P.O. Box 158, Kinglake 3763, Victoria
Alexandra Recreation Reserve
Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League (YVMDFL) since 2008
Green and gold
Panton Hill Football and District League (PHDFL) - 1939-40 (2 total); YVMDFL Division Two - 1994 (1 total)
Teams representing of Kinglake engaged in scratch matches as early as the 1890s, but it does not appear to have been until 1930 that the town fielded a formally constituted club in a recognised competition. That competition was the Bourke Evelyn Football League, but after just a single season the Lakers were on the move, joining the Panton Hill and District Football League, in which they would compete, with some initial success, until 1980.
Kinglake’s first grand final appearance came in 1933, but opponents Yarra Glen proved substantially stronger, winning 10.19 (79) to 4.11 (35). It was a similar tale in both 1935 against Hurstbridge and 1936 against Plenty Rovers, and in 1937 the club went into recess for a season. When it resumed a couple of years later it finally claimed the elusive prize it had been seeking thanks to a grand final triumph over Hurstbridge. Twelve months later premiership success was once again attained, this time at the expense of Plenty Rovers in a thriller, by just 3 points.
The two seasons spent in mothballs notwithstanding, the period between 1930 and 1940 would have to be regarded as the nearest thing to a halcyon phase in Kinglake’s history. This was certainly the case in purely statistical terms, as the side contested finals series on six out of a possible nine occasions, including five grand finals. Moreover, it claimed two of the three senior grade premiership victories it has so far managed.
After the war, Kinglake began to find the going hard, with the side consistently finishing near the foot of the ladder. Indeed, following their 1940 grand final triumph the seniors would not again contest the finals until 1994. In between the club spent nine consecutive seasons in recess, commencing in 1981. On resuming in 1990 Kinglake ventured to pastures new by affiliating for the first time with the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League. It was in this competition that the club achieved its third senior grade premiership win after downing South Belgrave by 28 points in the 1994 division two grand final. A year later the Lakers again reached the division two grand final, but lost to Seville.
Between 1996 and 2000 Kinglake competed in the Diamond Valley Football League, but the move was not a success, and the club spent the 2001 season in recess before making a somewhat hesitant return to action in 2002. Between 2002 and 2007 the club struggled, and at the end of the 2007 season it looked highly probable that it would go under. However, a devoted and hard working group of stalwarts got together to ensure not only the club’s survival but, if its performances dueing the 2008 season are anything to go by, the very real prospect of a long, vibrant and successful future.
That 2008 season saw Kinglake returning to the YVMDFL and the seniors contesting only their ninth ever finals series. The fact that they ultimately failed to procure the premiership was irrelevant,for a club that had seemed dead in the water was now incontrovertibly alive and kicking, which is arguably a cause for as much celebration as any number of premierships.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications