Fitzroy Football Club: Great football, Great community, Great culture.

Celebrating 140 years of Fitzroy football


1883: A new club is formed

By David Leydon

The people of the fast-growing inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy had become frustrated that, by the early 1880s, they didn’t have a local Australian Rules football team representing their name. So in 1883 a number of prominent locals decided it was time to do something about it and arranged a meeting at the Brunswick Hotel in Brunswick Street Fitzroy with the intention of building a new club.

The meeting was attended by 68 people made up of well-known footballers, local business people and an array of other interested parties and was chaired by John McMahon, a former mayor of Fitzroy. McMahon went on to become the club’s first president.

A number of resolutions were moved and passed at this meeting, including that a new club be formed called the ‘Fitzroy Football Club’ and that an initial provisional committee be elected to establish the club.

One of the first decisions made by the new committee was that the club colours would be “blue cap and knickerbockers, maroon jersey and hose”. The new club secretary, J H Simpson, was then instructed by the committee to make application to join the state’s most powerful league of the day, the Victorian Football Association (VFA). The VFA changed its standing on new club admittance rules to facilitate a smooth and quick entry for Fitzroy to enter its ranks. Other senior teams competing in the VFA at the time were Carlton, Essendon, Geelong, Hotham, Melbourne, South Melbourne and Williamstown.

Fitzroy Football Club printed 100 members tickets and ordered 200 more and began taking membership fees from eager applicants all wanting to be part of this exciting new venture. The Roys secured the services of prominent Essendon player, P G McShane who was announced as the club’s first captain, and Fitzroy gradually began to assemble a team of players from both the local area and other established clubs.

The Australasian reported at the time that:

“The club had a great ground to practice on” and that “it has a large and populous district to recruit from; so that it contains within itself the elements of success and its future will much depend on its committee of management.”

A few years after the formation of FFC, the club’s second secretary C S Cock, who also played in those first Fitzroy teams, observed:

“To fairly start a new club was hard work, people had been so used to regarding it as impossible to establish a new club that its promoters were ridiculed. Even our own residents ridiculed the idea of Fitzroy competing with senior teams. Such encouragement was continually held out…“How many games will you last?” “Where will Fitzroy be at the end of the season?”

How many games will you last

Well, it seems we have a few stories to tell in 2023 to answer that question as we celebrate 140 glorious, tough, heartbreaking and uplifting years of the Fitzroy Football Club.

Keep following our website and social media throughout 2023 as we look back at the rich 140 year history we have to celebrate.

Go Roys!

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