Home/Latest News
AFL Queensland
Brisbane Lions
Gold Coast FC
Ways to get involved
Contact us


Queensland Footy History

Qld Footy History Overview
19th Century
1903 to 1914
1915 to 1926
1927 to 1940
1941 to 1958
1959 to 1971
1972 to 1986
1987 to 1999
2000 to 2010
2011 to present
Qld Footy Hall of Fame
Qld Players in VFL/AFL
Brisbane Lions History
Gold Coast Suns History
The AFL Competition - Overview and History


Here we are mainly focusing on the history of the game in Queensland.  Many others have comprehensively documented the history of the competition known as the AFL (formerly known as the VFL), so the information on that page is therefore not as detailed as many of the other pages on the site.

The Brisbane Lions History page includes sections devoted to Fitzroy and the Brisbane Bears, the two clubs which merged to form the Brisbane Lions.

The years covering the history of AFL in Queensland are divided into a number of eras as listed above.  An overview of each era is given, along with a summary of the premiership for each year.

There was no formal premiership in Brisbane or southeast Queensland in the 19th century.  Despite the game enjoying a status as the dominant football code at various stages in the 1800s, games in that era were specially-arranged ‘one-off’ matches, and it was not until the formation of the Queensland Football League (QFL) in 1903 that premiership competition commenced in Brisbane.  The first premiership game was in June 1904.

Including the QAFL’s precursors, the premiership has been held every year since with the exception of the period 1915 to 1919 when World War I and the influenza epidemic intervened.

Governing Bodies
The dates when the respective state governing bodies were established or renamed are as follows:

1880  Queensland Football Association (QFA)
1903  Queensland Football League (QFL)
1927  Queensland Australian National Football League (QANFL)
1964  Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL)
1997  Queensland Australian Football Council
2000  AFL Queensland (AFLQ)

The main premiership competition has generally, over the years, taken the name of the governing body of the day, as is the case with the AFL nowadays.  For example, the governing body known as the QAFL would oversee the competition also known as the QAFL.

However, in recent times this has not been the case.  In the late 1990s the Queensland Australian Football Council oversaw the Queensland State Football League.  From 2000 to 2008 AFL Queensland oversaw the State League.  In 2009 and 2010, AFL Queensland oversaw the QAFL.

From 2011 to 2013, AFL Queensland oversaw the NEAFL Northern Conference.

From 2014, the NEAFL has featured teams from Qld, NSW, ACT and NT in the one competition, doing away with the two conferences.  In this period from 2014, AFL Queensland has overseen the QAFL.

Of course the names of sponsors have also long been used when referring to the premiership competition.  In fact the league found a willing sponsor for its very first premiership season, that of 1904 – Heindorff Brothers, a firm of merchants and importers who sold pianos, musical instruments, watches, jewellery and other goods - and the premiership of the day was sometimes referred to as the ‘Heindorff Cup competition’.  In the 1920s, 30s and 40s, the sides were often said to do battle for the ‘Old Court Whisky Shield’, a prize donated by Federal Distilleries.  In the recent past, the premiership was referred to as the ‘Velocity Sports State League’ or the ‘QAFL Velocity Sports Cup’.

Whether it be 1904 or over a century later, sponsorship clearly remains an integral and invaluable part of the game.  Researching the game’s history tends to give you a greater appreciation of the role played by sponsors, from the grassroots level right through to the elite.

Selected images
(images are clickable)

The Queensland team of 1910, photographed at the Gabba.  George Paget, with football, captained the side.

Footy Queensland style:  ‘Queenslander’ houses provide a charming backdrop to this 1930 game between Brisbane-Valley and Mayne at Perry Park.  McEntee of Brisbane-Valley is taking the mark.

A champion of the 1920s and 30s, and member of the Queensland Team of the Century, Clem Ryan.


Last Modified:  1st April 2015

©2015 QAFF