Box Hill Hawks Football Club

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Box Hill Hawks Football Club

Box Hill Hawks Football Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Box Hill Hawks Football Club is an Australian rules football club playing in the Victorian Football League. It has an alliance with the Hawthorn Football Club which plays in the Australian Football League.

Organised Australian rules football within the municipality of Box Hill can be traced back to the year 1903. In that year Mr EFG Hodges, the proprietor of the “Reporter” newspaper, founded the “Reporter District Football Association”. The six foundation teams were Bayswater, Box Hill, Canterbury, Ferntree Gully, Mitcham and Ringwood. This Box Hill team played on a ground approximately 400 metres south of where Box Hill City Oval is located today, the site is now partly occupied by the Box Hill High School and the Box Hill Cemetery. This team is wholly unrelated to the Box Hill Hawks Football Club of today but was the first team to be known as Box Hill and was the first Australian rules football team in the municipality.

In 1921 a team known as the Box Hill Junior Football Club participated in local competition and in 1923 the Eastern Suburban Protestant Churches Football Association was formed with two teams representing Box Hill; Box Hill United and Box Hill City. The Box Hill City Football Club was the fore-runner of the present day club and was the first to wear the brown and gold uniform associated with later Box Hill teams. In 1932 the Eastern Suburban Football League formed with Box Hill City as a foundation member. In November 1936 this team amalgamated with Box Hill East to become the Box Hill Football Club and this event is now generally regarded as the formation of the present day Club.

In 1937 the team moved to the newly constructed Box Hill City Oval after the land south of Whitehorse Road was acquired by the Box Hill Cemetery Trust. The new oval was designed and constructed by the City Engineer, Mr FW Kerr, and provided first class facilities including grand stand with changing rooms and covered races, recorder board, conveniences, committee rooms, timekeeper’s box and a kiosk. Chain mesh partitions were provided for the “inner” and “outer” spectator viewing areas. Extensive earthworks created the magnificent viewing amphitheatre that we see today. At the time the ground was regarded as the equal of any in Victoria.

The new Box Hill Football Club with Alexander McFadden won the ESFL “B” Grade premiership in its first season (1937) and was runner-up in the “A” Grade the next season. In 1939 the inaugural “A” Grade premiership was won and during the ensuing years the team was a powerful member of the ESFL, making five successive grand final appearances from 1945 to 1949, with premierships in 1945 and 1946. A third consecutive premiership was narrowly missed with the 1947 grand final being lost by 1 point to Mitcham.

Towards the end of the 1940s the Victorian Football Association and George McFadden adopted an expansionist policy aimed at bringing senior football to the newer and younger suburbs of Melbourne, a policy that would see the VFA increase in numbers to from twelve to twenty Clubs by the mid-1960s. The first two Clubs admitted under this new strategy were Box Hill and Moorabbin who, at the end of the 1950 season, were invited to field teams in the VFA for the 1951 season.

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