Tasmania’s rich footballing history will be celebrated next month, with the return of the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame Gala Dinner on Friday 21 July at Wrest Point.

Tasmanian football’s night of nights has not been held since 2018 due to COVID-19, and this year will see 11 individuals inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame, three members elevated to ‘Legend’ status and one individual elevated to ‘Icon’ status, as well as a ‘Great Club’, ‘Memorable Game’ and ‘Legendary Team’ recognised.

Between now and the event on 21 July, AFL Tasmania will be announcing the figures who will be joining the prestigious Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame.

Today, AFL Tasmania can confirm the inductions of the ‘Father of Tasmanian Football’ W.H ‘Billy’ Cundy, enormously respected player, administrator and cricketer Charles Eady and beloved modern hard-nosed cult figure Mitch Robinson.

AFL Tasmania will reveal the next group of inductees next week.

Tickets for this prestigious event are now available for purchase online here.

Since the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame’s inauguration in 2004, 317 individuals have been inducted with 48 elevated to the status of ‘Legend’ and 21 enshrined as ‘Icons’ of Tasmanian Football.

Inductee #318. W.H. ‘Billy’ Cundy

Overall Contribution Inductee

Railway, Rover/Follower/Administrator, 1879-97

  • 80 games for Railway, 1879-88
  • Railway captain, 1879-88
  • Railway TFL premierships 1881, 1882, 1883, 1887
  • Captained first South Tasmanian team vs Victorian club (Hotham), 1881
  • Captained first All-Tasmanian team vs Victorian club (Essendon), 1882
  • Captained South Tasmania in inaugural ‘North v South’ match, 1883
  • Captained first Tasmanian team to visit Victoria, 1887
  • President of Railway FC, 1889-97

Widely regarded as the ‘Father of Tasmanian Football’, William Henry Cundy was arguably the individual most responsible for Australian football becoming Tasmania’s dominant football code. Born in 1864, Cundy learned the game as a youth in Ballarat and Melbourne before moving to Hobart in 1878. Keen to continue playing in his new state, the following year Cundy helped form the Railway Football Club, largely in an attempt to grow public awareness of ‘Victorian Rules’, a code hitherto rarely played in Tasmania. He quickly became known as one of the most passionate and vocal advocates for the code’s official adoption in the state, which finally occurred at a landmark 1881 meeting of the Tasmanian Football Association, reputedly by a margin of just one vote. In 1882, the TFA officially aligned with the Victorian Football Association, and that same year Cundy was one of two Tasmanian delegates sent to Melbourne for an historic meeting of the VFA at which the code’s rules were standardised.

Cundy was at the forefront of the rapid growth in both popularity and standard of Tasmanian football for much of the next decade. Despite his young age, his brilliant leadership ability meant that he was elected to captain virtually all southern and state combinations, including the first All-Tasmanian team which played Essendon in Hobart in 1882 and the first Tasmanian colonial team to visit Victoria in 1887. Domestically, Railway became the most successful club in Hobart under Cundy’s guidance, claiming four TFA premierships in seven seasons, partially down to the fact that Cundy happened to be a truly outstanding footballer in his own right; arguably Tasmania’s first true superstar, he was noted as an exceptional mark, a long and accurate drop-kick and one of the fastest and most elusive runners with the ball ever seen.

Cundy remained involved in Tasmanian football for many years after his return to Victoria in 1889, serving as Railway’s president for nearly a decade from the mainland. He subsequently spent the rest of his life in Bendigo, captaining Sandhurst to three consecutive Bendigo Football Association premierships before retiring, and later serving as Sandhurst delegate to the BFA committee and two terms as Association President. ‘Billy’ Cundy remained a passionate football man until his death in 1935, aged 71.

Inductee #319. Charles Eady

Overall Contribution Inductee

Holebrook/TFL, Player/Administrator, 1888-1941

  • 40 games for Holebrook, 1888-93
  • 15 representative games for South Tasmania
  • Holebrook captain, 1890-93
  • Holebrook TFL premiership, 1890
  • Represented South Tasmania vs Victoria, 1893
  • TFL President, 1900-08; 1925-41

‘Charlie’ Eady was an enormously respected name in Tasmanian football circles as a player and administrator for more than 50 years. Born in 1870, Eady first played senior football at the age 17 for the Holebrook club; within three years he had become known as one of Tasmania’s finest players, regularly representing Southern Tasmania against the NTFA and numerous visiting teams from Victoria. A defender of tremendous athleticism and strength, his enormous 6’1” frame and impeccable judgement made him virtually unbeatable in the air, his prowess being such that many of the best judges of the era – most notably legendary Carlton coach Jack Worrall – regarded him as the finest defender they ever saw. Named captain of Holebrook aged 19, Eady led his team to the premiership in 1890; he kicked the match-winning goal of the premiership-deciding match against Railway, according to folklore, from the centre wing.

Unfortunately, the demise of Holebrook at the end of 1893 brought Eady’s career to a premature end, not appearing in any on-field football capacity after that date. He nevertheless continued to play a pivotal role in Tasmanian football for many years, serving two terms as TFL President totalling 26 years and many more as a committeeman, gaining a reputation as a fair-minded and impartial administrator. Notable events of his tenure include being Tasmania’s inaugural delegate to the Australian National Football Council and successfully arguing for the continuation of football in Hobart for as long as possible in spite of the economic threat posed by World War II.

Outside football, Eady was a well-known member of the Tasmanian political scene, serving as a member of the Legislative Council for 21 years. However, his real claim to fame was as one of the state’s finest-ever cricketers, touring England in 1896 and famously hitting a mammoth score of 566 in 1902, then the second-highest individual score in history. Charles Eady passed away in 1945, aged 75.

Inductee #328. Mitch Robinson

Player Inductee

Lauderdale/Tasmania Devils/Carlton/Brisbane Lions, 2006-23

AFL CAREER

  • 100 games, 58 goals for Carlton, 2009-14
  • 147 games, 71 goals for Brisbane Lions, 2015-22
  • Merrett-Murray Medal, 2015 (Brisbane Lions Best & Fairest) – Equal
  • Carlton Best & Fairest Top 10 2011 (7th), 2012 (9th)
  • Brisbane Best & Fairest Top 10 2016 (2nd), 2019 (9th)
  • International Rules representative, 2011

NON-AFL CAREER

  • 20 games, 14 goals for Lauderdale, 2006-08
  • 12 games, 4 goals for Tasmanian Devils, 2007-08
  • 11 games, 6 goals for Darwin Buffaloes (Northern Territory FL), 2022-23
  • Morningside (QAFL), 2023
  • Lauderdale Best & Fairest, 2007
  • Hunter Harrison Medal, 2008 (Best & Fairest, AFL U18 Championships – Division 2)
  • U18 All-Australian, 2008
  • Represented Northern Territory FL vs South Fremantle, 2023

A player for whom the term ‘hard nut’ seems scarcely adequate, Mitch Robinson began his football journey with Lauderdale in the state’s south, winning the club’s senior Best & Fairest as an 18-year-old. Something of a late bloomer as a junior, Robinson largely represented the Tasmania U18s as an over-ager, winning the Hunter Harrison Medal and All-Australian selection at the 2008 U18 National Championships, while also playing 11 senior VFL games for the Tasmanian Devils. He was subsequently drafted by Carlton at Pick 40, and made his senior debut in the 2009 season opener against Richmond; he looked immediately comfortable at AFL level, quickly forging a reputation as a physical player who wasn’t afraid to throw his weight around, but also one possessing fine skills and an eye for goal.

After six seasons and 100 games at Princes Park, Robinson joined the Brisbane Lions in 2015, a move which benefitted both club and player enormously. In his first year in Queensland, Robinson tied for the Merrett-Murray Medal as Lions’ Best & Fairest, his now trademark physicality in a young Lions team quickly making him a fan favourite. Robinson continued to play a vital role in the Lions development into a premiership contender under fellow Tasmanian Chris Fagan, shifting to a role as a defensive wingman; he was still as damaging as ever on occasion however, including a 30-disposal, 4-goal performance against GWS in 2021. After becoming the fourth Tasmanian to play 100 VFL/AFL games for two clubs, Robinson retired from AFL football after the 2022 season. He subsequently signed with QAFL club Morningside and has also spent time with Darwin in the NTFL, winning high praise for his on-field performance – representing the NTFL against South Fremantle – and off-field efforts in promoting the club and competition.