeze.  But, the locals, despite showing a lack of training fought well in the second and final quarters to register a club record score of 6-8-44.  Ruckman, Marden, with three goals, was among the best along with Hay and Moloney.


Healesville recorded 16-12-108, but lost the playoff for the Stevens Trophy a fortnight later to Coranderrk by 21 points.



1912:  Recruiting drive


The Coldstream Football Club may not have been too successful on the field, but it was now a fixture in the community.  And, it organised a trophy race meeting for amateur riders on Murphys course on Saturday, February 24, 1912.


The card comprised a steeplechase, two pony races, a hack race and a handicap trot under VRC rules.  Other entertainment included a goalkicking competition over 35 yards, a cigar and umbrella race and a competition for farmers horses pulling half a ton.  In favourable weather, there was a good crowd, many from Melbourne.  But, most importantly, an appearance from Madame Melba who evinced a keen interest in proceedings.


On May 8, at Mr Wilkens Grand Hotel, Yarra Glen, delegates convened to form a much-reduced league.  Lilydale had elected to join a six-team Reporter Competition to the west, and Coranderrk had disbanded.


A three-team Coldstream, Yarra Glen and Healesville District Competition was established, with each club contributing a guinea to provide a pennant for the premier team.


Permits were granted to five of Coldstream's players V. Pooley, B. Pooley, E. Marden, B. Hay and F. Pollard.  The navy blue and white stripes and hoops had gone, and the players wore puce guernseys with a yellow vee and stockings.


And, there had been a recruiting drive.  Former Coranderrk players, R. and W. Wandin, Mullett and J. Terrick were looking for a game, and H. Briers and J. Verdon joined from Lilydale.


A grand nephew of the Wandins, Perry, played junior football for Coldstream in 1973 and 1974.


With several heavy showers passing over Queens Park, there were few spectators for a practice match against Healesville.  Neither team was at full strength, and play started late, with quarters shortened accordingly.  This was looking like a good idea as Coldstream had only three behinds on the board at three-quarter time.


But, goals to ruckman, Charlie Madden, and his brother, Bill, rewarded Wandins great work all day, and the visitors 2-7-19 was quite respectable as Healesville failed to add to their 3-13-31.


After a bye, the teams met again a fortnight later at Coldstream for the official opening of the season.


The ground was located along the Coldstream road, about five minutes walk in an easterly direction from the station.  The playing arena is laid out on a high piece of land, having a natural drainage into a deep creek on the western side of it.  


Forethought has been shown by the club in the erection of a small shelter shed, one end of which is partitioned off as a dressing room for the players.  The other portion is for the use of the spectators who can, if it rains as it did on Saturday, accept the invitation it offers to come in out of the wet.


The shelter would be needed.  Rain all morning meant that only four supporters felt disposed to accompany the Healesville team on its trip.


An exceptionally heavy downpour just before the bounce made conditions slippery as Jim Moloney won the toss and elected to kick to the northern end.  Inexperience showed when several penalty kicks were awarded against the locals for throwing instead of punching the ball.


But, with goals to ruckman, E. Marden, and Leo Poyner, and Jack Madden solid in defence, Coldstream shocked the visitors to lead by seven points at half-time.


But, playing more together and kicking off the ground frequently, Healesville were stung into action after the long break and slammed on five goals to win 6-6-42 to 2-2-14.


It was cold and showery at Yarra Glen recreation reserve the following Saturday where the locals won the toss.  But, it was to be a red letter day for Coldstream.


With Jim Moloney valiant in defence, and two goals to Arthur Poyner, the visitors led 3-2 to nil at quarter time.


In a scrambling second term, penalty kicks were freely awarded against both sides for kicking in the ruck, holding, tripping and throwing the ball.


But, with clean, open and effective play thereafter, Coldstream coasted home 6-17-53 to two behinds.  It was just their second victory in 27 matches, and first since August 30, 1890 also against Yarra Glen.


Poyner, a Lilydale carrier, was named best afield.  Charlie Madden booted two goals.  Henry Briers, a 21 year-old coachbuilder and Michael Upton, a 19 year-old farm hand both from Lilydale  also goaled.


The Streamites were on a roll and used the bye to back up the following week with a two-point win in a practice match at home against Lilydale Rovers.


The following Saturday, Coldstream returned to Queens Park where Healesville had the game well in hand at the last break.  But, in heavy rain, the visitors stopped to a walk, and goals to Poyner and Wandin made things tight.  Pollard, Pooley, Briers and McRae also played well as Healesville failed to score but held on to win 5-8-38 to 4-6-30.


Dunning umpired the match indifferently, and seemed to ignore the rules of the game.  Undue roughness received no check at his hands, and the players practically did as they liked.


The next week, heartbreak again with Coldstream narrow losers at home to Yarra Glen, 4-6-30 to 3-10-28.  Although, the match did have its amusing moments.


According to a report in The Herald, play was interrupted by a fox hunt!  the fox, hard-pressed, made for the football ground and dashed across.  A few seconds later, the pack streamed after him.  The umpire stopped play until the hunters thundered past.


It was an interesting day, made more so by two fox terriers which put up a rabbit that scampered across the ground.  The dogs, some of the players and many of the spectators joined in the chase, but the rabbit, with a few dodgy turns, beat the lot of them.


After another bye, Coldstream hosted a weakened Healesville in a match blighted by a nasty crosswind which favoured the home team in the opening term.  Hay's early goal would be the only one for the afternoon in a crowded, rough encounter.  


The visitors inaccuracy led to their first defeat for the season, with ten behinds to Coldstream's 1-5-11.  Pollard, Poyner, Marden, McRae, Madden and Black were other good players.


Pollard again marked and kicked superbly when Coldstream journeyed to Yarra Glen the following week.  The Poyners, McRae, Pooley, Briers and Hay also played well in a match that became very crowded after the main break.  The visitors fought back with the breeze in the final quarter, but were beaten 7-5-47 to 4-13-37.


After another bye, it was off to Queens Park again for a good mud scramble” in a match played in continuous rain.  Despite goals to Hay, Pollard and McRae, Healesville won 7-9-51 to 3-14-32.


Coldstream went a game clear of Yarra Glen in their final match for the season by beating their neighbours at home, 7-6-48 to 3-4-22.


The following week, Yarra Glen thrashed a Healesville team who had only nine of their regular players, with juniors and others making up the numbers.  But, the Maroons were easy premiers, with six wins to Coldstream and Yarra Glen three apiece.                                                                                                                        


Coldstream's season concluded on Saturday evening, August 31, with a very successful smoke night handled with a combination of tactful firmness and felicitous freedom by Halley Supple.


Members of other clubs had been invited, and vice-captain Marden spoke highly of their sportsmanship.  Ed Black toasted the lady supporters.



1913:  Competitive at last


The Annual Meeting held at the Sportsman's Hotel on Saturday evening, March 22, 1913 decided that the club would again join the Healesville Association.  A home practice match against Killara was arranged for April 5, and another was played against Lilydale at their Olinda Oval the following Saturday.


A delegates meeting on April 21re-named the four-team competition the Yarra Flats Association.  Lilydale had joined after having given the Box Hill competition a trial, where they found the opposition too strong.


The competition was open to players residing in each Shire of competing clubs for 30 clear days.  And, the qualification had been further relaxed, defining residing as including a player who has parents in the district, or is a ratepayer and visits his parents or home regularly at the week-ends.


But, Coldstream still needed a little extra help.


The Lilydale Express noted that Coldstream again have the services of their old and tried Melbourne contingent who have been the life of the club since its formation.


Indeed, the Association again granted permits to V. and B. Pooley, S. Cawthorne, E. Marden, B. Hay and F. Pollard.  As with Healesville, some players resided at weekends locally but had their place of business in the city.  Marden played cricket with Coldstream and was even a vice-president of the Football Club.


Unfortunately, Coldstream would have to do without Arthur Towser Poyner and brother, Leo, for the opening match at Healesville as they had decided to throw in their lot with Lilydale.  And, Healesville had gained the services of Wandin who would confront his former team-mates first up.


The reigning premiers had a weak, untrained team which was composed mostly of junior players. Whereas the vistors took to Queens Park with their strongest eighteen  a combination of Lilydale and Coldstream.


It was all over at half-time, with Coldstream leading by five goals.  The late start meant the match ended in semi-darkness with the Maroons going down 1-6-12 to visitors 5-5-35.


James replaced Pooley for Coldstream's home clash with Lilydale who had also prevailed in the opening round against Yarra Glen.


The visitors won the toss and kicked with a slight breeze, but debutant James posted the first major after receiving a pass from Verdon.


However, with Coldstream crowding the ball too much, Lilydale soon got on top and prevailed 6-11-47 to 3-6-24.  The other goalscorers, Verdon and Beavis, were named in the locals best, although the latter was inclined to be rough.


Hay, McRae, Guiney and Vincent Black replaced Fisher, Chauvin, Verdon and Jenkins in the side to meet Yarra Glen at home in round three.  Jim Moloney won the toss and kicked with a slight breeze in conditions made slippery by a shower just before the bounce.


Goals to Cawthorn, Marden and McRae gave Coldstream the early ascendancy, and they led by 15 points at the main break.  With Jack Madden and Jim Moloney solid as usual in defence, and two goals to best player, Pollard, in the last term, it was a home victory 8-11-59 to 5-9-39.


The following Saturday, Coldstream played host to Healesville in ideal weather and got off to a flyer.  Three goals to Cawthorn and one to 22 year-old Lilydale labourer, Thomas Holter, saw the visitors trailing by 18 points early in the second quarter.


But, with Coldstream giving away a lot of free kicks, the Maroons managed to claw their way back into the game.  Only poor disposal brought them undone as the home team held on in the dark to win 4-6-30 to 3-4-22.


Despite the cold weather, there was a good crowd at Lilydale where Towser Poyner opened proceedings against his old club with a major.  Two goals to James in the second term, and singles to Madden and Cawthorn after the long break put Coldstream in front.  Lilydale were giving away far too many free kicks, but rallied in the last term to scrape home 5-7-37 to 4-5-29.


Pollard was again Coldstream's best player, and Marden's marking was the surest on the ground.


Coldstream's victory at Yarra Glen the following Saturday kept them well in contention for the pennant.  The playing field was in first-class order, and James, Pollard, Verdon, Charlie Madden and Beavis among the best as the visitors prevailed 5-11-41 to 2-3-15.


Unfortunately, they were without their star player, Pollard, for the top-of-the-table clash with Healesville at Queens Park.  In ideal weather before a good crowd, Coldstream battled hard for three quarters, with Fisher, Bill and Charlie Madden, Holter, Cawthorn and McRae prominent.  But, Verdon would be their only goalscorer as the Maroons won 7-9-51 to 1-7-13.


The game was concluded in absolute darkness, the play not being visible at the opposite end of the ground, and the players just groped after the ball, sometimes playing against their own men.  The goals umpires also had great difficulty in seeing each others flags.


But, it wouldn't end there.  Coldstream lodged a protest with the Association suggesting that Healesville had played two ineligible men  Pendlebury and Briggs  they not being bone fide residents of the district.


The club further alleged that an amended list of players (with three different names thereon) had been received on Friday, and it was laid down in the rules that such list must be received by the opposing club's secretary not later than Wednesday in each week.


A delegates meeting was held at Mr Lithgow's Hotel, Yarra Glen, on Wednesday, June 25 to consider the matter.  It got pretty fiery.  Healesville accused Coldstream of approaching a Lilydale delegate for his support in the matter.  


Daniel Moloney denied this and gave evidence that Healesville supporters had mentioned that the two players in question came from Melbourne.


One of the two Healesville delegates, Mr Potter, said both players were perfectly eligible to play, and would sign declarations to that effect.  He then went on the offensive asking that James of Coldstream should be made to do likewise.


Moloney replied, James is as eligible as I am.  He's been living in Gruyere for the past six months.


The Healesville players were presented with statutory declarations on the following Saturday.  Their signatures were secured, and the protest dismissed.


Meanwhile, Coldstream, at home, had suffered another defeat at the hands of Lilydale.  They had gone into the match without Thomas Holter, but kicked with the wind in the opening stanza.  With goals to Cawthorn and Pollard, they led by four points at the first change.


But, then the floodgates opened.  With Arthur Poyner dominating, Lilydale slammed on an unanswered five goals before the long break.


Coldstream fought back after half time, Pollard's goal from a drop-kick 50 yards out being a highlight.  The final term was pretty rough, with spectators at one stage invading the ground, but Lilydale prevailed 9-4-58 to 5-8-38.


The slippery conditions made for a crowded game at Coldstream, but the result put life back into the competition.  With Pollard, Fisher, Charlie Madden and Cawthorn dominant, the home team disposed of  Healesville 4-6-30 to 2-6-18.  The next match against Lilydale would be crucial.


Coldstream won the toss and took advantage of a light breeze at the Olinda Oval with Verdon and Pollard goaling in the opening term.  But, despite another from Chauvin in the second quarter, Lilydale led by 15 points at the main break.


But, another to Chauvin in the third quarter and an early major in the last to McRae helped level the scores.  It was then that things turned nasty.


In the last quarter, some very bad feeling was shown by some of the Coldstream players and supporters, a Lilydale player being stopped and thrown as he was getting along the wing with the ball.


The Lilydale Express accordingly reminded the malcontents that football is intended as a sport, and not as a means of showing hooliganism.


Unfortunately, the newspaper had to eat its words in the next edition, noting that it now appears that he (R. Goode) was knocked down quite unintentionally through colliding with one of the Coldstream supporters, when making a run around the wing.


Lilydale went on to beat Healesville by four points before a large crowd braving cold, wet weather in the last round to secure the premiership.



1914:  A step backwards


Coldstream had established itself as a viable football club both on the field and off, with a credit balance of two pounds 14 shillings and sixpence.


But, the 1914 Annual Meeting on Saturday evening, March 28 at the Lilydale Hotel voted against an invitation by Mitcham to help form an Eastern District competition.


The main office-bearers were re-elected, and member's subscription fixed at 2/6d.


But, the other clubs had been dragging their feet and, in its April 24 edition, The Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian slammed Healesville which has not stirred in any way.  It added, the whole association wants re-modelling or a shaking up.


A week later, only Millgrove, Coldstream and Lilydale fronted a delegates meeting at the Olinda Hotel in Lilydale.  Although a telegram was sent from Yarra Junction intimating that the club would agree to anything that the meeting decided.


It was adjourned a week, and delegates from six clubs turned up at the Lilydale Hotel on May 9.  With two new prospective clubs from the Upper Yarra Association, the main discussion centred on logistics.


According to Healesville delegate, Mr Duddy, to charter special trains to travel to Millgrove and Yarra Junction is out of the question.


A compromise was reached whereby the two new clubs would play a number of their matches half-way at Lilydale or Coldstream.


The competition was re-named the Yarra Valley Football Association, and the clubs would play for a trophy of 25 gold medals.


The rules remained much the same:  matches still were scheduled for 3 o'clock, and captains were to appoint goal and boundary umpires.  And, in the event of (a) club not having the requisite number, 18, substitutes can be taken on with the consent of the opposing captain.


And, fair play was upheld in the usual manner.  In the event of a Central umpire having occasion to caution or check a player twice during a match for unnecessarily rough or cowardly play, the umpire shall report such player to the Trophy committee, who shall have power to deal summarily with the offending player.


There was excitement at Healesville when 35 year-old dual Carlton premiership centre half-forward, Jim Marchbank, consented to pull on the boots for the Maroons.  And, Fred Stock, who had represented Collingwood in the VFA from 1893 volunteered to coach the team.


Chauvin had returned to Liydale, and Coldstream were a player short when they took on Yarra Junction at Lilydale in the opening round.


Pollard brought up six points with the aid of the breeze, and the visitors almost kicked themselves out of the game, with James booting two more majors.


The absence of a bell made it difficult for the timekeepers to communicate with the umpire.  But, with whatever was used to signal the end of play, the scoreboard showed Coldstream going down 3-2-20 to 2-15-27.  Beavis was clearly best on ground, and Barfield and Charlie Madden also played well.


Coldstream could blame atrocious kicking for a narrow loss to Yarra Glen away in the second match.  Pollard, Beavis and Fisher were among the best as they went down 2-12-24 to 4-6-30.


For the home fixture the following Saturday, the Coldstream players were requested to be on the ground as early as possible as the Millgrove train leaves Lilydale at 6.30 that evening.


That morning, a delegates meeting approved permits for Marden and Pollard, even though the latter did not reside in the district.  Association president, Mr Morton, said he thought some concession should be made in such cases where men had been old players in district football.  And, after all, Marden had even been a club delegate at the start of the season.


Delegates also carried a motion that the first four leading clubs play semi-finals and final, the leading club at the end of the second round to have the right to challenge.


That afternoon, Millgrove won the toss and kicked toward the railway end.  In a lacklustre match, Coldstream, who had failed to bring up a major, suffered a blow when Marden ricked his knee badly and, after a plucky effort to play full back, had to be carried off the field.


James and Pollard goaled in the final term, but it was too late as Millgrove won 4-10-34 to 2-4-16.  Barfield, Charlie Madden and Beavis also battled well, with McRae occasionaly brilliant in the centre.


Coldstream kicked with the wind at Lilydale in round four, and Charlie Madden notched a goal early.  But, that was about it.  The visitors failed to score after quarter time, and had salt rubbed into their wounds when former players, Arthur Poyner and 23 year-old Lilydale butcher, William Chauvin, booted the last two majors.  Bill Madden, Fisher, James and Williams battled hard, but Lilydale won 6-12-48 to 1-2-8.


The writing was on the wall when Coldstream brought only about half a team to meet the formidable Healesville combination the following Saturday.  The Maroons did as they liked, winning 10-11-71 to 2-8-20.


At a delegates meeting on Saturday morning, June 27, at the Olinda Hotel, Lilydale, a letter was tabled from the Coldstream secretary.  The club had been forced to resign from the competition as most of their leading players had left them.


But, they still had a ground, and it was used as a neutral venue for matches involving Yarra Junction and Millgrove.


While football stocks were low, there was a boost to local sentiment with the return of Dame Nellie Melba after a two-year absence overseas in late July.


But, the outbreak of the Great War on August 4 cast a shadow over everything.


A month later at Lilydale, when Millgrove secured the trophy after a challenge by minor premiers, Healesville, there must have been a big question mark over the future of organised football.



1915:  Don't mention the war


Despite its capitulation the previous year, Coldstream held its annual meeting at the Sportsman's Arms on April 21, 1915.


It was decided to again re-form the club, providing a junior competition is to be held in the district.  The secretary was instructed to write to various clubs asking what steps they were taking to re-form a Junior Association. 


Three days later, delegates of the Yarra Valley Football Association met at the Olinda Hotel, Lilydale.  Healesville, Lilydale, Yarra Junction and Coldstream were represented, along with a new club, Wandin.  And, the meeting heard that reigning premier, Millgrove, and another new club, Seville, were also keen to play.


With Yarra Glen having decided to drop out, Coldstream delegates notified their intention of combining with that club.


Delegates decided to leave the VJFA and affiliate with the Victorian League, and first-round fixtures were drawn up.


The very next day, Australian troops landed at Gallipoli.


Coldstream had already had the reality of war driven home to them.  On April 14, Michael Upton and E. Comerford (1903) were farewelled as “volunteers for active service with the Expeditionary Forces.


Indeed, as The Guardian” noted on May 15, There were several familiar forms missing in the uniform of the various clubs on Saturday, a good proportion of whom are now at the front fighting for the Empire or in training.


27 year-old Lilydale farmer, William Town, was elected captain of the Coldstream-Yarra Glen combination which lost its opening match at Yarra Junction.


The boys were on the road the following Saturday when the game did not commence till well after four o'clock  a state of affairs which cannot be obviated as long as the visiting team arrive by train which does not reach Healesville till after 3.30.


This contributed to a scrambling affair.  As the League rules permit, kicking in the ruck was freely indulged in, and darkness coming on made the play absolutely dangerous.


The combine was weakened by the absence of Yarra Glen star, Tom Ryan, and went down 9-9-63 to 4-2-26.  Vogler booted two goals, and Mullett and Thomas Barfield one each.


After a bye, it was off to Wandin where our boys were late, and play did not start until 3.30 pm.  Town won the toss and kicked with the breeze, but the combine was wastefully inaccurate, posting just five behinds.


Wandin won the lacklustre affair 1-8-14 to 0-8-8.  Ryan had returned to be among the best, along withith Town and Barfield.  25 year-old Yarra Glen farmer, Andrew Bell, also played well, along with Clements and Long.


The match was umpired by 40 year-old former Collingwood wingman, Charlie Pannam.  The Magpie champion, later grandfather of Lou Richards, had taken up the whistle after coaching Richmond in 1912.  Unfortunately, the late start meant he missed the return train to Melbourne!


Yarra Glen was the venue for the combine’s first home fixture against Lilydale.  In a match that was a little rough at times, they went down 1-5-11 to 3-8-26.  Ryan, Barfield, Kennedy and Long were best.


The following Saturday saw a battle of the two teams yet to open their account on neutral territory at Lilydale.  Scores were level with five minutes to go, but the combine managed to drag themselves off the bottom of the ladder with a two-point victory.  Daniel Moloney, Ryan and Barfield scored the goals, and others to play well included Town, Bell and Holden.


The combine returned to Lilydale the next week, but lost on a mud heap to Millgrove, 3-4-22 to 5-4-34.


There are no details of the return match against Yarra Junction, but that night, another former Coldstream player, James Fraser, had been farewelled after enlisting.


The combine lost its next encounter at Yarra Glen to Healesville, 2-7-19 to 5-5-35, but the prospects of keeping a football competition going were looking increasingly dim.


The Association met in Lilydale on July 16, with delegates of just four clubs in attendance.  The president, Mr Morton, said he had called the meeting for the purposes of bringing the season to a close on account of the war, which had been done by other associations.  Many of the players were enlisting, and if the season was prolonged, the teams would be greatly depleted generally.


Semi-finals were played immediately, and Lilydale met unbeaten minor premiers, Yarra Junction, in the final at Healesville.  Lilydale won 3-12-30 to 3-1-19, and “their veteran, Towser Poyner, who went into camp on Wednesday, put up a fine game, and worked like a Trojan in the last term.


In late October, William Town and Henry Ferguson were farewelled at the Coldstream Hall, and Vincent Black also enlisted.


Michael Upton lost a leg at the Front in France, and James Fraser suffered internal injuries.  He was repatriated and operated on.  On November 12, 1915, he was struck and killed by a tram in St Kilda Road going for a check-up.  He was just 23.


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Coldstream Football and Netball Club: EST 1890