An Old Trinity team entered the Victorian Amateur Football Association in the early part of the twentieth century. At one stage Old Trinity joined with an Old Haileybury team, however the association with Old Haileybury lasted only a few years before Old Haileybury continued in the VAFA on its own. It was not until 1954 that the Club as we know it today was formed.
It took E.J. (John) Weatherson nearly as long to form the Old Trinity Grammarians Amateur Football Club as it was subsequently to take the Club to move itself from E Section to A Section in the Amateur competition. John, husband of Joan (now Joan Martin) and father of Neil, Linda and Lisa, first held discussions directed towards the formation of an old boys’ football club in 1947, two years after he left Trinity Grammar School. However,the lack of a ground meant that it was not until 1953 that the formation of the Club was assured.
In late 1953 the VAFA approved a ground at Yarra Bend for the team to play in its newly formed E Section competition.
The inaugural meeting of the Old Trinity Grammarians’ Amateur Football Club was held at Trinity Grammar School on 10 May, 1954 – at 8.00 a.m.! The convener was John Weatherson. No one connected with the Club could fail to have had contact with the Weatherson family, notwithstanding that the history of the Club now extends over 50 years. In the 60s John would still be serving the Club as President and committeeman, and as the Firsts goal umpire. In 1968 the award for the Firsts Best and Fairest player became a perpetual trophy named after John. John’s son, Neil, has also been closely involved with the Club since the 1970’s, including playing 40 games. He is perhaps best known for his gourmet meals at the Club’s home game lunches at Bulleen. Three of John’s grandsons have now also played for the Club, extending the Weatherson family’s involvement into a third generation.
George Dwyer was the other driving force behind the establishment of the Club and its admission to Amateur ranks. The dedication of John and George, and a number of committed helpers, in those early years meant that the Club survived where others failed. Even South Melbourne City which was to win the 1954 E Section Premiership was unable to sustain itself and ultimately disappeared. Bruce Wardrop, also a member of the inaugural committee, has no doubt that the spirit they engendered not only ensured the Club’s survival, but became a key ingredient in its later success.
The other members of the inaugural committee were Ian Robertson, John Menzies, Jock Herbert, Arthur Batson, and Bruce Heard. Apologies were received from Alfred Bright, the then headmaster of the school, and John Johnstone. Mr Bright had agreed to be the Club’s first Honorary President.
Arthur Batson was elected the first Deputy Chairman, a position he held for the first four years. Arthur was to become synonymous with the junior school and a much loved and revered teacher of over 40 years service to the school. Much the same can be said for Jock Herbert in relation to the senior school. Jock was appointed to be the coach of the team for the first season. One theme which permeates the history of the Club is the close association of the Club with teachers from Trinity Grammar School. In addition to Arthur Batson and Jock Herbert, significant contributions were made by George Wood, Derek Philips and Ian Monro. George, who was present at the 2010 reunion, was privileged to play in the Club’s first game “to make up the numbers”. By his own account, the team had sufficient numbers without his presence for the next match they played and he was able to become the first member of the Club to hang up his boots.
Armed with the knowledge that it would cost of the order of £150 ($2,408 in inflation adjusted terms today) to finance the team for the first season, the Committee set the annual subscription at £1. The Committee also authorised various expenditures, including an account with the Melbourne Sports Depot of £7/6/5 for footballs and sundry equipment. For those not familiar with real money, this represents 7 pounds, 6 shillings and 5 pence; or, in decimal terms $14.64 (or $117.53 in inflation adjusted terms). The Old Trinity Grammarians Association was also a strong supporter of the Club and provided a loan of £60 to assist the Club to become established.
The Club’s first registered players
A.J. Adgemis, D.L. Bates, G.H. Brown, J.A. Burke, J.L. Carey, G.H. Dwyer, K. Emmett, M.E. Hagger, C.H. Harkin, M.H. Harkin, B.H.R. Heard, J.P. Herbert, M. Howsom, J.H. Johnstone, E.T.P. Kaan, H.Qwong, D.R.A. Latchford, N.M. Macaulay, J.R. Menzies B. Roberts, I.G. Robertson (VC), R. M. Robison, P.H. Seymore, J.N. Taylor, J.R. Turner, B.L. Wardrop, E.J. Weatherson (C), I.F.H. Wilson, S. Wong, G.A. Wood, J.R. Woods.
John Weatherson was the Club’s first captain, with Ian Robertson his deputy. The first game was lost to Old Geelong Grammar 19-22-136 to 2-2-14.
The second game was forfeited due to lack of numbers, and it was not until the third game that the Club was able to field a full team for the first time. In the seventh game Trinity recorded its first win defeating ISCA 12-15-87 to 4-6-30.
The minutes for the early meetings of the Committee canvass the same matters which still beset all amateur clubs; how to raise money and how to ensure there are sufficient players and officials week to week to avoid forfeits and fines.
At the end of the first season, South Melbourne City were premiers. Old Trinity finished in seventh position (out of nine) having won four games, drawn one and lost eleven. But it had proved itself competitive, and had survived. Two trophies were awarded; Max Robison received the most consistent player award and Bruce Heard the most improved player. Letters were sent to the school thanking it for the use of the oval and the changing rooms and to Mr John Watson for the use of his classroom in the junior school for committee meetings.