This is a very short history of a very short lived junior football club in Corowa, NSW between 1905 and 1907 which my grandfather, Ray HOUSE was involved in.
While researching the life of my great grandmother, Pauline SANDMANN HOUSE in Corowa from 1899-1911 (see my earlier blog post Christmas Novelties, such as never before seen in Corowa); I found articles about my grandfather, Ray HOUSE’s involvement in the Starlight Football Club. I never met him as he died well before I was born and my mother died when I was young so I don’t recall any stories about her father; these treasures from TROVE are greatly appreciated. The club was obviously a stand alone club and I haven’t found anything yet that indicates it was part of a larger club or association. I’ve only found articles about the club’s activities from reports in the Corowa Free Press, the Corowa Chronicle and the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express.
I wondered why I only found articles in May and June (and July in 1907) of each of the three years which seemed like a short season but recently found an article dated 25 May 1907 recounting a meeting of the Corowa and District Football Association in Howlong which was attended by representatives from Balldale, Howlong, Corowa and Wahgunyah. It reported that the group firstly, considered a motion to have a 3 match season but this was amended to hold a 4 match season in that year. So that explains why the reports were only for 2 or 3 months; I had no idea that seasons were so short in that time.
The first report I found was in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express on Friday 26 May 1905 which reported on the first match between the Starlights and the Albury Hopetouns. The report talked about “boys” and not “men” which made me think it was a junior side and that was confirmed when I realised that Ray was only 15 at the time. They seem to be an enterprising group of young men who had formally organised themselves into a football club. I also noted that a number of the surnames in the Starlight’s team were also listed in adult Corowa teams so either the teenagers were also playing for Corowa or their older brothers, cousins and fathers were. The Corowa Starlights eventually beat the Hopetouns 5 goals 2 behinds to 2 goals 1 behind in that first match. Best players for Corowa were DUNNE, BROOKS, HUTTON, O’LEARY, ROSE and Reay HOUSE (I presume this is my grandfather, Ray HOUSE). Interestingly for me, the match was umpired by a D. HAIG to the satisfaction of both sides because Ray’s sister, Clarice married David HAIG, a saddler of Albury the next year – I wonder if the umpire was his brother in law to be?
There is another mention of the Starlights in the Corowa Free Press Friday 16 June 1905 in the Football Notes when it reported that the team to play a return match with Albury Hopetouns will be drawn from HUTTON (Capt.), GRIMMOND, ROSE, ROLAND, BROOKS, HOUSE, CAMPLIN, NOONAN (2), NUGENT, GALLAGHER, PARRY, FRANKLAND, ROACH, WRIGHT, O’LEARY, MORAN, O’HALLORAN, DUNN, WEBSTER, ROWBOTTOM, JONES, SQUIRES, HOYSTED.
A week later, the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express reported that on 23 June 1905, that the Albury Hopetouns were defeated by Corowa Starlight’s at Corowa. The score was Starlights, 6 goals 7 behinds and Hopetouns, 2 goals 3 behinds.
There is a mention of my great grandmother’s shop in the next article I found, this time in the Corowa Chronicle on Saturday 2 June 1906 in their Football column. This was a very long report of a team meeting in “Mrs HOUSE’s Fruit Shop” with 25 members to plan for their next game against the Albury Hopetouns. The report stated that although they are only young in years, they must be complimented on the orderly manner in which they conducted their meeting. The paragraph that jumped out at me was this one. Mr Ray HOUSE presented the members with travelling caps which were in unison with the club’s colours, red and black, the gift being greatly appreciated. He was only 16 at this stage. so I’m really impressed to read that my grandfather showed so much initiative. The club decided to leave Corowa on Sunday morning at 7 am, so players should try and be ready to leave punctually at the appointed time.
The following letter to the editor in the Corowa Free Press on the 8th June 1906 was an unusual tongue in cheek comment on the season opening match in the Corowa Starlight’s Football Club and the Albury Hopetouns.
On 3rd May 1907, there was a meeting notice in the Corowa Free Press signed by my grandfather as the Honorary Secretary of the club. This notice reminded members that a meeting of the Starlight Football Club will be held on Thursday 2nd May at 7.30pm.
The Corowa Chronicle carried a report of this meeting on the 4th of May – there were only 13 members present this time and Ray chaired the meeting. He was only 17 going on 18 at this time so I’m really impressed with his organising ability. Office bearers were elected and the secretary was “instructed to write to the Hopetoun club at Albury to arrange matches between the 2 clubs. It was decided that the team colours would be red and black (which I understand were and are the Corowa team colours).
On the 18th May, the Corowa Chronicle recorded that there had been a well attended meeting of members of the Starlight Football Club held again at Mrs HOUSE’s fruit shop which was in Sanger St (next to the School of Arts). The members elected J. GRIMMOND as the Captain and W. DUNN as the Vice captain. The selection group met after the meeting and selected – BROOK, HOYSTED, ROWLAND, GRIMMOND, DUNN, GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), O’HALLORAN, MCCORMACK, RIVERS, HOUSE, KILGOUR, NUGENT, CLANCY, BROWN, HUTCHINS, GIBBS, KNEEN, JOHNSON and NOONAN.
Later in the month, the Starlight team were thrashed by Howlong 10 goals 5 behinds to Nil!!  Can’t have been a very happy team on the journey home that night.
A few days later, the club met to select a team to play Albury (presumably the Hopetouns). Selected were WYER, BROOKS, KILGOUR, DUNN, PARRY, NOONAN (2), O’HALLORAN, GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), JONES, GRIMMOND, BREWER, HUTCHINGS, SEYMOUR, and HOUSE. Emergencies : McCORMACK, Hoysted and Rivers. The Club has engaged Crawford and Co’s drag to convey the team.
At the end of May, a team was selected again to play against the Hopetouns at Albury  on Monday next (3rd June). The team comprised GRIMMOND (Capt), DUNN, WYER, BROOKS, PARRY, KILGOUR, HOUSE, O’HALLORAN, NOONAN (2), GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), JONES, BREWER, HUTCHINGS, SEYMOUR. Emergencies were HOYSTED, McCORMACK and RIVERS. Importantly players were reminded that the drag will leave the Royal Hotel at 7am on Sunday.
The last report I could find in the Corowa papers was dated 13 July 1097 when the Starlights played against a team of Howlong juniors in Corowa. The previous time they played Howlong, they didn’t even score but this time the Corowaites………. were determined to turn the tables on their opponents when they got them on their own ground. And they did! The final score was Corowa 2 goals 6 behinds, Howlong 2 goals. Not an overwhelming win but a win nevertheless. I presume the remark and nickname of the umpire Butcher O’Brien who is quite at home either as an umpire or a player, umpired the game in a masterly way and gave every satisfaction, applied to his trade/business not his playing attitude.
I’m so grateful to the National Library of Australia for providing free digital access to many of our newspapers as they give such a great insight into our ancestors’ lives. This website is called TROVE and available from anywhere in the world.
For information on the current Corowa Rutherglen Football club click on the link. For history of the Corowa Football check out their Wikpedia entry.
I’d love to hear from anyone with further information and photos of the Starlight Football Club; please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Corowa Chronicle, 25th May 1907, p5
 Albury Banner and Wodonga Express,26 May 1905, p19
 Corowa Free Press, 16 June 1905, p3
 Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 23 June 1905, p19
 Corowa Chronicle, 2 June 1906, p5
 Corowa Free Press, 3 May 1907, p6
 Corowa Chronicle,, 4 May 1907, p5
 Corowa Chronicle, 18 May 1907, p5
 Corowa Free Press, 23 Jan 1906, p1
 Corowa Chronicle, 25 May 1907, p5
 Corowa Chronicle, 29th May, 1907, p3
 Corowa Free Press, 31 May 1907, p7
 Corowa Chronicle, 13 July 1907,p5