Local Football Between The Wars

The Goomalling Association, which was in existence between 1907 and 1913, initially did not re-form once hostilities had ceased in the First World War – instead the West Australian made reference to a three-team Central District Association, whose boundaries were Northam, Meckering, Toodyay and Dowerin. The premiership decider saw Goomalling prevail against South Jennacubbine by seven points, 6.15 to 6.8, with North Jennacubbine finishing the season in third place.

In 1924, Dowerin, Jennacubbine, North Goomalling and South Goomalling played against each other in the Goomalling-Dowerin Association.

The following year, the West Australian reported that the Goomalling Association consisted of Goomalling Country (black and gold), Goomalling Town (maroon), Jennacubbine (red and black) and Wongan Hills (blue and white). Goomalling Town amalgamated with Goomalling Country part-way through the season, and the team played as Goomalling Country for the remainder of the season. In an odd occurrence, the Semi-Final was postponed after the W.A.F.L. umpire appointed failed to turn up in Goomalling – the car carrying him broke down before it reached Toodyay.

Jennacubbine had a successful campaign in 1926, taking out the minor premiership before winning the major premiership after a 14.20 to 8.15 triumph at home against Wongan Hills. Goomalling finished third (and last).

The other associations in the region in 1926 were the Dalwallinu Association (Dalwallinu defeated Wubin in the final – Buntine and Pithara also competed around this time), the Dampier Association (Bencubbin, Gabbin, Kununoppin, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Trayning and Yelbeni), the Dowerin Association (Dowerin, Ejanding, Hindmarsh and Minnivale), the East Avon Association (Baandee, Doodlakine, Kellerberrin, Kellerberrin Rovers and Tammin), the Eastern Districts Association (Federals, Toodyay, Towns and Unions), the Merredin Association (Burracoppin, Railway, Towns and Warriors), the Mortlock Association: (Cunderdin, Grass Valley, Meckering, plus one other), the Toodyay Sunday Association (including Wanderers, West Toodyay and Wongamine) and the Wyalkatchem Association (Benjaberring, Koorda/Dukin, Korrelocking, Nalkain, Wyalkatchem and Yorkrakine).

The following local Associations participated at Country Week: Bruce Rock, Dalwallinu, Mortlock, Quairading and Wyalkatchem.

Jennacubbine left the Association as reigning premiers before the commencement of the 1927 season, whilst the Goomalling Football Club fielded two teams – Australs and Rovers - both of who would play for the next 15 seasons. Goomalling Rovers were premiers after a 27-point victory over Goomalling Australs. Wongan Hillls returned to the Association in 1928 and four teams competed until the admission of Konnongorring in 1930.

The Goomalling Association adopted the new Page finals system which came into practice in football in 1931 (but only for one season). Konnongorring left the Association for one year, whilst Wongan Hills were also absent. Toodyay Rangers became part of the competition, but would only last one season. In a local derby, Goomalling Rovers defeated Goomalling Australs by 17 points in the Grand Final at Goomalling.

The 1932 season saw five sides affiliate – Goomalling Australs, Goomalling Rovers, Jennacubbine, Konnongorring and Mumberkine, with Dowerin joining the fold in 1933. In that season, the Grand Final was a one point result, with Australs defeating Rovers, 14.11 to 14.10. The match was umpired by WANFL umpire F. Collins.

In 1936, WAFL club West Perth journeyed to Goomalling to take on an Association representative team, with the visitors too string for their hosts by 27 points, 14.9 to 9.12. The next year, the Association claimed the scalp of Claremont by an impressive 46 point margin, 15.11 to 8.7. Claremont would later arrange a rematch in Perth (back then, special permission had to be gained to play football in the metropolitan area on a Sunday) and exact revenge by 119 points, 26.20 to 7.15.

Dowerin, who struggled in first four seasons from 1933 to 1936 (16-41 and no finals), won four straight premierships between 1937 and 1940 and won eight of their none finals matches in the process.

In 1938, the Association played the Avon Valley Association at Northam, with the home side winning by 28 points, 18.13 to 13.15.

With the spectre of another World War looming, the number of clubs dropped from seven in 1937 to four by 1941. The 1941 Grand Final saw Rovers defeated Australs by 17 points, which proved to be the last match as separate entities. After the Second World War had ended, Goomalling football would go back to one club, under the Goomalling name.

In 1945, the Goomalling & Districts Association was reformed and has been played continuously since, with the name ‘Mortlock’ replacing ‘Goomalling & Districts’ in 1973.

By Derek Mott

Source: Trove website (various newspapers from Western Australian from 1919 to 1941) and also the 'Weekly Gazette' (Goomalling).