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Anzac football in London

During their war service, Australian troops organised Australian Rules football matches across Europe. The highest profile matches were played in the United Kingdom but one-off matches were also played in other countries, including Belgium and France in 1919.

Year:28 October, 1916

Location:London, England

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Anzac football in London

During their war service, Australian troops organised Australian Rules football matches across Europe. The highest profile matches were played in the United Kingdom but one-off matches were also played in other countries, including Belgium and France in 1919.


Year: 28 October, 1916

Length: 1:01

Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Catalogue Reference: NFSA title: 72617


People: Players include : Hughie James, Bruce Sloss, George Barry and Dan Minogue

Location: London, England

Tags: sport, AFL

Subject: sport, AFL


This exhibition game of Australian Rules football, played on Saturday 28 October 1916 at Queen's Club, West Kensington, London, raised almost £1000 for the British and French Red Cross. A crowd estimated at 3,000, including the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and King Manuel II of Portugal, watched the match.

Promoted as a ‘Pioneer Exhibition Game of Australian Football in London’, the game was the brainchild of Brigadier-General Sir Newton Moore, the former Premier of Western Australia. The task of organizing it was given to former Olympic champion swimmer, and later Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Lieutenant Frank Beaurepaire. The idea took three months to arrange.

The Australian ‘top brass’ were keen for it would be a success. Australian pride was at stake and as a nation, Australia’s reputation and manhood was on display. Teams were given the opportunity to train and even to hold a trial match prior to the big event.

The members of the competing teams, the A.I.F Training Units and 3rd Division A.I.F, were all highly skilled footballers, and most had already played senior football in their respective states. Special guernseys were designed and made in London, the Third Division's jumper being navy blue with a white map of Australia (without Tasmania) on the chest, along with white shorts and navy socks. The Training Units wore a light red guernsey with a large white kangaroo on the left breast, along with black shorts and red socks.

It was a chilly day that produced a low score, the Third Division winning by 16 points – 6.16 (52) to 4.12 (36). However, it was described by Collingwood and Richmond great Dan Minogue, who was vice-captain of the victorious Third Division team, as ‘a slashing display’ of the game ‘at its scintillating best’. Tragically, for some it was their last game. Six players were subsequently killed in action, the first being the captain of the winning Third Division team, Bruce Sloss.

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Anzac football in London

  • London, England

  • 0:00

    Intertitle: AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL. 3,000 spectators at Queens Club watch the Anzacv game which is a combination of Association and Rugby Football

  • 0:04

    Player walk onto the field

  • 0:13

    Opposing players walk onto the field

  • 0:25

    Game being played

  • 0:35

    Spectators on trolley buses

  • 0:40

    Game being played

  • 0:56

    Spectators on trolley bus