Fa Medal

WA’s big hand in the foundation of football

FROM THE VAULTS…There is a West Australian link to the foundation of the English Football Association. Perth-born Frederick Henry Moore was among those who gathered at the Freemasons’ Tavern near Covent Garden in London in 1863 to agree on a set of rules for football, effectively giving birth to the game as we know it after years of disputes on how it should be played.
Moore was recorded in the minutes as one of two representatives of Blackheath Football Club, the other being Francis Campbell. That meeting on 26 October 1863, and five subsequent gatherings over a six week period, laid down the Laws of the Game for the first time.
Moore, a member of an influential WA family, had gone to England to finish his education and became involved with the Blackheath club, eventually becoming club captain. He was one of 15 players from various clubs and schools who met to decide on the rules, which were few and far between because nobody could agree on a wide range of issues such as handling, charging, hacking and offside, not to mention the size of ball, dimensions of the field and methods of scoring.
On the first night, Arthur Pember of No Names (Kilburn) was elected president; Ebenezer Morley (pictured), a London solicitor of Barnes, was appointed secretary; and Blackheath’s Francis Campbell became treasurer.
That was the easy part; many hours were spent in lively and, at times, acrimonious debate before the laws of association football were eventually published in December.

But Blackheath insisted on adopting some of the ‘manly values’ of rugby rules and could not accept the elimination of ‘hacking’. The club resigned from the Football Association just weeks after paying the membership fee of one guinea. They stuck to their principles and Blackheath was later in the unique position of also being a founding member of the Rugby Union in 1871. But Moore had returned to Australia before Blackheath turned solely to rugby.
He was born in 1839 at Oakover, the family farm and vineyard at Guildford in the Swan Valley (see pic of the Oakover estate as it is now). His father Samuel had emigrated from Ireland and became a prominent businessman, with interests that included farming, cargo shipping and the chairmanship of the Western Australia Bank. He died in 1849, leaving his wife to look after a young family.
Fred, using the knowledge he had gained on the family vineyard, had worked as a wine merchant in London with his uncle’s company, Dalgety and Co, a growing import-export agency. In 1864, Dalgety & Co sent him to New Zealand and he spent the rest of his career with the company, based in Dunedin, Christchurch and Tasmania before settling in Sydney, where he became managing director. He was also a director of Imperial Insurance and of the Union Bank of Australia.

A man of broad interests and intellect, he was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Union Club in Sydney and of the Australian Jockey Club.
He lived to the age of 95, the last survivor of that historic meeting of the Football Association in 1863. He died in Hobart on 2 April 1934 and is buried in the town’s Cornelian Bay Cemetery.
Fred was the nephew of George Fletcher Moore, the first Advocate-General of WA. His brothers were William Dalgety Moore and Samuel Fortescue Moore, all of whom were well known in WA. His mother was Dorothy Dalgety, whose father was one of the last military commandants in the Tower of London.


Fred’s eldest brother, William Dalgety Moore, was active in political and civic affairs. He represented Fremantle in the colony’s Legislative Council from August 1870 to May 1872. He was briefly treasurer of the Fremantle Town Council which replaced the Town Trust in 1871. In that year he served on the committee formed to investigate the construction of a deep-water jetty at Fremantle, and in 1892 was a Legislative Council representative on another committee set up to study C. Y. O’Connor’s proposals for an inner harbour.
While manager of W. D. Moore & Co. he conducted pearl-fishing at Shark Bay in 1877-87 and built a flour-mill in Nairn Street in Fremantle known as the Phoenix because it ‘rose from the ashes’ of one that had been burned down. It was later renamed the Eureka Mill. The building still stands, but is no longer a flour mill. The W.D. Moore and Co headquarters in Henry Street in Fremantle is also still there, but is used for other purposes.
FOOTNOTE: Hacking is the name of a tactic in early rugby which has since been banned. It involved tripping an opposing player by kicking their shins. The dispute over hacking eventually lead to the schism between rugby football and association football.

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