Championship of Australia

The Championship of Australia was an Australian rules football tournament which was contested between football clubs from the Victorian, South Australian, West Australian and Tasmanian football leagues. The Championship took place three times in the 19th century and then from 1907 to 1914 with the exception of 1912 and every year from 1968 to 1975. All but two of the Championships were played in Adelaide and all of them occurred after the respective league seasons had ended.[1] The 1975 Championship of Australia was the last edition of the competition with the 1976 NFL Championship replacing the format, albeit for only one year with VFL clubs.

Championship of Australia
Organising bodyAustralian National Football Council
Founded1888 (1888)
Abolished1976 (1976)
Number of teams2-4
Related competitionsVFL, SANFL, WAFL, TFL
Last championsNorth Melbourne (1975)
Most successful club(s)Port Adelaide (4 titles)


The first group of Club Championships were between the Victorian Football Association and South Australian Football Association premiers while from 1907 until 1914, the final competition for 54 years, it was contested between the premiers of the VFL and SAFL. Port Adelaide were champions a record four times during this period. The inaugural Championship was a best of three game series but all future tournaments were decided by a Grand Final.

In 1968 the Championship returned under the same format but the Australian National Football Council refused to grant it official status as a team from Western Australia and Tasmania were not competing and it thus couldn't be referred to as a Championship of 'Australia'. Both state's premiers joined the tournament from 1972 onwards to make it a four club championship. For Tasmania, it was the premier of the Tasmanian State Premiership that was invited to the Championship – except in 1974, when no state premiership was held and a composite team of players from the premier clubs of the various Tasmanian leagues took part. VFL clubs won every Championship from 1968, except in 1972 when South Australia's North Adelaide Football Club upset Victoria's Carlton Football Club to win by a point.[2]

In 1976, the National Football League abandoned the post-season Championship of Australia concept by establishing the NFL Night Series. It was contested on weekday nights concurrently with the 1976 premiership season by twelve clubs – five from the VFL, four from the SANFL and three from the WAFL – who qualified based on their 1975 positions. It is sometimes seen as a natural extension of the Championship of Australia.

Champions by year (1888–1914, 1968–75)

Year Champion Score Runner-up Score Venue
1888Norwood 8.12 (8)South Melbourne4.10 (4)Kensington Oval
6.8 (6) 2.11 (2)
6.4 (6) 4.15 (4)
1890Port Adelaide 7.10 (7)South Melbourne6.13 (6)Adelaide Oval
1893Essendon 10.23 (10)South Adelaide3.6 (3)Victoria Park
1896Collingwood 8.5 (53)South Adelaide6.4 (40)Adelaide Oval
1907Norwood 13.12 (90)Carlton8.10 (58)Adelaide Oval
1908West Adelaide 12.9 (81)Carlton7.10 (52)Adelaide Oval
1909South Melbourne 11.8 (74)West Adelaide7.14 (56)MCG
1910Port Adelaide 15.20 (110)Collingwood7.9 (51)Adelaide Oval
1911West Adelaide 8.9 (57)Essendon7.12 (54)Adelaide Oval
1913Port Adelaide 13.16 (94)Fitzroy4.7 (31)Adelaide Oval
1914Port Adelaide 9.16 (70)Carlton5.6 (36)Adelaide Oval
1968Carlton 13.15 (93)Sturt6.20 (56)Adelaide Oval
1969Richmond 15.27 (117)Sturt9.10 (64)Adelaide Oval
1970Carlton 21.13 (139)Sturt12.22 (94)Adelaide Oval
1971Hawthorn 13.13 (91)North Adelaide10.7 (67)Adelaide Oval
1972North Adelaide 10.13 (73)Carlton10.12 (72)Adelaide Oval
1973Richmond 19.16 (130)Glenelg16.19 (115)Adelaide Oval
1974Richmond 27.11 (173)Sturt13.17 (95)Football Park
1975North Melbourne 17.15 (117)Norwood5.11 (41)Football Park

* During the 1890s behinds, although recorded, were not added to a team's score as whoever kicked more goals won the game. ^ 1896 championship was played in June 1897 owing to the unavailability of the Adelaide Oval in the year prior.

Most Championships

Club Titles Years won
Port Adelaide41890, 1910, 1913, 1914
Richmond31969, 1973, 1974
Norwood21888, 1907
Carlton21968, 1970
West Adelaide21908, 1911
South Melbourne11909
North Adelaide11972
North Melbourne11975


  1. Williams, Randal. "Australian Football - the halcyon days of the sanfl". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  2. "1972 Club Championship of Australia Final: North Adelaide vs. Carlton". Full Points Footy. Archived from the original on 8 June 2007.
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