Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Arthur Rademacher

Known as
Arthur Rademacher

27 November 1889

26 September 1981 (aged 91)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 23y 150d
Last game: 30y 205d

Height and weight
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 76 kg

Senior clubs
South Melbourne; Hawthorn

Jumper numbers
South Melbourne: 28, 20, 9, 22, 18

Arthur Rademacher

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
South MelbourneV/AFL1913-1915, 1917-192010100.0067%0
Total1913-1915, 1917-192314500.00

AFL: 1,974th player to appear, 2,351st most games played, 10,442nd most goals kickedSouth Melbourne: 249th player to appear, 135th most games played, 1,138th most goals kicked

Originally from Leopold, Arthur Rademacher had made a name for himself as a fine batsman with sub-district cricket team Port Melbourne when he arrived at South Melbourne Football Club early in 1913, and immediately made an impression with his football skills. Rademacher's practice match form was strong enough for him to be selected at half-back in the opening round of the 1913 season, and his debut performance in a win over St Kilda drew praise from Punch's sports writer, 'Raggles', who declared him to be a "decided acquisition" who was "conspicuous throughout".¹

Rademacher followed up with another fine match,² a draw against Carlton the following week, and established himself as a permanent member of the Southerners' line-up immediately. His regular appearances in the best-players list saw him selected for a combined VFL side to play against a Ballarat League combination in June.³ South suffered a shock loss to St Kilda in their Semi-Final, but Rademacher was named as one of the best in defeat,⁴ and he again played every match in 1914 as the Bloods made it through to a Grand Final in 1914.

During that season, Rademacher revealed that his talents extended beyond football and cricket when the players provided musical entertainment during interval at a picture night hosted by the Dux Theatre during the season. Rademacher's mandolin playing was said to rival that of George Manzoni.⁵ Back on the football field, Rademacher's spectacular marking skills came to the fore in South's Semi-Final defeat of Geelong⁶ and he was once more listed in the best players in the Southerners' narrow Grand Final loss to Carlton.⁷

While South's form was indifferent in 1915 — they won eight of their 16 matches to miss the final four — Rademacher's was a solid as ever in his third season, and his name was almost a weekly fixture in the newspapers' lists of best players throughout the year. With World War I continuing to take a heavy toll, South Melbourne did not field a team in the 1916 VFL season, but they returned in 1917, whereupon Rademacher resumed his regular place on the half back line and in the weekly list of better players. Though the Bloods came crashing down to Collingwood in the Semi-Final at the MCG, it was through no fault of Rademacher, who again earned a favourable mention in newspaper dispatches.⁸

South Melbourne took all before them in 1918, losing just once to St Kilda in Round 3, and defeating Collingwood by five points in a thrilling Grand Final. Rademacher's form was as good as ever, and he was an important part of South's second VFL premiership win throughout the season and particularly in the Southerners' Semi-Final win over Carlton.⁹

Rademacher missed the opening five rounds of the 1919 season but played every game thereafter as South reach finals once more. The Southerners were defeated by Richmond in the Semi-Final, but Rademacher was predictably mentioned as one of the better players in a losing team.¹⁰

Prior to the 1920 season several South Melbourne players expressed concern about the committee's spending habits, to the point where a group of players placed an ad in the newspaper citing "careless management" and declaring that they would not play unless "some change was effected in the administration of the club's affairs".¹¹ Among the names undersigning the ad was Arthur Rademacher.

How much involvement Rademacher had in the dispute is unclear but, after playing his 100th match in Round 2 of the 1920 season, his name did not appear on the South Melbourne team sheet again until June. The Round 8 match against Geelong was a win, but it proved to be Rademacher's final VFL appearance. Two weeks later, Rademacher appeared for Hawthorn against Northcote,¹² the Victorian Football Association having approved his clearance from South.¹³

Just as he had done at Lake Oval, Rademacher provided the Mayblooms with sterling service across the backline in 1920 and 1921, his brilliance and leadership qualities earning him the captaincy. Injury curtailed Rademacher's 1923 season, which proved to be his last, the defender hanging up the boots at age 33.

Rademacher continued to make a contribution off the field when his playing days were over, as a committeeman,¹⁴ selector¹⁵ and stand-in coach.¹⁶ He later served as an official in the VFL Second Eighteens Competition, for which he was acknowledged with life membership.¹⁷

Author - Andrew Gigacz


1. Punch, Thu 1 May, 1913. Link:

2. The Herald, Friday 9 May 1913, page 3. Link:

3. The Argus, Monday 30 June 1913, page 10. Link:

4. Referee, Wednesday 10 September 1913, page 13. Link:

5. The Argus, Friday 17 July 1914, page 12. Link:

6. Sporting Judge, Saturday 12 September 1914, page 4. Link:

7. Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 - 1917), Wednesday 30 September 1914, page 6. Link:

8. Weekly Times, Saturday 15 September 1917, page 21. Link:

9. Record (Emerald Hill), Saturday 7 September 1918, page 3. Link:

10. Record (Emerald Hill), Saturday 27 September 1919, page 3. Link:

11. Record (Emerald Hill), Saturday 28 February 1920, page 2. Link:

12. The Argus (Melbourne), Monday 5 July 1920, page 4. Link:

13. The Argus (Melbourne), Friday 2 July 1920, page 4. Link:

14. The Argus (Melbourne), Tuesday 9 December 1930, page 12. Link:

15. Sporting Globe (Melbourne), Saturday 20 December 1930, page 3. Link:

16. The Argus (Melbourne), Monday 24 April 1933, page 14. Link:

17. Boyles Football Photos. Link:


Punch, The Herald, The Agrus, Referee, Sporting Judge, Winner, Weekly Times, The Emerald Hill Record, Boyles Football Photos


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