Historical information

This photo is probably the oldest known photographic record of the Balliang Football Club, an Australian Rules football team in the Bacchus Marsh area. Australian Rules football was played in this area as early as the 1870s. An organized competition to play regular matches was formed in the early years of the twentieth century.


This item has historic and social significance as an image of one of the early sporting teams of Bacchus Marsh and district. It is a typical example of team photographs of this era. It is evidence of the transition of football from a social informal setting to an organised activity and signals the growth of importance of sport, in this case Australian Rules football, as a cultural and social activity central to the Australian ethos.

Physical description

A sepia photograph print mounted on mounting board, showing a group of 20 men arranged in two rows with two men reclining in front. Fifteen men are wearing horizontally striped football guernseys, one wearing a guernsey which is vertically striped. Two men wear white guernseys with a diagonal sash, one man in the back row is dressed formally in suit, collar and tie. One man, identified as the umpire, is in a white polo-necked sweater and is holding a football. The photo is taken in a clearing in an outdoor setting. It is possible to see the figures of three women in the background, two looking on from under a tree, one walking along a footpath.

Inscriptions & markings

Above the photo in red ink:"Balliang Football Team 1912." Beneath the photo in red ink with one alteration in blue ink the names: "J.Davie, C. Bissell, F. Dodemaide (these two names showing a reversal of position), J.Turnbull, G.Dodemaide, A. Phalp, A. Bissell, A. Cashmore, J.Sharkey.
R.McArthur, J.Cashmore., W. Loats, C. Smith. Elliott (ump), B.Phalp.
W.Cashmore, L. Beggs.
Because the number of names given does not tally with the number of men in the photo, it is not possible to accurately ascribe a name to any individual player.
Underneath the hand-written names, there is a circular professional stamp of the photographer, reading: PHOTO ARTIST BACCHUS MARSH. A.BESELER