Football in the city of Hobart has its origins in the early 1840s, becoming formalised in the latter half of the nineteenth century when clubs first started to emerge. The club that was to become the present-day Hobart Football Club has arguably enjoyed the most colourful history of any club in Tasmania.
Prior to World War Two the dominant club in Tasmanian football was Cananore, which is indisputably the club we now know as Hobart. Both clubs have shared the same colours, ground and players. While we know that the origin of the name Hobart grew from the TFL’s desire to implement district football after WW2, the origins of the name Cananore are far more exotic.
In the nineteenth century Cannanore was the British name for a district in India that is now called by the Hindi ‘Kannur’. The district was an important port on the Arabian Sea and the British military headquarters for India’s west coast until 1887. Legend has it that one of the founders of the Cananore Football Club chose the name in the early 1900s after bringing home an incorrectly spelt name plaque from Cannanore, India, which adorned the entry to a building at which many supporters of the new club met.
In any case the name became synonymous with success and the club was home to some of Tasmania’s greatest names in football throughout the first half of the twentieth century. In the period since 1945 the name Hobart has carried on a great football tradition which is filled with tragedy and triumph. The Hobart and Cananore Football Clubs continue their journey as one of the Great Clubs of Tasmanian Football
CANANORE FOOTBALL CLUB
Home ground: Tasmanian Cricket Association Ground.
Colours: Yellow and black.
> Affiliated: TFL 1908-44.
> Premiership wins:
– Regional premierships: 1909-11, 1913, 1921-22, 1925-27, 1931, 1933.
– State premierships: 1909-11, 1913, 1921-22, 1925-27, 1931.
Other achievements of the club have been:
> William Leitch Medallists: Jack Billett 1930; Albert Collier 1931.
> George Watt Memorial Medallists: Geoff Kilmartin 1940.
> TFL top goalkickers: F. Burton (11) 1909; C. Ward (16) 1910 and (24) 1911; G. Baclernach (13) 1913; J. Brain (47) 1924 and (64) 1926; F. Ahearne (50) 1925 and (45) 1927.
> Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame Inductees: Horrie Gorringe, Jack Gardiner, Bruce Carter, Jack Charlesworth, Pat Hartnett, Fred Pringle, Allan Scott, Don Scott and Hec Smith.
> Club Legends/Notable Players: ‘Cocky’ Ahearne and Albert Collier.
HOBART FOOTBALL CLUB
Home ground: TCA Ground 1945-82 and 1998-present; King George V Park 1983-86; North Hobart Oval 1987-97.
Colours: Black and gold.
> Affiliated: TFL 1945-1997; STFL 1998-2008; Tasmanian State League from 2009.
> Premiership wins:
– TFL: 1950, 1954, 1959-60, 1963, 1966, 1973, 1980, 1990.
– SFL: 1999.
> State premierships: 1959 and 1990.
> Other premierships: TFL Statewide Cup 1980 (the only time the competition was conducted).
Other achievements of the club have been:
> William Leitch Medallists: J.D. Sullivan 1947; T.J. Leo 1957; M. Pascoe 1959; D. Sullivan 1964; B. Payne 1965 and 1966; S. Wade 1984.
> Leading goalkickers:
– TFL top goalkickers: B. Waldron (47) 1953; M. Pascoe (75) 1959 and (57) 1960; C. Smith (49) 1977; P. Courto (86) 1980; W. Fox (110) 1988; K. Robinson (76) 1993.
– SFL top goalkickers: D. Hall (88) 1999.
> Highest score:
– TFL: 31.17 (203) vs. South Launceston 15.21 (111) on 22 August 1990 at York Park.
– SFL: 36.14 (230) vs. Channel 10.6 (66) on 7 April 2000 at TCA Ground.
> Most games: 287 by D.K. ‘Kerry’ Wilson.
> Record home attendance: 8,760 on 14 June 1949 vs. New Town at TCA Ground.
> Record finals attendance: 17,111 for the 1980 grand final at North Hobart Oval: Hobart 14.9 (93) vs. Glenorchy 7.16 (58).
OFFICIAL BEST TEAM 1947 to 2002
Backs: John Emin, Jamie Shanahan, Neville Legro.
Half Backs: ‘Paddy’ Williams, Alan Appleton, Len Commane.
Centres: John Golding, Ian Stewart, David Sullivan.
Half Forwards: Paul Sproule (captain), Arthur Cole, Kerry Wilson.
Forwards: ‘Bill’ Williams, Paul Courto, Trevor Leo.
1st Ruck: Mal Pascoe, Dennis Powell, Burnie Payne.
Interchange: Scott Wade, Malcolm Bugg, Peter Ratcliffe, Geoff Keogh, Stephen Gilbee, Brenton Tapp, Mark Browning, Martin Free, Wayne Petterd.
Coach: Paul Sproule.
> Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame Inductees: Scott Clayton, Noel Atkins, Don Gale, Trevor Leo, Burnie Payne, Ian Stewart, Scott Wade, Paul Sproule, Alastair Lynch, Garth Smith, Wayne Fox, Chris Fagan, Jamie Shanahan, Kevin Bailey, Matthew Armstrong, and Paul Hudson.
> Club Legends/Notable Players: Alan Appleton, Mark Browning, Craig Hoyer, Ron McGowan, Mal Pascoe, Dennis Powell and John Watts.
HOBART/CANANORE CLUB HISTORY
Cananore the great!
Cananore Football Club competed in the southern-based Tasmanian Football League between 1908 and 1941. The name Cananore is linked to the suburb of West Hobart. They were known as the Canaries and wore yellow and black as club colours. Cananore played their home games mostly at the TCA Ground and were state premiers on ten occasions, making them the most successful Tasmanian club of their era.
Having begun life as a junior club in 1901, Cananore was promoted to the senior TFL competition in 1908. Despite losing every game in its debut season Cananore was not disgraced, and in 1909, with Tasmania’s legendary coach Bruce Carter at the helm, it annexed the local premiership and the first state flag with victory over Launceston at Hobart. The Canaries added further successive local and state premierships in 1910 and 1911, as well as providing the nucleus of Tasmania’s 1911 National Carnival side.
The year 1914 was significant for the debut of one of Tasmania’s greatest footballers, Horrie Gorringe. Possessed of blinding pace and impeccable disposal skills, Gorringe spent his entire playing career–which lasted thirteen seasons–at Cananore, and represented Tasmania with distinction at the 1924 and 1927 National Carnivals.
The 1920s proved to be the most successful period for Cananore as they won both local and state premierships in 1921-22 and 1925-27. The 1925 combination was one of the strongest in Tasmanian football history. Prior to the TFL finals the Canaries played a challenge match against Port Adelaide and won with ease, 31.30 (216) to 5.8 (38). Both the local and state grand finals were won in similarly emphatic fashion against North Hobart and North Launceston.
With Collingwood champion Albert Collier coaching the side, Cananore enjoyed a remarkable 1931. Facing off with North Hobart in the grand final the scores were deadlocked on 9.12 (66) apiece at the end. The replay saw Cananore finally edge home by three points before scoring an even harder fought one-point win over North Launceston to secure the state title.
In 1933 Cananore again overcame North Hobart to secure what would be the club’s last senior flag. There was to be ignominy mixed with the triumph, however, as the Canaries became the first TFL premier to lose a state premiership decider against Launceston on southern soil.
Due to the Second World War the TFL was forced to suspend operations in 1942. When the competition resumed three years later the new district structure meant that Cananore, without a discrete district name and basis, were excluded.
Cananore’s players predominately resumed in 1945 with the new ‘district’ club called Hobart. The black and gold colours and the base at the TCA Ground also live on with the Tigers.
From the ashes rise Hobart
Hobart’s first season in the TFL in 1945 coincided with the re-organisation of the league along district lines. Hobart and Sandy Bay replaced Cananore and Lefroy and joined established clubs New Town and North Hobart in forming a four team competition which expanded to six clubs with the admission of Clarence and New Norfolk two seasons later.
The Tigers reached the grand final for the first time in 1947, losing to North Hobart. Two years later they were again on the wrong side of the ledger, this time against New Town, but in 1950 they turned the tables on the Magpies with a narrow win for their first title.
Hobart played off for the flag on average every other season during the 1950s, winning three times and losing twice. The 1959 season was particularly noteworthy in that the Tigers held TFL grand final opponents New Norfolk to a miserly total before going on to win the state premiership for the first and only time. The following season saw back-to-back regional premierships procured for the only time in the club’s history. This era was also renowned throughout Tasmania as the time of Hobart’s famous three P’s: Mal Pascoe, Dennis Powell and Burnie Payne. They formed a ruck combination that was one of the best in Tasmania for the best part of a decade.
Hobart’s 1960 premiership victory was emulated in each of the club’s next four grand final appearances, the last of which, in 1980, coincided with a memorable victory over Clarence in the grand final of the first ever statewide premiership, which was played as an adjunct to the TFL’s, NTFA’s and NWFU’s regular competitions. The 1973 triumph was also a memorable achievement and that team has been inducted into Tasmanian football’s Hall of Fame for their giant-killing effort to win the TFL title from fourth position against the previously undefeated Sandy Bay.
When the TFL itself embarked on the road toward becoming a statewide competition in 1986 Hobart’s involvement was taken for granted. The side reached a grand final in 1989, losing to North Hobart, but won comfortably in 1990 against North Launceston. The Tigers were still a force as late as 1992, reaching the grand final only to succumb once more to an all-conquering North Hobart combination. The club was brilliantly coached by ex-Sydney Swans star, Mark Browning, during what was to be the last golden period for the Tigers.
In the mid-1990s harder times overwhelmed Hobart and they had to return to regional football for 11 years. They did enjoy some success in 1999 when they scored a comfortable premiership win against Brighton, thus proving that the Tiger passion still burned.
The Hobart Football Club was invited to join the new Tasmanian State League in its inaugural year in 2009 and is looking forward to a brighter future. That promise along with the Tigers record of great players, memorable premierships and a history intertwined with that of Cananore ensures this great club will rise phoenix-like for the second time in its 100+ year journey in Tasmanian football.
Cananore: the Tasmanian coaching coup of the century
Tasmanian football clubs have pulled off some great coaching appointments over the course of nearly 150 years of football. Many of the names are recognised at the highest levels of the game nationally, including Roy Cazaly, Ivor Warne-Smith, Frank ‘Checker’ Hughes and John Devine.
Arguably, however, the greatest coaching coup of all was achieved by Cananore prior to the 1931 TFL season when they secured the services of Brownlow Medallist and Collingwood’s quadruple premiership player, Albert Collier.
At 23 years old Albert Collier was renowned as the lion-hearted Collingwood superstar of the 1920s and 1930s, and his mere presence helped yield record attendances and gate receipts for the league at a time when the nation was in the grip of the great economic depression.
Collier’s nickname was ‘Leeter’, believed to be a derivation of ‘leader’ at the time. The Canaries needed all the leadership that Collier could muster to register their most heart-stopping TFL and state final premierships.
In the TFL decider of 1931 against North Hobart the teams played the only draw in the history of Tasmanian grand finals: Cananore 9.12 (66) vs. North Hobart 9.12 (66). In the replay the two teams were bound for another draw, with the Black and Golds eventually prevailing by three points in a controversial finish: Cananore 8.9 (57) vs. North Hobart 7.12 (54).
The state final saw North Launceston throw everything at Cananore, but again the Canaries prevailed by the barest of margins to lift their tenth Tasmanian flag: Cananore 7.7 (49) vs. North Launceston 7.6 (48).
Albert Collier was rewarded for a dominating season with the 1931 William Leitch Medal to go alongside his 1929 Brownlow.
Collier coached Cananore again in 1932 but the team could not repeat the heroics of 1931. In 1933 Albert Collier resumed his long and illustrious career at the highest level in Victoria with Collingwood and then Fitzroy. He was a member of the Magpies’ 1935 and 1936 VFL premiership teams.
Hobart: giant killers of southern Tasmanian football
The Hobart Tigers entered the 1973 TFL grand final as a rank outsider in nearly every pundit’s eyes. They were up against the Rod Olsson-led Sandy Bay Seagulls who were the hottest favourites in TFL history. The Seagulls had defeated Hobart on all four occasions that they had met in the roster, including an 85-point hiding in round 18. They were dual reigning premiers and had easily progressed into the grand final, having not lost a game during the season to date. Put simply, the Seagulls looked unstoppable for their third successive premiership.
The Tigers were led by the dynamic duo of coach Alan Appleton–a hero of their great era under Mal Pascoe in the early 1960s–and small and dynamic midfielder, Malcolm Bugg, who had come to the club from Wynyard and enjoyed his greatest season when elevated to the captaincy mid-year.
The Tigers’ year was best described by one word: inconsistent. They fell over the line to make the finals by four points ahead of New Norfolk who had a superior percentage. They were 12 wins adrift of the Seagulls at the top of the ladder. Incredibly, the Tigers had not won a game at North Hobart Oval for the year as they fronted for the first semi against Clarence. Even more surprisingly, they managed to overcome the favoured Roos with literally the last kick of the game, a goal to veteran forward Kerry Wilson.
The preliminary final was Hobart’s best effort for the season as they cruised past Glenorchy to earn a spot in their first grand final for seven years. The grand final began with Sandy Bay and Hobart going goal for goal, and by three quarter time the Tigers led by six points and appeared to be gaining the ascendency. The final challenge for the Tigers would be to run the game out after a gruelling finals campaign. Despite the odds the mighty Hobart of ’73 went away from the Bay in the final half of the quarter to score the upset of the century by a clear margin.
The Hobart team’s achievement in 1973 was the stuff of legend at the time and the Tigers will forever be considered the giant killers of senior football from Southern Tasmania. The club’s achievement in 1973 was recognised with induction into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame as a special category in 2009.
TFL Grand Final, 15 September 1973, North Hobart Oval
Hobart 2.3 5.7 8.11 11.19 (85)
Sandy Bay 3.0 4.2 8.5 10.5 (65)
GOALS – Hobart: S. Gay 3, G. Barnett 3, K. Wilson, T. O’Rourke, D. Watkins, J. Howard, M. Krause. Sandy Bay: R. Adams 3, M. Elliott 2, V. DeVenuto 2, N. Styles, J. Gallus, N. Ricketts.
BEST – Hobart: M. Bugg, K. Williams, S. Gay, J. Howard, D. Bishop, K. Wilson. Sandy Bay: D. Morrison, C. Rae, R. Olsson, N. Styles, M. Steele, J. Gallus.
Umpire: D. Blew
Coach: Alan Appleton.
Backs: R. Clarke, P. Ratcliffe, P. Martyn.
Half Backs: D. Bishop, K. Luxmore, M. Williams.
Centres: J. Howard, M. Bugg, I. Sullivan.
Half Forwards: S. Gay, K. Wilson, T. O’Rourke.
Forwards: M. Krause, M. Dickson, G. Barnett.
Followers: K. Williams, P. Reid, D. Watkins.
Reserves: M. Free, T. Werchon.