1911 - THE BEGINNING
Picture, if you will, the view from the top of a high hill, overlooking a slightly curved ribbon of sand-hills that fade away into the distance. To the left of these hills, a narrow strip of the purest of white sand borders a bluish turquoise mass of water alive with sea birds feeding greedily on a plentiful supply of small fish that splash about desperately in the shallows, trying to escape. To the right, a huge area of wetlands extends outwards covering much of the panorama. It surrounds a group of small, sandy islands that protrude slightly above the water line. The wetlands are abundant with a mixture of birds, small amphibians and other animals all scurrying about in their tireless efforts for survival.
The year is 1850. You are aboriginal and what you are surveying is the Karrum Karrum—your name for the boomerang shaped wetlands that have been such a plentiful source of food for you and your kind for thousands of years. At the far end of the wetlands is a place called Moody Yallock which means ’near little sea’. Here, the excess water from the wetlands can effortlessly escape into the bay. This is one of two relief valves that are needed in times of flooding. This place will soon be known as Mordialloc. At the base of your hill is the Kananook Creek, another exit point for any water that is surplus to the needs of your hunting grounds. And, the islands? Well, they are known to you as the islands of Wanarkladdin and will be known as Chelsea Heights in due course. You are, of course, taking in this wonderful view from the future Oliver’s Hill.
Were you to revisit this site some thirty two years later you would notice some significant changes to the landscape. Unbeknown to you there has been a gold-rush in Victoria. Melbourne’s population has expanded from 20,000 to 250,000 and will double again by the end of the century. Fuelled by the wealth emanating from the goldfields, enormous growth in manufacturing and services is driving expansion out into the soon to be formed suburbs. Along the right hand edge of the dunes and running all the way back to Moody Yallock and beyond, you can now see a faint line, a track. It is known as Long Beach Road soon to become Point Nepean Road. Down the centre of this track is a line of steel specially built to carry the trains that regularly transport growing numbers of people and goods back and forth to Long Beach and Frankston.
Cutting across the landscape from the wetlands to the bay is a new water course and you are able to see precious water, the life blood of the Karrum Karrum, draining out into the sea. They call this channel Patterson’s Cut and nearby is the newly constructed Carrum station, a stopping place for the trains. Some constructions, houses, sheds and the like are appearing around the four stations, Mordialloc, Aspendale, Carrum and Frankston.
The white man’s dreamtime is beginning. And it is man-made.
Chelsea Railway Station circa 1913
Fast forward—it is 1907 and, in response to the increasing number of people accessing the beaches, a new station appears on the line between Carrum and Aspendale. The station is named Chelsea in recognition of the English town of the same name. It was the home town of the mother of a local, Mrs Black, whose family are the original settlers of this area. It is financed locally. The station is unmanned thus forcing intending travellers to wave the train down with a red flag or, in the case of night travel, a red lantern. Those wishing to alight from the train must notify the guard or driver in advance so as to ensure that it stops at Chelsea.
Carrum station has been in existence for some twenty five years now and the settlement is further developed than Chelsea. It has a local population supported by farming and associated industries.
Carrum has been playing social games of football since 1897 and has represented the Borough of Carrum which extends from the Mordialloc Creek in the north to the Kannanook Creek in the south. There is no organized football competition in the area at this early stage.
It is June 24th 1911 when Chelsea first sets foot on the ground as a football team playing under its own name. The opposition is Carrum and the match is played for a dinner that would later be served in fine style at the Carrum Hotel. The match is described thus in the Moorabbin News:
MARRIED MEN PLAY FOOTBALL
A football match which created some excitement, and much fun, was played last Monday. The married men of Carrum played the married men of Chelsea; and a royal display it was. The game was strenuous in the extreme, in fact, some of the players took the matter so seriously that they had to be driven home , and haven’t yet recovered sufficiently to satisfactorily carry out their daily avocations. Mr A. J. Rigby was the most brilliant player for Carrum benedicts; he seemed to be almost a fixture at his opponents’ goal post, in fact, he did actually score one goal, and he hasn’t been forgiven yet. Mr S. Black exhibited some fast work.
For Chelsea, Mr F. Thompson, the genial secretary of the Progress Association, showed up remarkably well in progressive football. Great difficulty was experienced by the umpire at times to decide whether this player was playing soccer or rugby football, German, English, American or Victorian style but it’s a certainty the umpire will report him to the VFA, as until he (Thompson) lost his breath, the pace was altogether too warm and the game too furious.
Percy Evans, generally energetic in all things, was simply effervescent on that day bubbling over with eagerness to display his ability on the football field, eventually aviating at a remarkable height a long distance across the ground, and landing he didn’t know where, and wasn’t particularly anxious; whilst on solid earth he did good work, but while in the air the umpire should have given “time off,” but he evidently didn’t understand what rules they were playing under.
Moxom looked after the goals well, in fact watched them that closely that he stood there while the ball dribbled through the posts scoring a goal against his side.
The return match is anxiously watched for, limbs and grounds are undergoing special treatment, the former under the guidance of a well known veterinary surgeon. The final scores were: Carrum 5.6, Chelsea 1.2.
At the dinner given afterwards by the Chelsea players, W. Aitken was presented with a handsomely inscribed medal for his brilliant play.
Ref: “Moorabbin News”
IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE PLAYERS REPRESENTING CHELSEA IN THIS MATCH MUST HAVE PERFORMED QUITE ADMIRABLY AS CARRUM CHANGED ITS NAME TO THE CARRUM AND CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB ONE WEEK LATER. THE CLUB COMPLETED ITS FIRST SEASON OF COMPETITIVE FOOTBALL IN THE FEDERAL FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION ALONG WITH CHELTENHAM, VIC BREWERY AND MOORABBIN. THEY PLAYED IN RED, WHITE AND BLUE COLOURS AND PERFORMED REASONABLY WELL IN THEIR FIRST SEASON OF COMPETITIVE FOOTBALL WITH FOUR WINS AND FIVE LOSSES.