Saturday, 29 April 2017

Y is for football at Yarra Park: G. Dana footballer

One of my earliest posts was about my first cousins four times removed George and Augustus Dana, the sons of Henry Dana (1820-1852), commandant of the Native Police in the colony of Victoria.

Reviewing digitised Australian newspapers on Trove recently, I came across several mentions of a G. Dana in the 1860s. I believe that this G. Dana is George Kinnaird Dana (1849-1872), the son of Henry Dana. G. Dana was playing the local football code, now known as Australian Rules Football.

A game at the Richmond Paddock, part of Yarra Park,  in the 1860s. A pavilion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is on the left in the background. (A wood engraving made by Robert Bruce on July 27, 1866.)

G. Dana played mostly for South Yarra. South Yarra Football club was in existence from at least 1864. In 1873 South Yarra Football Club merged with a Saint Kilda Cricketers Club to form the Saint Kilda Football Club, which still plays football today.

In May 1866 Dana was playing for South Yarra. The rule for the season had been adopted at a meeting of delegates held at the Freemasons' Hotel.

FOOTBALL. (1866, May 12). Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle (Melbourne, Vic. : 1857 - 1868), p. 4. Retrieved from

Dana chose one of the sides for the South Yarra Club. In the two hour game in May, neither side scored a goal.

FOOTBALL. (1866, May 12). Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle (Melbourne, Vic. : 1857 - 1868), p. 4. Retrieved from

Dana played for South Yarra against Melbourne for the Challenge Cup in June 1866.

FOOTBALL. (1866, June 2). Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle (Melbourne, Vic. : 1857 - 1868), p. 4. Retrieved from

Dana is also mentioned in September as playing for the Challenge Cup. Dana scored the second and final goal for South Yarra with a good running drop kick. Apparently drop kicks are no longer used in Australian Football League although there is a video of a drop kick being played in 2013.

The Challenge Cup. (1866, September 15). Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle (Melbourne, Vic. : 1857 - 1868), p. 4. Retrieved from

On 14 September 1867 G. Dana was mentioned as being a member of the Melbourne Football Club team which was scheduled to play a team drawn from the 14th Regiment [the 2nd Battalion, Buckinghamshire Regiment of Foot].

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1867. (1867, September 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved from

George Dana later became a trader in the South Pacific. In 1872, at the age of 23, he accidentally shot himself in the foot and died of tetanus on the island of Tanna, in present-day Vanuatu.

Family Notices (1873, April 1). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 4. Retrieved from

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