Fremantle Football Club (1882–1899)

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Full name Unions Football Club (1882–89)
Fremantle Football Club (1890–99)
Club details
Founded 1882
Dissolved 1899
Colours      blue and      white (1886)
     red and      white (1887–99)
Competition WAFA
Ground(s) Fremantle Park

The Fremantle Football Club was an Australian rules football club based in Fremantle, Western Australia, that played in the Western Australian Football Association (WAFA) from 1886 to 1899. The club was known as the Unions Football Club from 1882–89.



Unions was formed in 1882 at the same time as the original Fremantle Football Club. A few months after the football season had begun that year, an editorial in The West Australian captured the unfamiliarity of Western Australians with Australian rules football at the time.

It seems a pity however that the Perth players do not all play the same game; while three of the clubs are governed by the rules known as those of the Rugby Union, the fourth (which goes by the name of the Union Club) plays the Victorian game; and there is every reason to believe that the latter club is in the right. The Victorian or "Bouncing" rules are those which are universally adopted in the other Australian colonies; why then should West {sic} Australia be the exception? It is needless here to enter into an argument as to which is the better of the two games, but supposing West {sic} Australia were to receive a challenge at football from one of the sister colonies, what must; be our reply? "We are not able to accept your challenge, because we do not know your rules."[1]

The club was not invited to participate in the formation of the Western Australian Football Association in 1885, at the time being considered a "junior club".[n 1] As was the norm of the time, the club also occasionally played matches under the rugby union rules.[2]


In 1886, Unions was admitted to the WAFA, giving the city of Fremantle two representatives in the competition. The club finished last in their first season,[3] and in games early in the season, were allowed to field additional players to compensate for the team being considered a junior club.[4] The original Fremantle Football Club disbanded at the end of the season, and many of its players transferred to Unions. The club also took Fremantle's colours of red and white,[5] having previously worn black and white.

The club won their first premiership in 1887, which was followed by three more in 1888, 1889 and 1890. The club changed its name to "Fremantle Football Club" in April 1890[6] to better represent the locality in which they were based. In 1891, the club were unbeaten up until round 6. In round 7, they lost against their only serious rivals for the premiership, Rovers, after several contentious decision made by the umpire, a Mr. Croft, who formerly played for Rovers. Due to his previous decisions, Fremantle refused to play in any match umpired by him for the remainder of the season, which resulted in them forfeiting their last three fixtures, and thus losing the premiership to Rovers.[7]

The club continued to dominate the competition for the rest of the decade, winning five consecutive premiership from 1892–96 and another in 1898. The club were forced to disbanded after the 1899 season due to large debts. Many of the club's players transferred to the new South Fremantle Football Club, admitted to the WAFA the next year.[8] The club had an overall win rate of 68.7% during its fourteen season in the competition.



  • WAFA (10):
1887–90, 1892–96, 1898

Leading goalkicker[edit]

1893: Paddy Knox (10 goals)
1895: Albert Thurgood (53)
1896: Albert Thurgood (57)
1897: Albert Thurgood (27)


  1. ^ At the time, clubs were divided into "Senior" and "Junior". These distinctions had nothing to do with age, rather to do with ability and status amongst other clubs.


  1. ^ West Australian, 9 May 1882, p3.
  2. ^ "NEWS AND NOTES.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 14 April 1885. p. 3. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  3. ^ WAFL Part 1 – FullPointsFooty. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  4. ^ "SPORTING.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 25 May 1886. p. 3. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "SPORTING.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 5 May 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "SPORTING.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 28 April 1890. p. 3. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Fremantle (Unions) – FullPointsFooty. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  8. ^ South Fremantle (Part 1) – FullPointsFooty. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  9. ^ WAFL Summary Chart – FullPointsFooty. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
Preceded by
West Perth
WAFA Premiers
Succeeded by
West Perth
West Perth