A meeting at Adelaide’s Prince Albert Hotel, Wright Street on 7th April 1877 saw the election of a committee for the South Park Football Club, although whether this was actually the club’s initial meeting is unclear. What is certain is that, a few weeks later, on 30th April, South Park sent two delegates to the inaugural meeting of the South Australian Football Association, as a result of which the club became a founder member of that organisation.
South Park fielded a fairly young team in the SAFA’s initial season of 1877, and finished sixth out of eight clubs on the semi-official premiership list after winning 5 and drawing 2 of their 17 matches. Over the next few years the team improved, and in both 1881 and 1883 managed to clamber as high as third place on the ladder. Despite never being a realistic challenger for the premiership South Park was regarded as extremely difficult to beat, not least by the powerful Norwood side which claimed half a dozen premierships in succession between 1878 and 1883.
In 1881 South Park engaged in a prestigious match against visiting VFA club Carlton. Watched by a sizeable crowd for the time of roughly 3,000, the visitors proved too strong, winning 6.9 to 2.8, but the South Park players gave a good account of themselves and were by no means disgraced.
Perhaps the most noteworthy identity associated with the South Park Football Club was John Cresswell, who served as the club’s secretary in 1879. Cresswell was later secretary of the South Australian Cricket Association, and in 1923 had a grandstand at the Adelaide Oval named after him.
At the end of an 1884 season which had seen it finish fourth (out of five) South Park disbanded, with many of its better players transferring to South Adelaide. This influx of fresh talent was sufficient to propel the Blue and Whites, who had finished third in 1884, to the 1885 premiership.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications