Hard sell: Australian football in Sydney

Healy, Matthew (2002) Hard sell: Australian football in Sydney. Research Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


Australian Rules football is the nation's most popular spectator sport. Few sporting activities can match the fanaticism, emotion and passion that the game generates. In Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, Australian Rules football plays a large part in the livelihood of millions of people. However, the game has had a somewhat weaker presence in the northern states, despite the fact that the expansion of Australian Rules football has long been on the agenda for administrators of the code. This thesis examines the entry of Australian Rules football entry into the rugby dominated domain of Sydney. It traces unsuccessful attempts made by the Victorian Football Association and the Victorian Football League to promote the code in Sydney during the 1880s and early part of the nineteenth century, the hiatus of the middle part of the 1900s when Australian Rules football seemed to wallow in obscurity, and the League's 'Sydney Experiment' in the 1970s. The thesis then goes on to examine the circumstances surrounding the relocation of the South Melbourne Football Club to Sydney in 1982, and the club's subsequent decades in the harbour city. It is only in recent years that Australian Rules football appears to have finally made its mark in Sydney. The Sydney Football Club is attracting sizeable crowds to its home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground, many of the Swans players have a public presence in Sydney, and the game is receiving regular positive exposure in the media. The Australian Football League is also playing a role to ensure this most recent attempt to win over Sydney proves successful, promising millions of dollars to junior development. The next five to ten years remain critical in the history of the code. However, as this thesis demonstrates, professional management, visionary planning, astute marketing and an appropriate amount of additional infrastructure, has secured Australian Rules football a firm niche in the rugby stronghold of Sydney.

Additional Information

Master of Arts

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/18171
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Keywords Australian Rules football, Sydney Swans, history, New South Wales
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login