FOUNDED IN 1868
PREMIERSHIPS: 1936, 1960, 1961, 1966, 1995, 1997
KYNETON Football Club has links to the very early foundation years of Australian football way back in the early 1860s.
It has been said that Kyneton was the Victorian town where the first organized regional football match was contested, although other records indicate that a game was played at Castlemaine in June 1859.
What is known, however, is that an organized match did take place in Kyneton in the very early 1860s.
One of the fundamental basics of early Aussie rules footy was that the team captains would act as the referees. That was the case for the Kyneton match.
Each team comprised an amazing tally of 42 men. The dimensions of the “oval” were staggering.
The playing surface stretched from a spot close to the present Kyneton railway station to the Showgrounds: some 1.5 km in length.
No wonder there were 84 players involved.
The game was played on one weekend with players from one team wearing waistcoats and the other side clad in shirts. That was the distinguishing feature between the two teams.
A formal competition was established in 1868. Ballarat’s started in 1869 and Castlemaine’s in 1871.
As with other early football associations the Kyneton body was forced to conduct its own affairs until the foundation of the Victorian Football Association in 1877.
The VFL, the forerunner of today’s AFL, did not get under way for another 20 years. It wasn’t until 1897, in fact, that Australian football’s peak body was founded.
Football obviously flourished in Kyneton because there were two competitions — a senior Saturday competition and a minor Wednesday one.
Shops and businesses were open for trading on Saturdays with Wednesdays set aside for half-holidays. This was the case across the state at that time, with many players for Bendigo’s Wednesday afternoon competitions arriving from the mines in horse-drawn cabs.
Quite a few of these miners got changed in the cab on their way to the ground.
In Kyneton’s Saturday grade competing teams included Lauriston, Malmsbury, Trentham, Collegians, Rainbows and of course, Kyneton.
On Wednesdays teams including Half-Holidays, South Stars, C.Y.M.S, East Trentham, West End and Kyneton Rovers participated.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that the Showgrounds Oval came into being. It was re-constructed in 1931.
This was an important year in central Victorian football. The Great Depression was just starting to bite and Castlemaine withdrew from the BFL.
The core players who remained with the club combined with players from the Castlemaine club competing in the Midland Football League and adopted Collingwood’s black and white striped colours.
Also contesting the Midland F.L. were Malmsbury, Trentham, Kyneton CYMS, Collegians (the other Kyneton club) and the Foundry club, comprised of players from the Thompson’s Foundry in the Maine.
Kyneton CYMS accounted for the Magpies in the first semi-final at the Showgrounds.
Castlemaine rejoined the BFL in 1932. Kyneton and Collegians, great rivals in the early years of footy, actually both disbanded before amalgamating under the “Kyneton” name to also join the Bendigo Football League in 1932.
With Maryborough also fielding a team, the BFL now had an eight-club structure.