In common with many Australian football clubs with long histories the precise origins of the Hahndorf Football Club are uncertain. There are suggestions that football was being played in the Hahndorf area as early as the 1880s but if so it is probable that the set-up was extremely informal. The earliest known references to a Hahndorf Football Club participating in an organised competition date from 1901, when the club was a member of an embryonic Hills Football Association, in which it enjoyed premiership success in 1904-5-6. Two years after winning the third of these premierships, however, the club was unable to raise sufficient players to field a team, and although it resumed competition in 1908, its playing ranks having been bolstered by students from the local college, success was to be a long time returning.
Because of the anti-German sentiment generated by the Great War Hahndorf felt constrained, when football in the Hills competition resumed after the conflict, to alter its name to Ambleside. During the 1920s it also adopted new colours, replacing the red and black worn since 1908 with the black and white still worn to this day. As Ambleside, the club won premierships in 1928, 1930, 1931 and 1932. A noteworthy first for the club came in 1933 when John Mullins won the inaugural Hills Football Association Mail Medal. Later in the 1930s the club’s present day home ground of Hahndorf Oval was used for the first time, and its original name of Hahndorf was re-assumed.
Since world war two Hahndorf has continued to enjoy consistent premiership success, initially in the HFA, and since 1967 in the competition which succeeded it, the Hills Football League. Not that it has all been plain sailing: during the early 1970s, for example, the club was almost forced to disband, and it spent quite a few seasons struggling to muster a win in the HFL’s lower division. However, for more than thirty years now, Hahndorf has competed at the top level, known as Central Division or Division One, combining consistent on-field success with a prominent community role that goes well beyond the mere playing of football. That said, on-field success has continued, most recently with back to back flags in 2015 and 2016. The first of these came via a 14.6 (90) to 10.10 (70) grand final defeat of Uraidla Districts, while in 2016 the Magpies downed Torrens Valley on grand final day by 42 points, 15.19 (109) to 9.13 (67). Hahndorf again made the grand final in 2017 but despite enjoying more than their fair share of possession slumped to defeat by 4 points against Blackwood. The Magpies then went on to enjoy another triumphant season in 2018 when they topped the ladder with just 1 defeat in 18 games before accounting for Uraidla Districts in both the second semi final (by 2 goals) and grand final with scores of 13.15 (93) to 6.10 (46).
John Devaney - Full Points Publications