Championship of Australia

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Championship of Australia
Championship of Australia 1971 Adelaide Oval Hawthorn North Adelaide.jpg
Organising body Australian National Football Council
Founded 1888; 129 years ago (1888)
Abolished 1976; 41 years ago (1976)
Region Australia
Number of teams 2-4
Related competitions VFL, SANFL, WAFL, TFL
Last champions North Melbourne (1975)
Most successful club(s) Port Adelaide (4 titles)

The Championship of Australia was an Australian rules football tournament which was contested between football clubs from the Victorian, South Australian, West Australian and Tasmanian football leagues. The Championship took place three times in the 19th century and then from 1907 to 1914 with the exception of 1912 and every year from 1968 to 1975. All but two of the Championships were played in Adelaide and all of them occurred after the respective league seasons had ended.[1] The 1975 Championship of Australia was the last edition of the competition with the 1976 NFL Championship replacing the format, albeit for only one year with VFL clubs.


The first group of Club Championships were between the Victorian Football Association and South Australian Football Association premiers while from 1907 until 1914, the final competition for 54 years, it was contested between the premiers of the VFL and SAFL. Port Adelaide were champions a record four times during this period. The inaugural Championship was a best of three game series but all future tournaments were decided by a Grand Final.

In 1968 the Championship returned under the same format but the Australian National Football Council refused to grant it official status as a team from Western Australia and Tasmania were not competing and it thus couldn't be referred to as a Championship of 'Australia'. Both state's premiers joined the tournament from 1972 onwards to make it a four club championship. For Tasmania, it was the premier of the Tasmanian State Premiership that was invited to the Championship – except in 1974, when no state premiership was held and a composite team of players from the premier clubs of the various Tasmanian leagues took part. VFL clubs won every Championship from 1968, except in 1972 when South Australia's North Adelaide Football Club upset Victoria's Carlton Football Club to win by a point.[2]

In 1976, the National Football League abandoned the post-season Championship of Australia concept by establishing the NFL Night Series. It was contested on weekday nights concurrently with the 1976 premiership season by twelve clubs – five from the VFL, four from the SANFL and three from the WAFL – who qualified based on their 1975 positions. It is sometimes seen as a natural extension of the Championship of Australia.

Champions by year (1888–1914, 1968–75)[edit]

Year Champion Score Runner-up Score Venue
1888 Norwood Jumper Design.png Norwood 8.12 (8) SouthMelbourneDesign.png South Melbourne 4.10 (4) Kensington Oval
6.8 (6) 2.11 (2)
6.4 (6) 4.15 (4)
1890 Port Adelaide SANFL Icon.jpg Port Adelaide 7.10 (7) SouthMelbourneDesign.png South Melbourne 6.13 (13) Adelaide Oval
1893 EssendonDesign.svg Essendon 10.23 (10) South Adelaide Panthers design.png South Adelaide 3.6 (3) Victoria Park
1896 AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg Collingwood 8.5 (53) South Adelaide Panthers design.png South Adelaide 6.4 (40) Adelaide Oval
1907 Norwood Jumper Design.png Norwood 13.12 (90) CarltonDesign.png Carlton 8.10 (58) Adelaide Oval
1908 EssendonDesign.svg West Adelaide 12.9 (81) CarltonDesign.png Carlton 7.10 (52) Adelaide Oval
1909 SouthMelbourneDesign.png South Melbourne 11.8 (74) EssendonDesign.svg West Adelaide 7.14 (56) MCG
1910 Port Adelaide SANFL Icon.jpg Port Adelaide 15.20 (110) AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg Collingwood 7.9 (51) Adelaide Oval
1911 EssendonDesign.svg West Adelaide 8.9 (57) EssendonDesign.svg Essendon 7.12 (54) Adelaide Oval
1913 Port Adelaide SANFL Icon.jpg Port Adelaide 13.16 (94) FitzroyDesign.jpg Fitzroy 4.7 (31) Adelaide Oval
1914 Port Adelaide SANFL Icon.jpg Port Adelaide 9.16 (70) CarltonDesign.png Carlton 5.6 (36) Adelaide Oval
1968 CarltonDesign.png Carlton 13.15 (93) Sturt Football Club design.png Sturt 6.20 (56) Adelaide Oval
1969 AFL Richmond Icon.jpg Richmond 15.27 (117) Sturt Football Club design.png Sturt 9.10 (64) Adelaide Oval
1970 CarltonDesign.png Carlton 21.13 (139) Sturt Football Club design.png Sturt 12.22 (94) Adelaide Oval
1971 AFL Hawthorn Icon.jpg Hawthorn 13.13 (91) North Adelaide design.jpg North Adelaide 10.7 (67) Adelaide Oval
1972 North Adelaide design.jpg North Adelaide 10.13 (73) CarltonDesign.png Carlton 10.12 (72) Adelaide Oval
1973 AFL Richmond Icon.jpg Richmond 12.20 (92) SubiacoDesign.png Subiaco 10.19 (79) Adelaide Oval
1974 AFL Richmond Icon.jpg Richmond 27.11 (173) Sturt Football Club design.png Sturt 13.17 (95) Football Park
1975 AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg North Melbourne 17.15 (117) Norwood Jumper Design.png Norwood 5.11 (41) Football Park

* During the 1890s behinds, although recorded, were not added to a team's score as whoever kicked more goals won the game. ^ 1896 championship was played in June 1897 owing to the unavailability of the Adelaide Oval in the year prior.

Most Championships[edit]

Club Titles Years won
Port Adelaide SANFL Icon.jpg Port Adelaide 4 1890, 1910, 1913, 1914
AFL Richmond Icon.jpg Richmond 3 1969, 1973, 1974
CarltonDesign.png Carlton 2 1968, 1970
Norwood Jumper Design.png Norwood 2 1888, 1907
EssendonDesign.svg West Adelaide 2 1908, 1911
SouthMelbourneDesign.png South Melbourne 1 1909
AFL Collingwood Icon.jpg Collingwood 1 1896
EssendonDesign.svg Essendon 1 1893
North Adelaide design.jpg North Adelaide 1 1972
AFL North Melbourne Icon.jpg North Melbourne 1 1975
AFL Hawthorn Icon.jpg Hawthorn 1 1971


  1. ^ Williams, Randal. "Australian Football - the halcyon days of the sanfl". Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  2. ^ "1972 Club Championship of Australia Final: North Adelaide vs. Carlton". Full Points Footy. Archived from the original on 8 June 2007.