NFC History Committee 2019 Annual Review

Wynton Heading
Chairman, NFC History Committee

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the NFC History Committee which held its first meeting in October 2009 under the chairmanship of Michael Coligan. The committee’s brief was to preserve and manage the archival and other historical items relating to the NFC and the Norwood Oval.

Since then the group has met regularly at the club to collate, catalogue and store the extensive range of documents, objects and photographs that were discovered in various room and offices around the Norwood Oval. Over the years the brief has expanded to include a range of activities such as making recommendations to the NFC Board on Hall of Fame inductees, conducting tours of the Norwood Oval, research on past players and the production of three books; 1878 Norwood’s First Year, Norwood Men Who Served and 140 Years of the Red and the Blue.

The formation of the committee encouraged many past players and their families, along with club members and supporters to donate material knowing that the items would be properly curated and preserved. This year items were received from 16 donors making a total of 208 donors who have presented the club with an extensive array of publications, badges, awards, guernseys, photographs and ephemera that reflect the long and colourful history of the club and the Norwood Oval.

Several significant objects were added to the collection this year. The group was pleased to acquire the gold life member’s badge awarded to Syd Ackland in 1931. Ackland played in 134 games from 1922 to 1931 including three premierships. He was senior coach from 1935 to 1937 and is a NFC Hall of Fame inductee and a member of the Team of the Century.

The club also acquired a SANFL Life Member certificate awarded to Stanley H Lewis in 1944. The beautiful, hand coloured certificate was signed by John J Woods and Thomas Seymour Hill. T S Hill was the Norwood Football Club secretary/general manager from 1926 until 1935 before taking on the same role for the SANFL. He held this position until 1963, finishing with a total of 37 years of service to the game.  He is a Norwood and SANFL Life Member and an inductee of the Norwood, SANFL and AFL halls of fame. John Joseph Woods was a six times premiership player, Norwood’s first coach and first secretary, treasurer and SANFL delegate.

Stanley H Lewis was SANFL chairman from 1950 to 1961 and the Stanley H Lewis Memorial Trophy awarded to the best performed club across three grades of the competition is named after him.
A 1984 grand final football was presented to the club by former field umpire Jack Hylton who, along with Laurie Argent, officiated in Norwood’s history making win over Port Adelaide.

Two significant online resources are utilized by the group to record historical data. Since 2009, catalogue records for items have been added to a database sponsored and supported by the AFL. While a number of AFL clubs use the database, Norwood is currently the only local club using the online resource along with the SANFL History Group. A major upgrade of the software was undertaken this year and following negotiations with the SANFL , the AFL has agreed to continue sponsoring the database to support the preservation of the game’s history at a local and national level. It is to be hoped that other SANFL clubs will start to make use of the database.

This year 90 items were catalogued and added to the collection bringing the total number of NFC records on the database to 3,495 while several thousand photographs still await cataloguing. Images for 75 items were added to the database making a total of 1,770 images.

The other online resource is the Redlegs Museum website which was established in 2013 and includes a database containing the playing records of the 1479 men and 52 women who have represented the club at a senior level. The website has recently been upgraded and re-designed by its creator, former Norwood captain, Anthony Harvey. Amongst a number of improvements, the upgrade re-formats screen displays automatically for mobiles and tablets, opening up the website to a wider range of internet users.

Biographical profiles for 830 senior players have been written and added to the Redlegs Museum and, of the 1479 players listed, 1345 portrait photographs have been attached to their records. While most of the images are taken from team photos many were supplied by family members or obtained from a variety of sources such as newspapers, school photos or war service sites.

Research into the lives of late 19th and early 20th century players has revealed a number of names to be added to the club’s honour roll of war veterans. Players who served during the Boer War (1899-1902) include : G E Blackmore, A F Coulls, A M McAloney, C G Sabine and J Way. The following names have been added to the club’s list of World War 1 veterans : V Cave, H Chapman, H Gabriel, H G Healey, E A McNamara, W Noal, C Thomas. James Way, it was discovered, served in the Boer War and World War 1 while Edgar C Johnson served in both world wars. The profiles of all of these men can be read on the Redlegs Museum website.

The process of digitising the club’s collection of photographs continued and 2,600 images were produced this year making a total of 10,194 digital images including the small photos of players on the website. Digital copies of photographs allow the originals to be protected and preserved and prints that have suffered damage over the years can be restored.

The NFC display at the Adelaide Oval was updated and revamped with new items from the club’s collection. The display, along with those from other SANFL clubs, can be viewed on Level 2 of the Riverbank Stand. The group continued to collaborate with Chris Halbert and the SANFL History Group and during the year Norwood committee members attended and presented reports at meetings of historians from the other clubs. 

The History Committee acknowledges the support of NFC office and ground staff and we thank Denise Schumann for making a room at the St Peters Cultural History Centre available for meetings. The history collection is securely stored, thanks to the ongoing generosity of John Eastwood from U-Store-It and Wally Miller continues to provide assistance with his extensive knowledge of the history of the club and its players.

The following people, including family members of past players have provided information and photographs that have been used in preparing biographical profiles for the Redlegs Museum.

Vicki and Shane Adams, Greg Barry,Sue Britt,Don Bone, Kerri Cliff, David Collins, Tim Cox, Maree Ellis, John Finn, Joy Fitton, Joanne French, Bob Gartland, Mostyn Geue, Garry Goodwin, Ian Granland, Annabelle Greenslade, Heather Haines, Heather Hannan, Dorothy Healy, Michael Hegarty, Bruce Hogben, David and Sam Houston, Brenton James Bill Johnson, Karen Kemp, Jan Kurzman, David King, Philip Koch, Jenny Liebich, Carole Littlefair, Allison Matthews, Wally Miller, Otto Modra, Meredith Mork, Roger Nicholson, Kaye O’Connor, Tony Paget, Rhonda Pech, Annie Power, Keith Ransom, Mark Shirley, Patricia Schroeder, Peter and Sue Sinclair, John Stephens, Tony Sullivan, Kristen Thomas, Rob Thornton, Rod Waters, Paul Walsh, Melissa Wright, Philip Wood, Julie Zadow.
History Committee members 2019:
Graeme Adams
Reonaldo Cialini
Michael Coligan
Dee Cox
Lindsay Cox
Rob Crompton
Wynton Heading
Stephen Jones
Chris Lane
Trevor Mather
Phil Robins
Bryan Ridge
John Townsend
Marie Walsh
Robert Walsh
Roger Woodcock

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