THE PIONEERS AND THE FOOTBALL CLUB
The descendants of the early pioneers of Vermont have had a big influence on
the Club from its inception until the present day.
In 1862, David Boyle selected 58 acres on Scotchmans Hill. Building his
house on the corner of what is now Canterbury and Mount Pleasant Roads.
Lou Boyle, a foundation member of the Club, a player in the 1920 team and
our first Life Member, his cousins the three Boyle brothers Jim, Fred and
Len, were members of the Committee and players in the late 1920's early
1930's their younger brother Andrew who played in the lat 1940's winning the
Eastern Suburban Best and Fairest in 1949. Andrew's son Ray played in the
1970's. Their cousin Norm Boyle played from 1935 till 1939. Another
cousin, Lou Cornell, a Committee member and player over many years were some
of David Boyle's descendants.
John McClare was born in Ireland in 1828 and married 18 year old Mary Madden
in Galway, they emigrated to Australia, arriving in 1855. Rather than ride
on a bullock dray Mary McClare walked from Port Melbourne to Air Hill (now
In 1856 they purchased fifty acres of land in Delaneys Road, (now Canterbury
Road). John McClare died in 1926 at the age of ninety eight. Their
descendants have had a big input into the Club over its 70 odd years.
Pat, Jack, Bill and Frank, were all players and members of the Committee in
the 1920 - 1940 era.
Cousin Len played in the 1930's and his two sons Norm and Barry playing in
the 1960's - 1970's.
The former Secretary, Maureen Scott, daughter of Jack McClare were some of
their family associated with the Club.
Abraham Rooks arrived from Cambridgeshire, England in 1862 and settled on
Damper Creek, selected 79 acres and after 10 years residence, acquired full
title to it for 80 Pounds ($160).
Marrying Emily Kennard, they built their home on the North East corner of
Rooks and Canterbury Roads.
One of his descendants Aubrey Rooks, played football for Vermont up until
1929 when he left the district seeking work. On returning after the
depression he became a committee member, serving until the early 1950's.
Aubrey often told how his grandfather donated a bush block on the corner of
Canterbury and Terrara Roads to the people of Vermont for a cricket and
The land was all cleared by hand, the trees were grubbed out, cut up with
axe and crosscut saw, the land ploughed and levelled using horse drawn
ploughs, scoops, harrows and rollers.
With the timber taken from the land, a post and rail fence was erected
around the boundary. After the natural grasses had regrown, this was kept
cut by horse drawn mowers. All of this work was done voluntarily by the
local men. Two of the men known to have worked on this project were Mr.
Pat D'Arcy and Mr. Norm Williamson.
Some years after the establishment of the ground a dummy or driving section
of a cable tram was acquired and set up under the trees where the present
pavilion stands. This corner was for years know as Tram Corner.
Two more of Abraham Rooks descendants to belong to the Football Club were
Aub's brothers Dick and Gordon who were trainers in the 1940's. Gordon was
head trainer in the first Premiership side of 1955.
The Vermont Football Club was first formed in late 1919 early 1920 thanks
greatly to the efforts of local orchardist, Charlie Wallace, who became
President, Secretary George Binstead and Treasurer Jack Corr (later to
become Mayor of Ringwood).
In May of 1920, Vermont played its first match against Warrandyte in the
Reporter District Football Association. The match was played at home and
Vermont had a wonderful victory 15-17 to 1-1, even though they wore the
colours Red and Blue. The colours Purple with a Gold "V" were adopted as
the Club colours at a meeting in 1919/20 but the jumpers and sox could not
be made in time for the first match. The red and blue jumpers were hired -
Vermont is one of the few Clubs that has never changed its colours although
the design has been changed.
Vermont's first Captain was Joe Kiker, who had come from Mitcham after
playing there for a number of seasons including their 1914 Premiership. Joe
also played for Hawthorn in 1914 and Richmond in 1909. In those days players
regularly changed Clubs and often played in more than one competition at a
time. Joe moved on to Coach Ringwood in 1921.
J. Kiker (Capt), F. Finch, E. Stewart, F. Peterson, the four Mau brothers,
P. Kenny, W. Tuck, S. Willcox, W. Shambrook, W. Hutton, L. Boyle, H. Jacobs,
A. Aumann, H. Budge and A. Arnall were members of the first team.
Vermont's first VFL player came from this team when F. Peterson layed 5
games with Collingwood in 1921. Interestingly, the W. Shambrook mentioned
is directly related to 1980's star half back flanker, Rod Shambrook .
It was a very successful entry into competition football, only missing out
on the finals due to a defeat in the last home and away game by Mitcham.
Canterbury were premiers. 1921 however proved to be even a more memorable
year for a number of first time events -
• Vermont played in its new jumpers, the present day colours of purple
and gold. According to the late Jack Corr, who purchased the first set of
jumpers, purple and gold were the "Royal" colours and very popular at the
• On the 7th May, the Club occupied the almost completed new dressing
rooms (located behind Terrara Road goals_ it was a grand day especially as
the home side went on to soundly defeat Box Hill.
• That day also saw the appearance of Vermont's very fist Junior side.
Unfortunately, the enthusiasm did not match their skill and after eight big
losses they withdrew from the competition.