The Anakie Football Club originated north of the township (18kms) instigated through the construction of the Stony Creek Reservoir system in 1866. The area known as Durdidwarrah (Aboriginal meaning “shelter of bark”) and was to provide a permanent water source to the emerging colonial settlement of Geelong.
The scope of works drew many workers to the area where they would camp nearby the dam construction in this dense native bush environment. With the abundance of workers an Australian Football Rules Team was formed called the Durdidwarrah Football Club who were premiers in 1914.
On completion of the dams works moved closer to the Anakie area.
Many of the original players were drawn from the construction crews working on the construction of the Stony Creek catchment system. The team was actually called Stony Creek in 1921. (Nicknamed the Stony’s).The remainder of the players were itinerant timber workers, rabbiters, fencers and farm labourers. Opposition teams in the competition included Balliang, Meredith, Elaine, Lal Lal and Lethbridge playing in the Matheson Cup Association.
Before the final move to our current location the players used a paddock on the Nth side of the township in 1923 opposite the Uniting Church & Del Rios Winery entrance. There were also tennis courts located at this site. The side below was runners up in the Austin Cup in the same year.
Anakie was a small village with a population of 212 in 1911 (Census information) which had reduced from 500 people in 1865 at the start of the reservoir system. Gold prospecting & timber clearing had flourished the town. By the early 1900’s Anakie had a Post office, a State School, 3 Churches (Presbyterian, Catholic & Anglican) along with a Mechanics institute (Staughtonvale Hall). With the reservoir system nearing completion and not enough adequate land for the sale the population reduced.
In 1925 W.G Browne (Pictured below seated & wearing a tie) who owned the local station “Narada” sold a parcel of land located on De Motts Road for 48 pounds ($94) which he stipulated a “No Alcohol Policy” which was enforced for many years up to the early 1970’s. Trees were removed from the De Motts Road block and grass was seeded and was resewn every year ongoing paid by the club.
From the beginning at Football, Cricket & Tennis were associated as a group, with players & volunteers interacting within the sports, all fundraising was to benefit the group. During the early years Anakie enjoyed the success of several premierships, this photo was taken in 1926 after they beat Meredith @ Bannockburn’s Oval to be Premiers that year.
The grand final of the Matheson Cup Association was played at Bannockburn on Saturday the 7th of August, between Anakie & Meredith. The match which was one of the best for the season was won by Anakie. The game was a fitting finish to a successful season and was played in the fine spirit of sportsmanship which has characterised the games throughout the year. S. Jobling, the Anakie Captain won the toss & chose the south-western goal which was slightly favoured by a fair breeze.
The first quarter was in the favour of Meredith who had a lead of 4 points at the first change. Anakie 1.3.9 vs Meredith 2.1.13.
In the second quarter Anakie reduced the lead to two points owing to more accurate kicking. Anakie 3.4.22 vs Meredith 3.6.24.
The third quarter was responsible for a brilliant effort by Anakie who rattled on four goals without a point being scored. Meredith became disorganised and failed to score. Anakie 7.4.46 vs Meredith 3.6.24.
Meredith fought hard in the last but were unable to make up the deficiency and Anakie won the Premiership by 22 points. Anakie 8.6. 54 vs Meredith 4.8.32.
Both teams had given a fine display of clean open football and were heartily cheered on leaving the ground. Every man on the ground was prominent at times but each side had a few particularly brilliant players.
Anakie Best: L. Bissell, R. Finch, T. Beamish, G. Tucker, S. Hassett, J. Byrne, S. Jobling, G. Eden & C. Saunders.
Meredith Best: M. Stanley, J. Slocombe, S. Slocombe, Grant & Miller were a little more prominent than others.
The Umpire J. Russell was not quiet at his best, the game being a bit too fast for him.Supplement from The Geelong Advertiser, Wednesday 11th August, 1926
Ross Tucker remembers his father, playing in this team https://youtu.be/sGbDqvccyqA?t=15
In 1929 construction of the initial rooms & tennis courts was completed & paid for by the funds raised by the Football, Cricket & Tennis groups using the land. The football rooms consisted of Home & Away change rooms with No showers & the toilets were usually behind a tree in the south paddock. Fees at that time for Football players were 2 pounds, 2 schillings ($4.22).
In 1934 the Tennis pavilion was built adjacent to the oval once again fundraised through the 3 participants. Football, Cricket & the Tennis clubs.
In 1937 the side came runners up, Player Jim Bradley recalls the year that wasn’t to be. https://youtu.be/a65GT3t5J2w?t=617
During War World II, sporting activities paused at the Anakie Reserve from 1939 until 1946, whilst the club hosted War welfare meetings in the changerooms to inform the local communities of the pending environment.
In 1948 the club was unable to field a full side, so they joined Balliang FC and played on their oval located behind the Town Hall for one season. (Combined side pictured below)
1949 was the return to De Motts road Anakie and they joined the Geelong & District League.
Players were in short supply in the late 40’s so Keith Lowe (President) travelled throughout the district to take anyone old enough to play seeing he was one of the limited few that owned one in the town.
Local Anakie Brothers Jack & Charlie Osborne shown in this team photo (Circa 1949) started their playing careers. Their father had played in our 1926 Premiership and a future playing at Anakie seemed inventible. Both players notched up over 300 games each for Anakie, when Charlie married his wife from Meredith where he moved & went on to play another 235 games with them. (Total of 535 Games). Charlies last game was marred when he broke his neck, thankfully the injury wasn’t debilitating and is still alive and hungry for a kick.
Jack played rough & tough throughout his career and was taken to the tribunal on a couple of occasions for on field indiscretions but always seemed to get off lighter than his opponent pleading he was provoked. In 1967 the club were rewarded with a Premiership and is still one of his fondest memories. If you have been a part of the club in anyway over the past half century then you would have met or known Jack.
Jacks association with Anakie FNC has spanned more than 70 years and today his acknowledgements includes Life Member of Anakie Football & Cricket, Sponsor and is one half of our No.1 Ticket holders along with his wife, Joy. https://youtu.be/a65GT3t5J2w?t=129