Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game



Known as
Fremantle (Original)

1882 (as a Rugby club)


Blue and white

Affiliation (Historical)
West Australian Football League (WAFL) 1885–1886

Senior Premierships
WAFA 1886 (1 total)

Fremantle (Original)

Fremantle which, in 1883, had been the main instigator of a move to alter the allegiance of Western Australian football clubs from rugby to Victorian Rules, was a founder member two years later of the Western Australian Football Association. Within another two years it was defunct, having finished third (and last) in 1885, and premiers the following year. Overall, the club enjoyed a success rate of 71.8%, winning more games than it lost against each of four different opponents.[1]

Fremantle's brief history was intertwined almost from the beginning with that of the club which would, in some senses, become its successor (and with which, for many years, it would tend to be confused). Unions was formed in Fremantle in 1885, when it was described as a 'junior' club, but in a trial of strength against Fremantle in August of that year it emerged victorious. When Fremantle fell by the wayside at the end of the 1886 season many of its better players transferred to Unions.

Prior to that, however, Fremantle enjoyed one season of pre-eminent prowess, trouncing opposition teams by what for the time were substantial margins.[2] If ever a team went out on a 'high' therefore, it was the original Fremantle Football Club in 1886.

Arguably the club's greatest son, and indeed one of the few bona fide early greats of the game, was Bill Bateman. A West Australian educated in Adelaide, where Victorian Rules already held sway, he was one of the arch advocates of the abandonment of the English game of rugby. After captaining Fremantle in both of its seasons in the WAFA he played with Unions/Fremantle for a further eight years.


1. See Steve Davies's 'Club vs. Club Summary' in the History section of the official WAFL website at

2. Geoff Christian in The Footballers, page 9, cites results of 6.16 to 2.2 and 3.11 to nil against Rovers, 4.20 to a goal against Victorians, and 6.15 to 2.0 versus Unions (behinds recorded, but not counting).



* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.