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Sydney Swans Heritage List

1880 Guernsey

Listing: 2011

Our Club was formed in 1874, but it was not until 1880 that we started wearing our famous red and white colours.

Few, if any, professional football clubs of any code anywhere in the world have worn the red and white for longer than the South Melbourne/Sydney Swans Football Club have.

Lake Oval

Listing: 2011

For 100 years from 1881 to 1981, Lake Oval in Aughtie Drive, Albert Park, was the sacred home of the Club.

It was the Club's home ground for over 1,000 games and in 1923 this small suburban ground had an attendance in excess of 40,000.

Our Emblem - the Swan

Listing: 2011

In 1933 the eminent journalist Hec de Lacy referred to the Club in The Sporting Globe somewhat facetiously as the Swans due to the number of West Australian players the Club had recruited - the Black Swan being the emblem of Western Australia.

Cartoonist Alex Gurney drew a cartoon that drew further attention to de Lacy's words and hence the 'Swans' came into Australian Football folklore.

Club Song

Listing: 2011

Until 1961, the Club Song was an adaptation of "Spring time in the Rockies" by American country star Gene Autry.

There was a sense within the Club that we needed a more robust song. A song that could provide this was identified as the Notre Dame Victory March. This song had been written in 1905 by alumni of Norte Dame, the Shea brothers.

After a protracted process involving the University and various musical houses, the Club was granted copyright in March 1961 and became our much loved Club Song 'Cheer Cheer the Red and the White'.

QBE Insurance

Listing: 2011

In 1985 former QBE Chief Executive John Cloney heard that the Sydney Swans were struggling and in danger of folding through lack of a major sponsor.

John made one phone call, and the rest, as they say, is history.

QBE has been our Principal Partner for over 25 years, and while highly commercial, the relationship is more akin to a long-term partnership than a sponsorship agreement.

Leo Barry's mark

Listing: 2011

A few seconds that changed this Club for all time. In the dying moments of the 2005 Grand Final against West Coast, Leaping Leo Barry took that courageous mark.

Leo Barry's iconic match-winning mark in the 2005 AFL Grand Final

Sydney Cricket Ground

Listing: 2012

In 1982 South Melbourne became the Sydney Swans and the SCG became the Club's home, with our first home game being against Melbourne in round 1, 1982, when we defeated a Ron Barassi coached Melbourne - 20.17 137 to 16.12 108.

Since then, our Club has played 322 home and finals games at the SCG for 183 wins, 138 losses and one draw - a success rate of nearly 60%.

Bob Pratt's 150 goals

Listing: 2012

Considered to be one of the greatest full forwards of all time, Bob Pratt made his debut for South Melbourne in 1930 at the age of 17. He played for the Club from 1930 to 1939.

Pratt is one of only two men in the history of the game to have kicked 150 goals in a season (1934).

Captivating the crowd with his spectacular high marking, he played 159 games for South and kicked 681 goals, a Club record which still stands.

Sydney Swans Guernsey

Listing: 2012

Our current Sydney Swans guernsey was first worn 107 years after our red and white jumper was worn for the first time and is the guernsey that we have worn since 1987.

The guernsey comprises a red yoke fashioned into an outline of the Sydney Opera House on a white background. On the back of the jumper are the letters SMFC, standing for South Melbourne Football Club, thus permanently linking the Club's origins and rich history with its present and its future.

The guernsey is generally worn with red shorts and red and white hooped socks.

Nick Davis' Four Last Quarter Goals

Listing: 2012

Nick Davis played for the Club from 2003 to 2008. In his career he kicked 150 goals and played 97 games.

During the three-quarter-time break of our semi-final match against Geelong in 2005, it looked like the Swans' season was all but over.

Then in the fourth quarter, Nick Davis kicked four goals, including the spectacular match winning goal in the dying seconds, which ensured our season would continue, culminating in the 2005 premiership.

The 1881 Premiership - the Club's first

Listing: 2013

The 1881 season was a momentous one for the fledgling South Melbourne Football Club. Not only did those "red and white beauties", as they were known, play at the Lake Oval for the first time, they also won their first VFA premiership.

There were no Grand Finals in that era, so the club with the best record during the season was declared the premier.

South went on to win further VFA flags in 1885 and from 1888-90, as well as VFL/AFL flags in 1909, 1918, 1933, 2005 and 2012.

In The Blood, by Jim Main

Listing: 2013

In preparation for the first Swans Hall of Fame event in 2009, the Club realised the need for a comprehensive history, to fill some of the voids and dispel myths about the Club's past.

Club historian, journalist and passionate Swans supporter, Jim Main took on the task.

The book is now gifted to all new players and In The Blood will continue to be the most complete record of the Bloods History and ensure that the challenges and triumphs of the past are forever remembered.

The Matthews Family

Listing: 2013

No family has given the Swans more service than the Matthews, a dynasty that started with E. Herbert Matthews, who played 33 games  in 1914 and 1923-24.

Son J. Herbert C. Matthews played 191 games in the red and white from 1932-45 and, apart from serving the Club as captain and coach, won a Brownlow Medal in 1940. Brothers Norm (28 games, 1938-40) and Don (31 games, 1956-58) also played with the Swans.

J. Herbert's son, Herb, started his career with Melbourne in 1961 before playing 82 games with South from 1964-69.

Tony Lockett's behind - 1996 preliminary final

Listing: 2013

Despite being under an injury cloud through a groin strain, champion full-forward Tony Lockett tooki his place in the Swans side in the 1996 preliminary final against Essendon, and after being restricted to just one goal, he became the Swans' hero with the last kick of the match.

With scores level with less than a minute to play, midfielder Wade Chapman marked on the wing and saw Lockett make his lead. The Chapman kick found its mark and Lockett went back for his kick with just seconds to play; any score would put the Swans into a Grand Final for the first time since 1945.

Lockett, 55 metres from goal, put everything into his kick and, despite the ball slewing to the left, it tumbled through for a behind.

The 'Brownlow Factory'


For many years, a supporter behind the southern goals held a sign proclaiming “the SCG: the Brownlow Factory”, and it’s not hard to understand why.

Over the club’s 140-year history, South Melbourne/ Sydney Swans players have claimed 14 Brownlow Medals, the most of any club in VFL/AFL history.

e club has produced an impressive 11 individual winners over the years, including two multiple winners of the coveted individual honour.

Bloods Legend Bob Skilton took out the prestigious award in 1959, 1963 and 1968, while Adam Goodes won the Brownlow Medal in 2003 and 2006.

Individual Brownlow Medallists included Herbie Matthews (1940), Ron Clegg (1949), Fred Goldsmith (1955), Peter Bedford (1970), Graham Teasdale (1977), Barry Round (1981), Greg Williams (1986), Gerard Healy (1988) and Paul Kelly (1995).

Players Lost at War


South Melbourne players who lost their life fighting for their country were also recognised at Friday night’s event.

A century on from the beginning of World War I, the club paid tribute to those players who were among 60,000 Australians who never came home.

Players who had either represented the club or were playing at the time of their enlistment who lost their lives were Norman Bradford, Hugh Callan, Fred Fielding, Charles Fincher, Jack Freeman, Edward Harrison, Claude Thomas, Jack Turnbull and the brilliant Bruce Sloss, who was judged Champion of the Colony in 1911.

The Second World War lasted from 1938 to 1945 with an estimate of 50 to 85 million fatalities. Australia entered the conflict in September 1939 and by the end of World War II, one million Australians had served in the Armed Forces with 27,000 killed and another 24,000 injured.

South Melbourne players who lost their lives in World War II were Alf Hedge, Norman Le Brun, Alan Pearsall, Gordon Sawley, Jeff Grieve, Jack Shelton, Jack Wade and Len Thomas.

The 1933 Jumper


It was a new-look Bloods in 1932, when the team took to the field in a new jumper.

For the first time, the club donned a white guernsey with a red V, a red collar and the long-sleeved guernseys featured red cuffs, which replaced the white jumper with a red sash that was previously worn by the club.

The players’ numbers were red, and the socks were hooped red and white. Black shorts were worn at home and white shorts for away matches.

The jumpers were made of wool and were exceptionally heavy compared to the lightweight, state-of-the-art uniforms the players wear today.

While no one can say with certainty that the new jumper played a role, the club managed to break their decade-long finals drought in 1932, and went on win the premiership in 1933.

The club played in four successive grand finals from 1933 to 1936 donning the white jumper with the red V, so it could be said that the new guernsey signalled the beginning of a new era for the Bloods.

30 Goals in Three Consecutive Weeks


The Sydney Swans’ big goal hauls of 1987 have been added to the club’s Heritage List.

In rounds 16 to 18, the Swans wrote their names into the history books when they booted over 30 goals in three successive matches.

On July 19, 1987, Sydney defeated West Coast 30-21 (201) to 10-11 (71) at the SCG. This included a second quarter in which the Swans kicked 12.4. Stevie Wright kicked eight goals, while fellow midfielder Barry Mitchell kicked three. Warwick Capper kicked five and Team of the Century wingman David Murphy booted four.

The Swans put on a show the following week at the SCG when the team defeated Essendon 36.20 (236) to 11.7 (73). This included a massive 13-goal last quarter for the Swans. Capper kicked six goals, Wright five and eventual Best and Fairest winner, Gerard Healy finished the match with four.

The Swans’ big score against the Bombers was also a historic moment for the club, with Sydney becoming the first team in League history to score over 200 points in consecutive games.

The following week the Swans defeated Richmond 31-12 (198) to 15-17 (107). Capper and Merv Neagle each kicked five goals, while Tony Morwood kicked four. Some familiar names were amongst the Swans’ best included Dennis Carroll, Rod Carter, Craig Holden and Morwood.

The Swans remain the only team in history to achieve the feat of kicking more than 30 goals in three consecutive matches, and given the nature of today’s game it seems unlikely it will happen again.

Ron Clegg 1951 Match v Fitzroy

Listing: 2015

On June 23rd 1951, in a game against Fitzroy at the Brunswick Street Oval, Ron Clegg turned in one of the greatest individual performances in the history of the game. Collecting more than 50 possessions and taking 32 marks – most of them contested – the 1949 Brownlow Medallist dominated as few players have before or since as he almost single-handedly steered South Melbourne to a commanding half time lead before saving the game in the second half as the opposition embarked upon a stirring comeback.

True Believers

Listing: 2015

Following a tumultuous first decade in Sydney, by 1992 it appeared that a combination of off field turmoil and financial troubles may see the end of the red and white.

Without AFL assistance – which required the approval of opposition clubs – it was almost a certainty that the Club would fold. However, a group of “True Believers” stepped in to ensure the continuing viability of the Swans, providing enormous financial assistance, lobbying club presidents to vote in our favour, and making great personal sacrifices to safeguard the future of the football club they loved. To John Gerahty, Craig Kimberley, Basil Sellers, Peter Weinert and Michael Willesee we owe a great debt of gratitude

2005 Premiership

Listing: 2015

When coach Paul Roos and captain Barry Hall held the 2005 Premiership cup aloft in the middle of the MCG on September 24th 2005, they were representing a team which had achieved what many red and white faithful may well have wondered if they would ever see.

When the siren sounded on our four-point victory over West Coast, a 72year Premiership drought – the longest in VFL/AFL history – was broken. The hard work of those who had strived to make the Club a success during the difficult early years in Sydney had paid off, and the belief of those who are loyal to the red and white was vindicated.

First game in Sydney in 1982 as the Sydney Swans
Listing: 2016

There has been much discussion about the transformation of South Melbourne into Sydney. As has been said previously at this function, mergers and relocations are not highly unusual in world sport.

What is unusual about this move however is that the expectations are that all aspects of the Club’s nearly 110-year existence in Melbourne will be maintained without any consideration of trying to link the club to its new home market. As we enter our 35th season in Sydney, we might just start to allow ourselves to believe that this crash or crash through experiment might finally have worked.

The heritage and history of South Melbourne has been maintained, and accordingly the club boasts an enormous supporter base in Melbourne and throughout the country. But at the same time, we have unambiguously linked our future to the Sydney and the greater New South Wales market.

Many experts would opine without the success and visibility of a team in Sydney there would be no credible national competition. Tonight we formally honour arguably the most critical step in this amazing journey as we bring onto the Swans Heritage List the Club’s first ever game in Sydney under the banner of the Sydney Swans.

Graeme Pash and Family
Listing: 2016

In 1992 Graeme and Julie Pash and family in an effort to provide the club with a circuit breaker from another poor season hosted a small Christmas party at their house, Beauty Point. As the years passed the number of attendees grew from 10 to over 200. Because the National Draft is held late in the year, for many players and their parents it is their first taste of Sydney.

It became a rite of passage for players. Basically attending this function confirms you were really part of the Swans.

The last function was held in December 2008. While it had a formal name- the Pash Family’s Annual Swans Christmas Party - it was universally known as “Pashy’s Piss-Up”. Graeme had a 20 year association with the club an investor in 1988 and from 1993 until 2002 as the Club’s Deputy Chairman. Between the late 1980s and mid 2000s if you didn’t have your hand shaken by Graeme Pash at the SCG – well you couldn’t have been there.

Marn Grook at the SCG
Listing: 2017
The annual match at the SCG honours the Indigenous roots of Australian football and recognises the valuable contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players to the game.

Tony Lockett’s 1300th and 1360th goals
Listing: 2017
The greatest goal kicker of all time kicked his record-breaking 1300th goal against Collingwood in Round 10, 1999. He finished his career with 1360 goals to his name – a record that will be hard to be beat.

1918 Premiership Team – listed 2018

In 1918, we finished top of the ladder, losing only one game of the season. We won our second VFL Premiership defeating Collingwood by 5 points.

The season was played under the amended Argus system. South Melbourne was the minor premier, and Collingwood finished second. The teams both qualified for the Grand Final by winning their semi-finals matches.

If Collingwood had won this match, South Melbourne would have had the right to challenge Collingwood to a rematch for the premiership on the following weekend, because South was the minor Premier. The winner of that match would then have won the premiership. As it turned out no re-match was necessary.  

An edited article from a newspaper of the day reports:

“An ideal day for football and the prospect of witnessing what proved to be the final match of the season brought a record attendance for war-time football to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday to witness the play-off for the League premiership, between South Melbourne and Collingwood.

Nearly 40,000 people were present on Saturday, the official figures being: Attendance, 39,168; receipts, £1,175.

It was another great game, cleanly played and keenly fought out. The day favoured the good exposition of football, and high-marking and long kicking were features.

The final scores were:

SOUTH MELBOURNE 9 goals 8 behinds (62 points).

COLLINGWOOD, 7 goals 15 behinds (57 points).

Nick Malceski’s Goals in the 2012 Grand Final – listed 2018

In order to have any chance of winning the 2012 Premiership, Sydney needed to be efficient, composed and most of all take its chances.

At the start of play Hawthorn were strong favourites, having been heavily backed into $1.57. Sydney were at $2.58. The punters and experts alike were overwhelmingly of the opinion 2012 was to be the Hawks’ Grand Final.

At the seven-minute mark of the first quarter, under considerable pressure, the most unlikely of goal kickers, Nick Malceski, kicks truly from deep in the left full forward pocket – the wrong side for a left footer.

It is a miraculous goal and the only one we will score for the quarter.

With 40 seconds to go Nick Malceski again stamps himself on the game when he snaps beautifully from a pack about 20 metres from goal putting the game beyond Hawthorn’s reach.

The Swans prevail 14.7 to 11.15.

Nick’s two goals are the epitome of efficiency, composure and taking our chances. 

Swans Chairman Jack Marks’ letter to Members dated July 17, 1981 – listed 2018

This letter, which unambiguously recommends the relocation of South Melbourne to Sydney, will lead to an unprecedented battle for control of the club between those who believe its future is in Sydney and those who believe its future remains at the Lake Oval, Albert Park, Melbourne.

With the value of hindsight, we now know that at least since 1980 the VFL (now AFL) has been putting in place the foundation stones from which to launch a plan to have a team based in Sydney.

At the same time the financial plight of South Melbourne has seen it, independently of the VFL, contemplating an interstate move to guarantee its survival. 

In late 1980, the AFL receives the report that it has commissioned a gentleman named John Hennessy to undertake. 

The report is titled “The Sydney Solution! VFL at the Crossroads”. Hennessy concludes that a VFL team based in Sydney would be viable based on 6,000 members, a national sponsor, over the longer-term 17,000 matchday attendees, and continuing VFL assistance.

Jack Marks is a lifetime Swans supporter. His family have operated a highly successful and respected jewellery business for a number of generations.

He has become the chair of his beloved club at the most critical time in its 106 -year existence.

His letter dated 17th July 1981 which is sent to all members is an act of extraordinary bravery. Given it is Jack’s signature which is on the letter, it is he who bears the brunt of supporter outrage.

First it says, “QUO VADIS South Melbourne”. Quo Vadis in Latin means “Where are you going?” So, it effectively says to all Swans members, “where is your club heading?”

Secondly, it finishes with the words, True supporters of the club have but one truth to follow: “Whither thou goest, I goest” (from the Book of Ruth – Old Testament). It is saying, “if we relocate you should be with us.”

A financially secure club wearing red & white & called the Swans with sustained on-field success.