Ian Syson

About Ian Syson

Ian Syson teaches literary studies and professional writing at Victoria University in Melbourne. He is researching the history of the football codes in Australia. He also runs the Vulgar Press, an independent Melbourne publishing company.

Australian soccer on the edge of legitimacy

Soccer has contended with dogs, demons and destabilisers since the first spherical balls rolled off the ships in the 1830s. The game’s legitimacy has been questioned by those outside the game ever since it was first advocated in the 1860s and while its first fleeting steps of organisation were taken in the 1870s. Dozens of reasons – including the game’s putative foreignness, feebleness, degenerate participants, absence of masculinity, wealth, corruption, colonialism and imperialism – have been used to cast doubt [...]

By | December 4th, 2015|History|0 Comments

We shall remember them: Dockerty Cup final 1914

The Dockerty Cup Unbeknown to many at the time, the Dockerty Cup Final of 1914 was to be the end of a brief and exciting era in Melbourne soccer. It concluded eight years of rapid growth in the game in terms of both quality and public interest. The final, played at Middle Park, was probably the last full-strength and meaningful competitive soccer fixture in Melbourne until after the conclusion of the First World War. While the Dockerty Cup [...]

By | April 24th, 2015|History|0 Comments

We shall remember them: The Lowe brothers

Tales of brothers at war have a powerful emotional appeal. The movie Saving Private Ryan is a good example of the way stories can be woven around the tragedy of brothers leaving to fight a war and the impact this has on their families and communities. In Michael McKernan’s Victoria at War, the early focus is on the Whitelaw family from Briagolong from which six sons enlisted. Four of them died as a result of being at the front. It provides [...]

By | April 23rd, 2015|History|0 Comments

We shall remember them: Second Lieutenant Arthur Godfrey Goodson

Unlike most of his fellow players, who tended to be tradesmen or skilled labourers, Arthur Godfrey Goodson was one of a small cohort of soccer-playing Melbourne professionals. Born in 1886 and educated at Leeds Central High School, he went on to take a BSc at Leeds University where he excelled at sport, gaining a double blue for football and track sports. In 1913 he took a position as a science tutor at Scotch College in Melbourne where he was admired [...]

By | April 23rd, 2015|History|0 Comments

We shall remember them: The strange case of Thomas Witham and Whitmore Pink

Mirboo North Soccer team 1914, which includes the unidentified Shoesmith and Preston. (Image by George Sutton, thanks to Centre for Gippsland Studies, Monash University.) On 28 September 1913, two men walked into the Russell St Police Station, begging to be arrested, locked up, and fed. They gave their names as Thomas Witham, a Shoesmith and Whitmore Pink. After working their passages out from England as cabin stewards, they had worked for a week in the Wonthaggi mine before finding themselves [...]

By | April 22nd, 2015|History|0 Comments
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