Alex McCracken

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Alex McCracken (died 25 August 1915) was the first president of the Victorian Football League.[1][2]

He was also the first secretary of the Essendon Football Club, when he was seventeen years old.{The Stopover that Stayed, Grant Aldous.} The head of McCracken Breweries,[3] he was elected as the first VFL President at a meeting at the Port Phillip Club Hotel on 12 April 1897.[4]

His brother John became Essendon's first team captain. His nephew Coiler (also sometimes referred to as 'Colyer') became Essendon's second captain. His father Robert was Essendon's first president. He has been named as one of the 16 "Legends of the Essendon Football Club".[5] The Essendon football Club's early players were mainly horsemen rather than cricketers. In fact one of its players rode a winner at Moonee Valley before turning up to a game. Whether as a cause or a result, the club was refused the use of Windy Hill and played its first few seasons (probably near Filson St) on Robert McCracken's "Ailsa".(Later Mercy College and from 2011, a Scientology centre.) When seeking admittance to the V.F.A. they had to move to the East Melbourne Ground. Alexander was patron and/or founder of an incredible number of sporting or cultural organisations in the Essendon area.(The Stopover that Stayed, Grant Aldous) He built a mansion home called "North Park", now the Columban Mission, on the south side of Woodland St, Essendon. This area was originally gazetted as Hawstead and now known as Glenbervie. The house was built on the site of an earlier home called "North Park" built by Dugald McPhail. (The Fine Homes of Essendon and Flemington, 1846–1880, Lenore Frost (ed).) Alexander had a country estate called "Cumberland" and it was, with the Inverness Hotel and Alister Clark's "Glenara", a venue for after hunt celebrations until the Oaklands Hunt Club bought "Sherwood" in Somerton Rd. After Alexander's death, the Johnsons of "Glendewar", across the creek from "Cumberland" moved into Alexander's property. Unfortunately the beautiful house was later destroyed by fire; the granite remains can be seen in Woodlands Historic Park. Coincidentally, "Cumberland" was granted to an early overlander Thomas Wills, an uncle of the founder of Australian Rules Football (Tom Wills) and the father of the game, who codified the rules in 1866 (Harrison). (Sources: The Oaklands Hunt, D.F.Cameron-Kennedy; Running With The Ball, A?.Mancini.)

Alexander McCracken married Mary Elizabeth, a daughter of John Murray Peck,[6] co-founder of Cobb and Co. who served as Vice President of Essendon Football Club.[7]


  1. ^ 100 Years of Australian football. Penguin Books. 1996. p. 87. ISBN 0-14-026969-X. 
  2. ^ "DEATH OF MR. A. McCRACKEN.". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 26 August 1915. p. 6. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Heritage Register
  4. ^ 100 Years of Australian football. Penguin Books. 1996. p. 38. ISBN 0-14-026969-X. 
  5. ^ Sheedy to become legend of Essendon Football Club
  6. ^ "Family Notices.". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 27 September 1884. p. 1. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Memoirs of A Stockman, H.H.Peck