Earliest surviving Australian Rules footage: 1909 VFL Grand Final, South Melbourne vs Carlton
This near-complete silent film of the 1909 VFL Grand Final is the earliest known surviving footage of Australian Rules football action.
Played on Saturday 2 October 1909, Carlton and South Melbourne fought out a tough, low scoring contest at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. South Melbourne, chasing their first premiership in the Victorian Football League (VFL), held off a desperate Carlton, looking to win their fourth consecutive flag. In front of more than 37,000 fans, despite being held goalless in the last quarter, The Bloods triumphed by two points. South Melbourne 4 14 38, Carlton 4 12 36.
The film offers a remarkable insight into long-forgotten aspects of the game: place kicks, 'slap' passes, numberless guernseys, players chaired from the field post-match by excited spectators - relics of the past thankfully captured by film exhibitor Charles Cozens Spencer's production.