Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Adelaide Football Club (SAFA)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Full name  Adelaide Football Club
Premierships  1866
Founded  26 April 1860
Adelaide Football Club (SAFA)
Dissolved  1893; 124 years ago (1893)
Colours  black,      red, and      white
Competition  Intraclub 1860-1862 Unaffliliated 1862-1876 SAFA 1877-1881, 1885-1893

The Adelaide Football Club was an Australian rules football club, based in Adelaide, that played in the South Australian Football Association (SAFA) from 1877–81 and again from 1885–93. The team won the SAFA premiership in 1886. The club bears no relation to the present Adelaide Football Club playing in the Australian Football League.


1860: Formation at Globe Inn Hotel, Rundle Street

The Adelaide Football Club was formed on Thursday 26 April 1860 at the Globe Inn Hotel, Rundle Street with John Brodie Spence chairing the meeting. It was the first in South Australia, and initially only played matches internally: North (of the River Torrens) v. South. J. B. Spence led one side and John Acraman the other. The first such match was played on the North Parklands on Saturday 28 April 1860. The club had its own game rules. The first recorded match against a rival club was played in 1862 against the Modbury Football Club on a strip of grass near the Modbury Hotel. Adelaide won the game two goals to nil. The two teams met again the next year, and "the game was kept up with the greatest spirit and good feeling, and so equally were the sides matched that not a goal was obtained".

1873-1876: Exile over the games rules

Adelaide stopped playing games against other clubs in 1873 after the Kensington club rules became popular amongst the other clubs at the time but resumed playing games against other clubs in the 1876 season.

1877: SAFA foundation club

In 1877 Adelaide captain Nowell Twopenney was influential in establishing the South Australian Football Association (SAFA), and the club was one of the founding members of the SAFA (now the SANFL). In the SAFA's original season, Adelaide finished third, winning ten, losing three and drawing three of its 16 matches, and finishing with a goal differential of 18. Adelaide finished fifth out of seven teams in each of the next two seasons, and last in 1880.

1881-1884: Merger with Kensington and Dissolution

The team's poor performances forced the club to merge with Kensington for the 1881 season due to a lack of players. The combined team was forced to disband after the 1881 season when it again finished last. During the years from 1882 to 1884 the club did not play in the SAFA.

1885: SAFA Re-entry, Premiers and wins over Carlton and British Lions

The club was re-formed before the 1885 season, combining with Adelaide and Suburban Football Association (ASFA) club North Park to again field a team in the SAFA. The new team finished last out of four teams in 1885, but surprised much of the competition to claim the SAFA premiership in 1886 under the captaincy of J. D. Stephens.

Adelaide was involved in an experimental night game played under electric lights at Adelaide Oval on 1 July 1885. It beat South Adelaide 1 goal 8 behinds to 8 behinds.

Adelaide finished third out of seven teams in each of the next three seasons, also playing matches against the visiting Victorian Football Association (VFA) premiers Carlton in 1887, winning nine goals to three, and against a visiting British team in 1888, winning six goals to three.

1890-1893: Rapid decline and permanent dissolution

By the 1890s, Adelaide were the worst-performed team in the competition, finishing last for four consecutive seasons from 1890–93. The team were forced to disband at the end of the 1893 season.


  • 1886
  • Leading goalkickers

  • 1877: John Young (14 goals)
  • 1886: Richard Stephens (17 goals)
  • References

    Adelaide Football Club (SAFA) Wikipedia