Prior to becoming a founding club of the Western Border League in 1964 Hamilton Imperials had competed for many years in the Western District Football League, and before that in the Hamilton District Football Association from 1948. Imperials was formed by a group of former Hamilton players disenchanted with their club’s administration. The newcomers took a while to make their mark in the WBFL, and the seniors did not qualify for a grand final until 1976, when they went down by 26 points to East Gambier.
Over the next couple of seasons, however, the Bulldogs proved irrepressible, thrashing West Gambier by 69 points in the 1977 grand final, and overcoming East Gambier by 34 points the following year. After suffering a slight decline in fortune in 1979 Imperials reassumed pre-eminence in 1980 when they scored a 3 goal grand final victory over North Gambier.
The remainder of the 1980s brought just a solitary senior grade grand final appearance, in 1983 against Millicent, but the side was beaten by 28 points. By contrast, the 1990s proved to be a richly rewarding decade, with the Bulldogs contesting senior grade grand finals in 1993, 1995 and 1997. The first two of these, against Casterton and South Gambier respectively, were won, but South Gambier achieved revenge over the Bulldogs in the 1997 clash.
Imperials commenced the new century in fine style when they comfortably accounted for Portland in the 2001 grand final by a margin of 82 points, 23.12 (150) to 10.8 (68). However, in their two subsequent and most recent grand final appearances, against South Gambier in 2002 and Portland in 2008, they came off second best.
In 2012, the Imps merged with Hamilton to form the Hamilton Kangaroos.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications