Our First Election
By Michael Roberts
Collingwood elections haven’t always been pretty affairs. Indeed there have been a few down the years – as far back 1939 – that have precipitated serious and bloody internal battles.
But luckily there was none of that on February 26, 1892. Just two weeks after the riotous public meeting at the Collingwood Town Hall, the same venue played host to the first ever meeting of the Collingwood Football Club.
The purpose of the meeting was to elect the office-bearers for that historic first season. And despite the local clamour to be involved with the exciting new football team, there were no ructions or unseemly jockeying for positions (at least not publicly, anyway). Instead there was an overwhelming sense of anticipation and goodwill. Election bloodletting was for the future.
Cr William Beazley, who had played such an important role in founding the club, was chosen as the first president, a role he held until 1911. His fellow founding fathers Edwin Wilson and Alfred Manfield were elected as secretary and treasurer respectively. Two other local politicians and two local businessmen were named as vice-presidents.
The ‘committee of management’ consisted of four players and five non-players, the latter group including local figures Tom Sherrin (the father of the sporting goods business), Dan Reddan, Ninian Batchelor, Andrew Brownlie and T Yates.
Together, these were the men who would pilot the fledgling club through its tricky first season – and beyond.
The VFA sent along a representative that night to assure the new club of the governing body’s best wishes, and there were warnings about the dangers of professionalism creeping into the game.
But there was great excitement at the news that the tender for fencing Victoria Park had been let, and that within a few weeks Collingwood would possess “a splendidly enclosed ground larger than any other in the colony”.
“The club bids fair to be a great success,” wrote one local newspaper after the meeting. How right they were.