In 1919, Wests were again a fairly settled side with only six new debutants added to the First-Grade team. These additions were in the main experienced players which added further depth to the Club. A number of former players had either returned or would return from the war during the season and some would go on and contribute to the playing strength over the coming years. Among these was the distinguished war veteran Westley Easterbrook.

1919 was not without its problems as the Spanish influenza took hold. Ernest “Fogey” Palmer, one of the Lithgow quartet that came down to play with Wests in 1910, succumbed rapidly to influenza in the middle of the year. In September it was reported that after a final between Cooma and Nimmitabel, a “loving cup” (cup filled with drink) was passed around and within days, six of the thirteen Cooma players succumbed to influenza.

At the Annual General Meeting in April 1919, there was some reflection on the decade past. It was noted that Wests have made good, after getting little else but kicks and liniment for nine or ten years: the last season was a great success, and each First-Grade player collected a bonus of 40 Pounds. The affluence was commented on by Easterbrook, a returned Anzac, who noting an item on the balance sheet for “coffee and refreshments,” remarked, in an awe-struck manner; “What! refreshments? I remember when we couldn’t afford six penneth of oranges.”

It seems that Wests had made it and in 1919 the Club had another relatively good year, finishing fourth in the regular competition and once again winning the City Cup competition.

Western Suburbs City Cup winners 1919

Back: R Bossi, T Dowswell (Selector), W Barclay (Trainer), C McFadyen (Trainer), A Prentice (Selector)
Third Row: E Mead (Delegate), W Easterbrook, C Tye, H Leddy, W Joass, E Stapleton, J Reidy, E McFadyen (Secretary)
Sitting: R Vest, A McPherson, P Burns, E Courtney, T McCauley, A White, C Prentice
Front: W Connolly, A Bossi, W Matthews, F Egan,
Absent: H Gilbert (Captain), C Elliott (Treasurer), W Collins, J Redmond, G Stettler, R Ritchie

Western Suburbs Reserve Grade 1919

Back: C McFayden (Trainer), H Antilla, F. Walker, C Stapleton, H Lee, R Howell, W Barclay (Trainer)
Middle: W Benson (Selector), D Mathews, F Egan, R Bossi, E Larkin, R Ritchie, P Nudson (Trainer), C Potter, C Elliott (Secretary)
Front: A Smith, S Shaw, M Downie, A Bossi (Captain), J Stettler, S Brogan, E Dennis

Then there was Peace!

The Great War took its toll on the population. Many young men had prematurely lost their life or bore the permanent scars of the battlefield, both physically and mentally, on their return. To celebrate, Peace Day was officially declared on 19 July 1919 across the British Empire. In Sydney there was a great parade in the morning where returned troops marched, church bells rang, and the city was festooned in flags and streamers.

In the afternoon, many sporting events were conducted and rugby league showcased its support for the Diggers and an optimistic future by staging a program of games at the SCG, highlighting a return of interstate football between NSW and Queensland. The main curtain raiser was between NSW Country and a combined AIF thirteen.

Front: AIF, 2nd Row: NSW Country, 3rd Row: NSW Officials, 4th Row: New Zealand, 5th Row: Queensland, Back Row: NSW
Note: Wests players, V Farnsworth, R Farnsworth, W Easterbrook, J Redmond and E Brooks, were in the AIF team.

Scroll to Top