1921

The First Clubs

Credited with the side at Latrobe, Paddington, R.J. Powell was only a few days behind the formation of two Toowoomba Clubs (29 June) but a few more ahead of those formed 8 July 1921.

It is reported in a number of Queensland papers that 100 or so keen players met in the Brisbane Gymnasium, and on the night, elected to form The Queensland Women’s Ladies Soccer Football Association. Two teams were announced almost immediately, North and South Brisbane, with the prospect of three more being formed in the coming days.

This led to practice matches, which took place in early September – September 4 most likely – at Bowman Park, Paddington (now Bardon). Four teams were involved: Brisbane City, Latrobe Ladies, Celtic and Brisbane Ladies.

The players used an aluminium painted ball on specially organised training nights arranged and run by Mr W.G. Betts.

R. J. Powell

W. G. Betts

Latrobe Ladies' Football Club, 1921

The First Public Match

The first public game of football played by women in Australia took place at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, The Gabba, on 24 September 1921.

10,000 people attended the match. It is often pointed out by the cynical that there was a men’s match afterwards, but it is our firm belief that the novelty factor would have drawn the crowd on its own. Women’s matches were drawing very large crowds in England at the time and only a few weeks later a headline match in Ipswich drew 3000 on its own.

The ‘Gabba’ match was well-received by the crowd. The Queensland Times described, ‘the skillful treatment of the game by these young ladies’, and noted that ‘the girls showed remarkable stamina’, and ‘evidence of keen training’.

On the day, The Reds, of North Brisbane, won by 2 goals to nil over the Blues, of South Brisbane. The Blues were captained by Miss G Wenlock.

The players’ football outfits were long socks, long-sleeved football jerseys, baggy shorts, and purpose worn football shoes. On the surface, it would appear the strips were not too different from those worn now.

A collection of photographs from the match

More Matches

We know of a handful of public matches that took place across September and October 1921, one notable match took place in Bundanba (sic) 15 October. Brisbane North played Brisbane South in a fiercely competitive match that resulted in a 2-2 draw. As headline billing on a day of curtain raisers and bands and food, it was attended by over 3000 people. The team sheets were very similar to those of the Gabba match.

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On the day, The Reds, of North Brisbane, won by 2 goals to nil over the Blues, of South Brisbane. The Blues were captained by Miss G Wenlock.

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