The following is a detailed version about how the South Morang Football Club was formed by foundation player and committee man Fred Jewell who also won the clubs Best & Fairest in its inaugural year.
In 1954-55 there were 3 guys playing U/18`s at EPPING FC. At the end of the 1955 season there was little or no opportunity to play seniors there as they had a large amount of senior players. Hence one night in the bar of the Commercial Hotel South Morang the talk was all about forming a team at South Morang. Publican Alf Dwyerput his hand up to be President, Alby Black for Treasurer, Bert Haddrell for Secretary and Bob Bennett for Coach. The committee consisted of Jim McQuire, Gordon Jewell, Fred Jewell and Bob Bennett.
A meeting was held the following week to get permission to convert the recreation ground (Plenty Road) into a football ground which was granted. The working bees commenced mowing and raking the 3 foot high dead grass with borrowed equipment from Fred Hanlon (snr) Then came change rooms in the corner of the recreation ground, near the road was a small hall that the community used for Euchre nights. We then gained permission to use the hall as change rooms with a tarp across the centre to divide visitors from home team.
Back to working bee`s (showers) Gordon Jewell built a heater from 2x 44 gallon drums, 1 for a fire box with pipes inside and 1 for hot water storage with 1 shower connected. Timber duck boards were laid with a wall around the area. On wet days the mud would come through the boards (when showering you didn’t bother washing your feet as they always finished up muddy)
The decision was made to join the Diamond Valley Football League because of the extra travelling in the Panton Hill League. Then came the team with 4 players from South Morang, we recruited 7 players that had never played competitive football and 2 players Fred McWilliams and John Turner from retirement (total 13) with Bob Bennett and a couple of others we recruited players from Bundoora and Preston area to fill the team and I believe we never played short of a player. The workers had trouble marking the boundary line size as all the grounds were different, so we settled on the size of the Preston Oval. Goal posts were cut from straight saplings available from the South Morang Gorge, this completed the ground to this stage.
We played a couple of games on the ground, then the winter rain came and rendered the ground unplayable.
We then played on the picnic ground behind the Pub. We changed in the dance hall and used the toilets at the pub. The gum tree in the forward pocket did concern the opposition but nobody ever ran into it.
After drainage work in 1957, on the top wing to try and stop the run off coming down from the local Butcher (Smith & McBride families) we played a few games before winter rains arrived then had to revert back to the picnic ground under the coaching of Lloyd Murray-Lee. During 1957, the 1st stage of the Alby Black Pavilion was built along with a canteen at the end ( All done with acquired materials and many working bees) A good supporter had a beach shack at Point Wilson on MMBW ground which had to be removed. Another working bee- 2 car loads of us went to Point Wilson to demolish the shack, Les Milton new someone with a semi-trailer that carted to Geelong so he loaded the timber and iron, the material was to build the scoreboard and time keepers box which stood until the mid-80`s when the council demolished it and built a new one closed to the rooms.
In 1957-1958, we approached players from Clifton Brick Co which were John Black, Ron McGougan, Russell Augustus and from Preston Arthur Griffin, Graham Gibson, Bob Miller and Alan Stickland.
In 1959-1960 the DVFL (now NFL) made a ruling that all clubs had to have junior football teams. Due to no players available in South Morang, the efforts of Col Dyson and Bob Bennett from Bundoora who had no senior teams but juniors only. So we amalgamated and renamed the MORANG-BUNDOORA FOOTBALL CLUB. Around the early 60`s Bundoora formed a senior club and wanted the juniors back hence SOUTH MORANG reverted back to original name and signed up junior players.
FootnoteThe SMFC are greatly indebted to Fred Jewell and all those people who were the pioneers of what is now one of the biggest football clubs in Australia. Fred and his lovely wife Maureen came up from Portarlington for our Legends of Plenty Road Mid-Season Ball and proudly presented Club Legend John Black with his award on the night. On that night he handed me this account of the SMFC`s foundation and said he thoroughly enjoyed the night and felt chuffed that from such humble beginnings the club had survived and now thriving. He did point out to me on the night that perhaps we had the wrong year we were established on our logo. Sadly Fred’s health has suffered in recent times and I sure all SMFC people wish him all the very best and sincerely thank him for documenting his version of our foundation