President - Frank Grey Smith
Vice Presidents - Charles Forrester, James Byrne, Henry Harrison, Fred Baker
Secretary - Harry Carr
Treasurer - William Boys
Committee - Dave Rannard, Arthur Hunt
Second Twenty secretary - JC Allen
Captain - Murdoch McKenzie
Vice-Captain - James Morris
Second Twenty captain - Archibald Douglas
Second Twenty secretary - Marshall
Leading goalscorer - Billy Stiffe (18)

Following on from a terrible 1882 campaign, their worst ever, Melbourne's committee, secretary and captain came in from criticism from a member at the AGM for not blooding new players. Vice-President Henry Harrison insisted that it had more to do with the club members not practicing enough or playing scratch matches. The member later wrote to the papers to claim he didn't mention the secretary but was standing behind his comments about the committee and captain. After the AGM Dave Rannard resigned as captain.

Regardless of the support from Harrison, EW. Longden stepped down as secretary as he was leaving the colony and H. Carr was appointed in his place. The club resolved that as a compromise a match committee should be appointed to deal with selection. The committee consisted of Thewlis, Charles Power, Lamrock, Sloman and Anthony.

The club was unhappy with the condition of their ground, offering the council to pay the 200 to 500 pound cost of dressing the ground and converting it from wilderness into level ground. They were rejected on the grounds that it would give the club a vested interest in the venue when the council may require it for their own use at any time.

Before the season a match between the first 20 and second 25 showed the teams as -

First 20
G. Aitken, Aitken, Booth, Bower, Champion, Dunn, De Little, Gregory, Hamilton, Lewers, Ley, McDonald, McKenzie, McIntyre, A. Morris, Murphy, Nicholas, Pohlman, Patterson, Robertson, Stiffe, Tindale, Tuckfield, Ullbrick

Second 25
Brayshay, Cohen, Dally, Douglas, Dowdie, Duncan, Graham, Halford, Heath, Healy, Jones, Kerrigan (three), Lamrock, Lewers, Marshall, McKnight, McGivern, Pearson, Price, Preston, Power, Robertson, Sloman, Strachan, Taylor, Trapp, Thewlis, Trengonning.

As part of their new commitment to practice and scratch matches, the club played its first intra-club game of the year on Saturday 7 April, with two more over the next two Saturdays. They had also a number of new players, with F. Pohlman, Archie McIntyre, Henry Champion, George Strachan, A. Tuckfield and Bowen joining from the defunct East Melbourne club, Bertie Collins and Atkins from Geelong, Arthur Ley and Franks from Hotham, Cunningham from Toorak, Gregory from Benalla, John Rickards and E. Murphy from Carlton, Lewers from Sandhurst and both Plant and Corben from Northcote were also newcomers to the side.

A major rule change was to give a free kick against players who deliberately kicked the ball out of bounds. A proposal to replaces halves with quarters was not yet adopted. For the first time central umpires were paid for their appearance. The association decided that clubs had to have 80 members to join the competition.

The new faces and extra practice seemed to have an effect as Melbourne won several early VFA matches. With only six senior clubs playing in the competition results started to turn against them as the year went on, but it was a much improved year for the first twenty - winning 12 matches, lossing 10 and drawing two with 67 goals for and 59 against.

The Australasian newspaper named Murdoch McKenzie and A. Tuckfield amongst their best players of the season. Archie McIntyre) and F. Plant were in the best followers, John Macdonald the best backs, Billy Stiffe the forwards, Bob Booth the centres, A. Tuckfield and E. Sloman the wings.

At the end of the year the club had 190 members and a balance of 37p in the bank on proceeds of 321p. Henry Harrison was named the first life member of the club at the end of the season.

Geelong won the premiership again, with South Melbourne the best side in the city.

At the first Intercolonial Football Conference, held in November, motions were defeated to add a crossbar (by Tasmania) and to abolish pushing from behind (by Queensland).

VFA matches

12 May Essendon LOSS
26 May South Melbourne WIN
2 June Carlton LOSS
9 June Hotham WIN
16 June South Melbourne WIN
23 June Ballarat WIN
30 June Geelong DRAW
7 July Essendon LOSS
14 July Ballarat WIN
21 July South Melbourne WIN
28 July Carlton WIN
4 August Essendon LOSS
11 August Geelong LOSS
18 August Hotham LOSS
1 September Carlton WIN
8 September Hotham WIN
15 September Geelong LOSS
22 September South Melbourne LOSS
29 September Carlton LOSS

Other matches

28 April Public Schools WIN
5 May Waverley WIN
19 May South Yarra LOSS
2 July Port Adelaide WIN
25 August Williamstown DRAW


William Abernethy, George Aitken, Norcott Atkins, Charles Baker, Barnard, Bob Booth, Bower, William Boys, David Brayshay, Harry Carr, Henry Champion, Bertie Collins, Frank Conway, Corben, P. Cunningham, J. Doran, Duncan, Gregory, W. Henderson, William Jones, Kirkpatrick, Sam Lamrock, Richard Lewers, Arthur Ley, Murray MacGregor, John Macdonald, Archie McIntyre, Murdoch McKenzie, A. Morris, James Morris, Moss, B. Murphy, Ed Murphy, Dana Murphy, E. Nicholas, Patterson, Pip, Fred Plant, Fred Pohlman, Porter, Charles Power, Herb Power, Propsting, Dave Rannard, John Rickards, W. Robertson, Dick Robinson, Henry Rush, E. Sloman, Billy Stiffe, George Strachan, Sam Thewlis, A. Tuckfield, John Ulbrick, T. Walsh


18 Billy Stiffe
9 John Rickards
5 George Aitken
4 Sloman, Archie McIntyre
3 Bertie Collins, Harry Carr, Fred Plant
2 Bob Booth, John Ulbrick, Frank Conway, Patterson, Propsting
1 Murdoch McKenzie, Arthur Ley, P. Cunningham, John Macdonald, A. Tuckfield, Robertson, Duncan, Henry Rush, Murphy (one of three)

Second 20

18 846

The second twenty were the premier side of Victoria.

28 April Osborne LOSS0.8 - 1.10
5 May Hotham DRAW 1-1
12 May Essendon WIN2.15 to 1.9 Mason, Macgregor
19 May Toorak LOSS0.0 to 3.11
26 May South Melbourne UNKNOWN ?
2 June Scotch College WIN 1.10 to 0.9 Duncan. Scotch played with 23
9 June Sandhurst Association LOSS0.0 - 3.10
16 June Essendon WIN2.11 to 0.8 Propsting, Marshall
23 June Brighton ? ?
30 June Williamstown Juniors LOSS0.9 - 1.8 MFC played with 15 against 20
7 July Hotham DRAW1.1 to 1.18 Ashmore
14 July Toorak LOSS 3.9 - 6.12 Plant, Propsting, Walsh
21 July South Melbourne WIN3.20 - 1.7 Macgregor 2, Dally 1
28 July Carlton WIN3.5 to 2.7 McGivern, Macgregor 2
4 August Essendon DRAW1.1 - 1.20 Allen - MFC played with 17 against 20
11 August Geelong WIN1.6 - 0.3 McLeod
8 September Hotham DRAW2.8 - 2.6
15 September Geelong LOSS1.1 - 2.15


  • A match scheduled against Northcote on 5 May was replaced by the game against Waverley, and sgame against Richmond on 23 June and 14 July were replaced by matches against Ballarat.
  • Matches scheduled against Richmond for 23/06/1883 and 14/07/1883 did not occur and were replaced by two games against Ballarat. This may have been an error in the published schedule.
  • Carlton claimed the 28 July seconds match was a draw due to a disputed goal
  • In addition to Second 20 games, there is also reports of Melbourne Juniors losing 2-0 to Hotham on 23/06/1883 and drawing with Britannia 2-2 on 01/09/1883
  • Some sources say the 4 August seconds game was a win of 1.1 - 0.14

Argus - 09/04/1883
Argus - 11/04/1883
Argus - 14/04/1883
Argus - 21/04/1883
Sydney Mail - 02/06/1883
Sydney Morning Herald - 03/09/1883
Weekly Times - 15/09/1883
Age - 03/11/1883
Australasian - 05/04/1884
Argus - 11/04/1884
Australasian - 14/04/1884
Otago Witness - 21/04/1884

Blueseum - 1883
VFA results and tables - 1883

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Tuesday 06 February 2024 17:46:04 AEDT by Supermercado. (Version 66)

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