Pre 1860 Chronology

A significant amount of data relating to 1858/1859/1860 comes from Mark Penning's 'Origins of Australian Football' publications.

Pre 1835
The areas now known as Richmond and Yarra Park are a small portion of the land of the Wurundjeri-willam clan of the Woiworung tribe. They are a Kulin people.

The European settlement of Melbourne begins. 

Robert Hoddle makes the first survey of the land soon to be known as Richmond. He planned many of the major thoroughfares and parks of Richmond and Jolimont.

Aug -Nov.
Land is first purchased in the suburb soon to be known as Richmond.

Sept- Oct.    
Kulin tribes camp in the “Police Paddock” (Yarra Park) before being rounded up and arrested by the police.

Ball games:
Scratch football games are being played by European youths in Melbourne.    William Kyle witnesses Kulin youths play their ball game.

Early in 1842 the name Richmond is first gazetted though the land it referred to was probably known as Richmond prior to 1842. 

July 12    
The earliest recorded football match in Victoria takes place on Batman’s Hill. It is a scratch game played after a hurling match.August    The Woiworung camp on the land that would later be named Yarra Park.

Scratch football games are often played as a part of sporting festivals and/or to celebrate holidays. Usually the winning team collects a purse.    It will be recollected that during the 1850s a Rugby type game was played regularly near Fawkner Park in South Yarra. It is also believed that scratch football games were being played at the Victorian gold fields. 

Aug. 26    
The first publicly advertised football match in Melbourne  takes place at Emerald Hill.

Nov. 16    The earliest recorded football game to be played on a Victorian cricket ground takes place on the old Melbourne Cricket Ground at South Bank. It was played as a part of the Separation Day celebrations.

Feb.- May    
The Kulin gather for the last time near Melbourne. It dissolves into drunkenness and at least two Kulin are murdered. One body is recovered from Richmond Swamp.

Sept. 23     
The Melbourne Cricket Club obtains permissive occupancy of a site in the “Police Paddock” (Yarra Park). It is the present Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Jan. 23  
The Richmond Cricket Club is founded at William S. Woolcott’s house in Richmond and intends to play in the “Government Paddock” (Yarra Park).

Jan. 30  
The Richmond Cricket Club receives temporary permission to practice in Richmond Paddock (Yarra Park). 

April 24    
Richmond becomes Melbourne’s first independent municipality. In 1857 the Borough of Richmond had 9,029 residents.

October 25
Hon Secretary of Richmond Cricket Club Joseph Rhodes writes to Capt. Kay , Colonial Office, asking for a permanent ground to establish the club.

Nov. 18    
The Richmond Cricket Club obtains permissive occupancy of a site opposite the Royal Hotel in Richmond Paddock (Yarra Park). It is the present Richmond Cricket Ground.Cricket:    During the summer of 1855/56 the Richmond Cricket Club probably plays its first games.

By late October 1856 the Richmond Cricket Club’s ground opposite the Royal Hotel had been cleared, levelled and fenced.
Nov. 1    
The first (recorded) cricket match on the site of the RCG is played between two elevens of the Richmond Cricket Club. A refreshment tent was raised and a band played for the spectators.

The Richmond Tradesmen’s Cricket Club is formed. By early 1859 it had established a ground next to the Yarra River in Richmond Paddock (Yarra Park). In time this ground would be referred to as the Botanical Reserve.

June 5    
Melbourne Grammar defets St. Kilda Grammar in possibly the first recorded game of football between Melbourne schools.

July 10    
A letter written by Tom Wills suggesting that cricketers should keep fit in winter by playing football is published in Bell’s Life in Victoria.

July 31  
 A scratch football game is played in Richmond Paddock. Football games in the paddock will become regular this year.

Aug 7 -Sept 4.  
A football game is played over three non-consecutive Saturdays (Aug 7, Aug 28, Sept 4) in Richmond Paddock (Yarra Park) between the Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar schools. It is traditionally recognised as the first game of Australian Football. Tom Wills serves as one of two umpires for the game. The game is called a draw as neither side could obtain a second goal.

Sept. 25    
A game (27 a side) is played between teams representing South Yarra and Melbourne in Richmond Paddock. Tom Wills captains the Melbourne team and Reginald Bright South Yarra. They play under a code of rules drawn up and brought to the game by the South Yarra side

May 14    
The Melbourne Football Club is officially founded following a scratch match in Richmond Paddock (Yarra Park).
It was J. Bryant's side v T Smith's side. It will be recognised as Australia’s first football club.

May 17    
The Melbourne Football Club’s rules are decided and written by William Hammersley, Thomas Smith, James Thomson, and Tom Wills. Most Victorian clubs will soon play according these rules or to derivatives of them, and they will form the basis of Australian Football.

May 21
Another Melbourne FC Scratch match takes place at Richmond Paddock. No goals from either J. Bryant's or Tom Wills side.

May 28    
St. Kilda defeats University in a 15 a-side game, on the StK Ground.

June 11
Melbourne Grammar School defeat Scotch College 2 goals to nil on the Richmond Paddock
A Melbourne FC scratch match also takes place between W. Hammersley's side and T.H Smith's side. Neither team score

June 18
W Hammersley's side defeat A. Bruce's side 2 goals to 1 at the Richmond Paddock.

June 25
W Hammersley's side defeats A Bruce's side 1 goals to nil on the Richmond Paddock

July 9  
Melbourne plays its first game against another club. This game against South Yarra is the earliest recorded football game played on the present site of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

July 18    
The Geelong Football Club is officially founded.