Monday, 19 May 2014
The old Box Hill
The above is a photo (click on it for larger version) of Box Hill Soccer Club from the 1928 season. The establishment of the Box Hill club began in 1922-23 with a team playing sporadic friendly matches. In 1925 the club was admitted to the new Fourth Division of the Victorian Amateur British Football Association. It was a successful season, the Championship clinched with ten wins out of twelve games leaving the club four points ahead of Brighton.
It was a barnstorming start for the pioneers of football in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, who took out the Third Division Championship in 1926. Eleven wins from fourteen games saw them finish two points clear of runner's-up Werribee United.
The following year was that of the District League schism. Box Hill were part of the District League, recognised as the official premier competition in Melbourne football. With one result missing (a game between Box Hill and St Kilda) my records have them level on points with Footscray Thistle and South Melbourne, four points behind Prahran City, the Champions. The inscription on the back of the above photograph lists the club as being runner's-up in the District League of 1927. With the weakest of the three teams on goal difference, a draw in the missing game would give them that position. Alternatively the game may have never been played and it maybe "equal runner's-up" would have been more accurate.
It may well be the latter, as it also lists them as being runner's-up in the District League Southern Division the following year. My records have them level with South Melbourne (but with an inferior goal difference), eleven points behind the Naval Depot who took the Championship.
With the split between the District League and Melbourne District Association resolved, 1929 saw Box Hill competing in the new Second Division, finishing fourth behind Caledonians. Winning the Second Division in 1931 led to a stint in the First Division which ended with relegation in 1935. The club competed through the early years of World War II until going into hiatus from 1942.
Returning to action in 1945 in the expanded top flight, steady improvement each year culminated with Box Hill taking out the First Division Championship in 1948. It would be a mainstay at the top level until 1962.
In the 1928 photo, there are only ten players, perhaps because "selfies" hadn't been invented yet. At the time the club was playing on a ground at the corner of Springfield and Dorking (then Doncaster) Roads in Box Hill North which literally was a cow paddock during the week.
The next picture is of a letter (with neat letterhead) from Box Hill to the Moorabbin City club regarding the possible move of R.Rigby between the clubs. It is from the Olympic year of 1956 when the club finished seventh in the First Division won by Juventus on goal difference from Hakaoh.
The old Box Hill went through an early 1980's revival before a downturn in fortunes eventually led to a merger with Clayton Inter. A further merger with Bulleen which formed Bulleen Inter Kings in 1997 saw the link to Box Hill disappear. Junior and women's clubs continued to play out of the Wembley Park ground, and a merger between them and Southern Suburbs in 2011 saw senior men's football return to the district with the formation of Box Hill United.