Players came from the local pits. After they finished their shift in the mines, they played football in their hobnailed boots. The native bluebells growing around West Wallsend reminded these British-born miners and miners' sons of ‘home’ and the flowers of a European spring. The club became known as the Bluebells in 1897. Their home pitch was owned by the Caledonian Coal Company.
They played a fast and rough brand of soccer with local teams from Adamstown, Minmi, Burwood, Wallsend and Young Wallsend. The first competitive game was played against the Adamstown Rosebuds in 1892 at Johnston Park, across the road from the Museum Hotel. The game had 1200 spectators.
The West Wallsend community also came together for Football Socials. Three hundred people piled into special carriages and two steamers for a trip to Swansea on 3 December 1898, a payday Saturday.
The club’s successes punctuated the mining boom and mirrored the prosperity of West Wallsend. They won the Gardiner’s Cup in 1900, 1901, 1921, 1923, 1924 and 1926. Players from the Gardiner’s Cup wins went on to play for Australia.
Founded in May 1891, the club continues to play in West Wallsend at Johnston Park.
This work by Lake Macquarie City Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License