The Champion of the Colony award never existed.
The list of winners published by CC Mullen in the 1940s & 1950s is apparently based on his own research, the extent of which now appears to have been quite limited. The supposed award should have no status "official" or "unofficial" in any way.
|Seasons||The AFL publish a list of alleged winners but never quote any evidence supporting the claim that captains, or in later years journalists,
held meetings to select the "Champion" winner
|1856||Tom Wills (playing for Corio Bay) is listed as winner in some publications and websites but that cannot be true. He had been in England for some years and arrived back in Victoria on 23 December 1856. Proof that he was playing cricket in UK & Ireland between May & September 1856 is here: at Cambridge, at Lord's , Lord's again, at Canterbury, Kent , and in Ireland .|
|1857-1902||No evidence from any paper or publication has to my knowledge ever been identified to support the list of winners claimed for those years.|
|1903||Hugh Gavin (playing for Essendon) is listed as winner in some publications and websites but that cannot be true. He played the 1903 season in the Goldfields competition in Western Australia, not for Essendon in Victoria.|
|1904-1945||No evidence from any paper or publication has to my knowledge ever been identified to support the list of winners claimed for those years.|
Since 2008 I have regularly advised the AFL and Michael Lovett (editor, AFL Season Record Guide) that the Champion award is a myth.
Despite providing the evidence shown here on this page, my requests for the Champion list to be removed from the public record continue to be ignored.
Lovett has also been asked to remove the claim that the list dated 1856-1945 is published in CC Mullen's book "History of Australian Football 1858-1958."
That book has the Champion award list with date range 1856-1940. To my knowledge, no work published by Mullen shows the date range which the AFL use.
In 2014 another important article on the subject was published online through the Footy Almanac website:
The Champions That Never Were
No reference to meetings of captains or journalists to select a "Champion of the Colony (or Season)" for football players is published in the following:
The Geelong Advertiser, The Argus, The Australasian, The Age and The Herald (free) or The Herald (pay to view) .
Originally published in the 1870s and now online, is the noted annual The Footballer. Like the other publications, it makes no mention of the Champion award.
The MCC Library magazine The Yorker contains some interesting articles on the early history of Australian Football and comments on Mullen's work, especially in the 2010/2011 issues.
There are also factual errors within the published list of alleged winners, for example, the 1856-59 years refer to Corio Bay and Richmond Cricketers as clubs. No such football clubs are known to have existed at that time.
The following books have lists of official state award winners up to date of their publication, e.g. Brownlow, Magarey & Sandover Medals.
Sporting Globe Football Book (pub. 1946), Jack Donnelly's Football Guide (1947) and Hugh Buggy's Let's Look at Football (1951).
Nowhere in any of them is there a mention of a "Champion" award.
Surely, if this award had been so prestigious, they would have commented upon it. But they don't.
In contrast, the other medals are consistently mentioned in indexes and online searches from their various dates of inception.
[page updated: 20 January 2015]
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