As early as 1879 the Hamilton Football Club was competing against Ararat for the Henty Challenge Cup. The remainder of the nineteenth century and the period up to the outbreak of world war one saw the club engaging mainly in scratch matches against a variety of nearby rivals, although in quite a few cases these encounters could be regarded as semi-competitive in that a trophy of some sort was at stake.
Between the wars and for the better part of two decades after world war two Hamilton competed in the Western District Football League. In 1964 it was one of half a dozen Victorian founder members of the twelve club Western Border Football League, which also boasted six teams from South Australia. The Magpies gradually grew in strength in the new competition, and in 1968 claimed their first senior grade premiership thanks to a 17.24 (126) to 10.13 (73) grand final defeat of Portland. They went on to contest the next couple of grand finals as well, losing to Casterton by 27 points in 1969, and downing South Gambier by an emphatic 80 point margin in 1970.
Hamilton’s next grand final appearance, in 1981, also featured South Gambier as the opposition. For the first and only time in WBFL history the match resulted in a draw, 12.6 (78) apiece, necessitating a replay, which the Magpies won by 16 points, 15.8 (98) to 12.10 (82). Far from being the prelude to an era of success, however, this triumph was followed by a decade of persistent failure as the side failed even to contest another grand final.
The 1990s brought a trio of grand final appearances, all of which resulted in losses. Only against South Gambier in 1996 did the Magpies give a good account of themselves, finally succumbing by just 6 points.
After the turn of the century Hamilton only once qualified for a senior grade grand final, overcoming North Gambier by 65 points in 2004. In 2012 it was announced that the club would be merging with Hamilton Imperial.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications