The south and south–east regions of Melbourne have a rich, diverse and sometimes colourful football history.
With five different former associations making up the Southern Football Netball League (SFNL) as we know it now, it takes a very patient and hardworking person to compile such a complex history database - SFNL historian Ross McCulloch is exactly that.
McCulloch has worked tirelessly to compile many photos, historical scores, award winners and grand finals from the old Caulfield-Oakleigh District Football League, Eastern Suburban Football League, Federal Football League, South East Suburban Football League and Eastern Suburbs (Protestant) Churches Football Association.
“I’m the sort of person that doesn't do things half-cocked, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it properly,” Ross McCulloch told SFNL.com.au.
This is a passion that burned bright for Ross, which derived mainly from giving up so much time to his beloved local club, the East Brighton Vampires.
“I've always been interested in that sort of thing (history) and I've done a lot of work on it, which all started with the history of the East Brighton Football Club,” McCulloch says.
“Their keeping of records was second to none.”
McCulloch was a star player and will forever be a Vamps legend, as he kicked over 700 goals in a very lengthy career.
His career which spanned over 345 games, is as great as you will find at any club in local football.
But what he contributed on-field, he has given back even more to the community in spades with his passion for keeping history alive.
“I've got a list of every single person that has ever played a game (for East Brighton), and I took it over and kept it up to date.”
This eventually flowed into keeping history officially for the entire SFNL.
“I've always had a sense of history, my old man played in the VFA with Prahan and he's got a great scrapbook there.”
A local footy tragic, Ross felt it was vital to expand on the history of former leagues and associations in the South Metro region.
With so much history for the Federal Football League before its demise in 1981, it was important that clubs from the other leagues got as much showcased as possible.
“I actually first started with South East Suburban, which was competition I played in, and it lead on to the Caulfield-Oakleigh (Football League), because East Brighton and many other clubs played there, and then it went to the next one and the next one and the next one”,
The new and improved history archive is now live on the SFNL website and features a “hell of a lot of stats” from all five competitions.
An amazing level of work ethic and patience was needed to put it all together, but Ross brushes it off as a task that he loved.
“It doesn’t take that long… mind you, it took over five years,” he says light-heartedly.
Chasing up details and photos from decades ago became part of daily life for the SFNL historian.
From the unfortunate event of Dingley losing a lot of club history that was destroyed in a fire, to recovering heaps of unseen photos of the Carnegie Football Club by venturing down to a man’s house in Seaford. He has plenty of stories to tell about “history hunting” from all the local clubs involved.
He thanks all those who helped him over the five years that he worked on updating the archive.
Ross also gives an individual shout out to local football mastermind Daryl Pitman.
“He’s the bloke that has always been helpful whenever I needed help and got the photos I would never ever get anywhere else,” he says.
A painter and decorator by trade, Ross still finds time to keep up to date with the SFNL, and will watch his beloved Vampires games from time to time.
He was also Senior Vice President of the club recently, and loves to give back to his local community.
Ross McCulloch true legend that has created an important piece for the SFNL to hold onto for the end of time.
Make sure you see all the great work which is now available on SFNL.com.au which you can check out below…