Despite its fleeting existence, the Kensington Football Club played a significant role in bringing organised football to South Australia. Formed early in the 1870s, perhaps as early as 1870, the club was unusually well administered for its time, and even boasted its own unique set of playing rules, which other clubs almost invariably found bewildering. Nevertheless, it was well aware of the advantages to be gleaned from uniformity of practice, and as early as 1873 proposed that “The Adelaide, Port Adelaide and suburban clubs (draw) up a standard code of rules for play and that a committee be appointed to carry the proposition into effect”.
Saturday 10th July 1875 saw the official opening of the club’s new enclosed ground, Kensington Oval, which was to remain a venue of some importance in Adelaide for almost a century. To celebrate the opening, a match between Kensington and Adelaide took place, watched by a crowd of some 600 spectators, each having paid 6d for admittance. It is not recorded what rules were adopted, but teams comprised 22 players, and the lighter and more skilful Kensington side kicked the only goal of the game.
Kensington spent five somewhat inauspicious seasons in the SAFA, never finishing higher on the list than fifth. Nevertheless, it was quite a popular and well supported club, and indeed for a time was able to field both first and second twenties, something which the ostensibly stronger Victorian and South Park clubs never managed.
Kensington’s final season saw it embark on a merger arrangement with Adelaide which was a prelude to both clubs disappearing, in Kensington’s case for good. (Adelaide would later re-emerge, albeit briefly.)
During the twentieth century two further clubs bearing the Kensington name emerged, one for a single season in 1912, and the other between 1925 and 1935. The first club competed in the Adelaide and Suburban Football Association, while the second spent the period from 1925 to 1932 in the East Torrens competition, and its last three seasons as a member of the South Australian Amateur Football League. This second Kensington combination, which for most of its existence played its home matches at the Victoria Park Racecourse, was quite successful. It won an A2 premiership in its first season in the amateurs, and came third in A1 the following year. Only in its final season, when it had difficulty recruiting players, did it struggle, finishing bottom of the A1 ladder with just 1 win from 14 games. The player recruitment problem was so severe, however, that the club was forced to disband at the end of the 1935 season.
1 'The Register', 6/5/1873