By Steve Laffan (Life Member)
In late 1949, a meeting arranged by Jack Hogan ( who at the time was the President of the Hughesdale Junior
Football Club ) and ‘Pop’ Holmes, was held on the first floor of the Mechanics Institute Hall in Drummond Street
Oakleigh, to start up an open age Senior football side, to provide somewhere for all boys over 18, to continue on
with their football. At the time there was only one Senior club in the Oakleigh / Hughesdale area for players, (Oakleigh-VFA)
and after local boys turned 18, there was no other Senior club to progress to. A Committee was
formed from ex-under 18 players, namely Peter Burns, Ron Rees, Pat Richardson, and Ivan Le Griffen.
After donating a set of Collinwood guernseys, the local sports store proprietor, Mr Alan ’Brud’ Laffan accepted the
invitation and was appointed President, and the Oakleigh Districts Football Club became the Magpies. In the
following months much effort was spent, and the new Oakleigh District Football Club was accepted into the
Caulfield-Oakleigh District Football League for its inaugural Season, 1950.
The new Committee met twice with the Oakleigh-VFA Club, however both times they refused to assist the new
Club in any way. The new O.D.F.C. Committee later passed a motion to never wear the purple and gold of the
Oakleigh VFA. The Districts have long memories. In 1994-95 after Oakleigh VFA went into recess, there was some
discussion about ‘the Districts’ taking on the Oakleigh VFA purple & gold guernsey. Those discussing that
possibility were reminded of the motion some 44 years earlier, and the discussion duly ceased.
Stan Le Leivre, from St Kilda F.C. (later President of the S.E.S.F.L., and Life Member of the National Football League)
was appointed the inaugural ‘Firsts’ Captain-Coach, for 1950, and the first home ground, was the ‘Police
Paddocks’ in Park Road, Oakleigh, where the Oakleigh Swimming pool and Recreational Sporting Complex, is now
situated. The ‘Police Paddocks’ only had a one room tin shed. There was no electricity, no shower, and one cold
water tap. The opposition got changed in furniture vans, which were commonly used. The Club moved to the
Edward Street Reserve in 1953 and 1954, then back to the ‘Police Paddocks’ from 1955 to 1963.
With only a very young side, ‘the Districts’ won 3 games in the first year, but with youth on-side, and with
experience gained in the first Season, and a few more local recruits, the Club made the finals in 1951, in only their
second year. They finished fourth, won the First Semi-Final, drew with Carnegie, in the first Preliminary Final, and
were beaten, by 14 points, with Carnegie again kicking 11-21-87 the identical score that they did in the first
Preliminary Final. In 1953, ‘the Districts’ won their first ever ‘Firsts’ Premiership, after only 3 seasons of existence.
But the Club had already started making a name for itself, which was feared, and which demanded respect.
In 1964, and seeking a higher standard, the Club transferred from the C.O.D.F.L, and joined the Federal League.
They also relocated to a new facility at the Princes Highway Reserve, East Oakleigh, and as Clayton FC already
wore the Collingwood jumper, ‘the Districts’ had to change their jumper. They elected to wear a black jumper
with a white sash & collar, black shorts and socks with white tops, when they moved to the Federal League.
In 1982, and after the Federal League had gone into recess, the Club joined the S.E.S.F.L, with the other 7
remaining Federal Clubs. (Cheltenham, Clayton, Noble Park, Oakleigh Districts, Highett and Moorabbin went into
the First Division S.E.S.F.L., whilst Parkdale and Mentone went into the Second Division S.E.S.F.L. Springvale had
transferred to the V.F.A.) In 1993, and following absorption of ESCFA, the SESFL, continued as the ‘Southern
A foundation member of the S.F.L. they remained in the S.F.L. until 2021, when they transferred to the E.F.N.L.
Always a tough and competitive Club, they have had numerous Reserve and Under Age football successes,
(including Women’s football and Netball teams ) but a Senior Men’s football premiership eluded them, being
runners-up on eleven occasions since 1958, until winning the S.F.L Second Division Premiership in 2015. Losing
the 1969 Grand Final against East Malvern by two points was probably their most heart-breaking defeat by kicking
6.20.56 to 8.10.58.