Swan Districts Football Club celebrates a milestone during Anzac round 2024.

Swan Districts Football Club celebrates 90 years

President Peter Hodyl says he is proud of what the Swans mean for the community and hopes they will be around for a long time.
May 16, 2024

SWAN Districts Football Club celebrated its 90th anniversary in the WAFL competition with a game against East Fremantle the first club it played against back on April 28, 1934.

For the game played at Bassendean Oval during the Anzac round, Swan Districts players wore jumpers commemorating the occasion.

Swan Districts was granted entry into the WAFL in October 1933 to start competing in 1934 after struggling for some years to form a team to represent the area.

The Swan Districts team that was formed included players from Midland Junction such as George Krepp, Johnny Park, Keith McInnerney, Snapper Clarke, Clem Buckley, Andy Zilko, Mick Jamieson, Clive Hellmrich, George McRae, Fred Hall, Ted Holdsworth, Tom Moiler and Max Chester.

There were then Bassendean Perth Suburban Association players George (Judda) Bee, Fred Woolcock, Nigel Gorn, Russell Grieve, Lal Mosey, Jack Zilko, Clive Perham, Dinty Ford, Shinney Dawes, Robert Millwood, Jack Reilly, Jack Dickson and George Fitzgerald.

From these players the team was formed that took to the field at Fremantle Oval in round one, 1934 to play Swan Districts’ first ever game carrying with them the unified support of a proud district.

Richard (RA) McDonald was the inaugural president at Swan Districts as the architect and founder of the club while Bee was also made the inaugural coach having initially moved from East Fremantle to join Bassendean in 1933.

East Fremantle won the game 16.23 (119) to 16.6 (102) but that’s the type of attacking football and high-scoring affair you could only dream of seeing in modern football.

There was a lot to be encouraged about in that performance from Swans with Gorn and Dawes kicking four goals apiece, Bee three and Fred Sweetapple two.

The next week the Swans played their first ever home game and beat Subiaco.

The history of Swan Districts is more than just about success on the field even though the two premiership hat-tricks of 1961-62-63 and 1982-83-84 along with the last two premiership triumphs in 1990 and 2010 are well worth celebrating.

Current president Peter Hodyl said the event was about celebrating the history of the past 90 years and remembering those no longer around but also welcoming back plenty of familiar faces.

As a former player of the club who was part of the 1990 premiership Hodyl is proud of the role Swans plays in the community and hopes it long continues.

“I’ve spent my whole life around the footy club,’’ he said.

“I remember as a kid I was up in the McDonald stand as a six or seven-year-old pressed up against the fence and watching my heroes being a local Basso boy.

“There were opportunities to be involved as a young fella coming through the development program and the colts, and then my involvement now is about acknowledging all the people that came before me.

“The reason I do what I do is because someone did it for me and it’s my turn so if I’ve created the opportunity for other young men and women to play the game, and represent Swans, then I think I’ve done my job.’’

In the 90th anniversary game the Swans put themselves in a terrific position to honour it with the victory as part of the WAFL Anzac round and  were leading by as much as 22 points as well into the fourth quarter.

But East Fremantle then stormed home with three late goals before the siren and then another after it to snatch an 11.10 (76) to 11.8 (74) victory.


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