There has been an age-old debate within West Adelaide about our club’s birthday. Were we formed in 1887 or 1891/2?
It was common in the 19th Century for communities and delegates to advertise that they were forming a new sporting club or identity. It was also common practise to read brief articles pertaining to a club’s annual report in the early summer months recounting the performances and finances of the entity prior to a forthcoming season. Unfortunately, no such reports have been unearthed pertaining to West Adelaide and hence, an exact date of formation cannot be established. We can however confidently say that we were most likely formed between 1891 and 1892 as a junior side because of articles written some years later.
West Adelaide’s 1911 annual report has put beyond doubt that the current West Adelaide Football club was NOT founded in 1887. Our 1911 annual report states…
“It is appropriate that whilst we are recording the glorious victories of 1911, we are celebrating the Twentieth Birthday of our Club. Just 20 years ago our old friend Mr J McCabe (who throughout this long period has held office on the Committee of Management), was the principal factor in starting this club, and he had with him as Secretary Mr R. Mander, who piloted the Club through its first season. Our sincerest thanks are due to these two gentlemen who remain staunch supporters.”
Furthermore, an extract from a magazine titled, “The Official Souvenir of THE AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL CARNIVAL 1911” also supports the clubs origin post 1887. “Originally formed about 1890, chiefly through the instrumentality of John McCabe, the club (West Adelaide) won the 1895 premiership in the City and Suburban Association, and in the following year, on the introduction of the Electorate System, joined the Senior Association.”