A club bearing the name Golden Square first competed in the Bendigo Football Association, precursor of the Bendigo Football League, in 1904. However, after just one season the club withdrew. Over the ensuing three decades Golden Square bobbed up in several different Bendigo-based competitions before resuming in the BFL in 1935.
The side proved competitive from the start, and claimed a premiership in only its fourth season thanks to a 21.13 (139) to 14.7 (91) grand final defeat of Eaglehawk. Golden Square was successful again the following year, although on this occasion it was pushed all the way before accounting for Maryborough by 8 points, 14.8 (92) to 12.12 (84).
The BFL suspended operations because of the war in 1942, and when it resumed three years later Golden Square wasted no time in marking itself out as the team to beat. The season ended in the best way imaginable, with a resounding 101 point grand final slaying of Eaglehawk, but in 1946 the Two Blues gained revenge as they handed Golden Square the first of two consecutive grand final defeats, with the Bulldogs’ conqueror in 1947 being Sandhurst.
The 1950s produced just one grand final appearance, that of 1958, in which Rochester emerged triumphant by 7 points. Rochester again had the Bulldogs’ measure, this time by 9 points, when they next contested a grand final in 1962. Golden Square’s tally of 7.20 (62) for the match tells its own tale.
Ultimately, however, the 1960s were to provide significantly greater success than the preceding decade as the Bulldogs added two further premierships to their haul from four grand finals. The 1970s were even better as Golden Square established itself as arguably the competition’s leading club, claiming flags in 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1979, and finishing second in 1971, 1973, 1977 and 1978.
The 1980s proved marginally less fruitful, but the Bulldogs still played off for the premiership on five occasions for wins in 1988 against Northern United and 1989 against South Bendigo.
Golden Square’s most recent senior grade premiership in 2001 might appropriately be described as a drought-breaker, coming as it did after grand final defeats in 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1997.
With a total of seventeen senior grade flags to their credit the Bulldogs rank fourth in the BFL’s all time standings, behind three clubs of much longer standing in the competition in Eaglehawk, Sandhurst and South Bendigo. Recent seasons have seen them stamping themselves as the competition's pre-eminent force by winning a remarkable five successive grand finals at the expense of South Bendigo in 2009 and 2010, Eaglehawk in 2011, Gisborne in 2012 and Strathfieldsaye in 2013. Subsequent seasons have seen the Bulldogs continuing to perform strongly and finishing fourth in 2014, third in 2015, runners-up to Sandhurst in 2016, third in 2017, sixth in 2018 and fourth in 2019.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications