Adelaide, Melbourne Photo. Co., 16, 18 and 20, Rundle Street, 1879.
An albumen paper photograph (209 × 258 mm), on the original mount (external dimensions 406 × 440 mm), ruled and captioned in gilt, recently matted (visible image size 320 × 355 mm), ready for framing (or long-term storage in its custom-made Mylar sleeve).
The photograph has two minor blemishes dating back to its production (some touching-up to the top left-hand corner, and a short closed tear to the bottom edge, clearly present when it was mounted); slight silverfish nibbling to the edges; the mount has a few light waterstains visible (most of them are masked by the new mat); overall a very presentable example of a very rare group portrait.
Those featured in the photograph are (left to right, top to bottom) are G.F. Sharpe, T. Reid, C. Kerr, R. Absalom, S.A. Wallace (captain), A. Mehrtens (vice-captain), Jno. Donnell, C. Coley, J. Douglas, C.C. Kingston (Association delegate); F. Mehrtens, H. Griggs, D. Green, W. Kemp, D. Young, J. Couche, W. Shaw, W. Green; A.W. Jones, M.J. Considine, B. Mehrtens, G. Wood, W. Dixon, and R. Coonan. In ink on the verso is the name 'Considine' (cropped of its initial letter); doubtless, this photograph originally belonged to Martin Considine, a member of the team. By extraordinary coincidence, some 42 years after this portrait was taken, a lengthy article about it appeared in a local newspaper, 'The Mail' (Adelaide, Saturday, 24 September 1921): 'Only one club is South's senior. Port was first to see the light in 1870, and is therefore six years older than the southerners. Both Port and South were in existence prior to the advent of the association, in days even before Norwood came on the scene. In those times the meeting of the pioneer teams meant a clash in a very real sense because a game between the old warriors would be considered game indeed if it didn't end with a fight or two. Ancient followers of the pastime will proudly tell you that those were the days when men knew how to play football! The articles appearing in these columns on football of other days have created a wide interest, even some of the South Australian veterans now residing outside the State having expressed their appreciation of the revival of those cherished memories. A portrait of the South Adelaide Football Club of 1879 brought to the "Mail" Office by Mr Bowden, of Gouger Street, has almost a priceless value to-day. What a group it is! Sam Wallace was skipper and Iney Mehrtens vice-captain, and at each end of the picture stands a bearded figure - the first that of George Sharp (secretary of the club in the early seventies) and the other that of the late Charles Cameron Kingston (then Association delegate). Mr Sharp is among the few surviving members of the old team. In his seventy first year, he is still at work as record keeper at the Local Court. Prior to entering the service he was for 24 years accountant in the legal office of Mr Kingston. So he ought to be a man worth interviewing.... Sam Wallace, he said, "was one of the best followers in the Carlton Club before he came to Adelaide and captained South. The brothers Mehrtens - Benno, Iney, and Figo - were also splendid men. Bill Kemp was one of the best place-kicks in his time. In fact, I don't think anyone could beat him now. Other great players were Dave and Bill Green, Charley Kerr, Jack Donnell, the late schoolmaster, Toby Jones, a champion mile winner and one of the fastest players in the State, Dave Young, who followed me as secretary, Guinea Dixon, who afterwards played for Norwood, Bob Absalom, a Victorian importation who was a magnificent footballer, Ted Colby, one of the old originals and an interstate man, Jack Couche, a strong footballer who could play anywhere, Martin Considine, a big follower of about 15st., and Dick Coonan, who later went to Norwood"' (AustralianFootball website). The South Adelaide Football Club website adds a few more interesting facts, not least about Charles Cameron Kingston (1850-1908): 'From its very beginning, it wore blue and white, colours which it has carried right through the 140 years of its history to the present day. South Adelaide was credited with the premiership of the newly formed South Australian Football Association in its first year of operation in 1877, and then won another six premierships (and finished runner-up seven times) in the next twenty years.... Characters from those early years included its first secretary, Charles Cameron Kingston (pictured above top-right wearing his trademark top hat). Kingston played for the club during its first two seasons. He then took on the role as the club's first secretary, a position he held until 1879. He was also President of the club for 28 consecutive years until 1904, during which time he was also Premier and Attorney-General of South Australia, a member of the committee responsible for drafting the constitution for the Commonwealth of Australia, and Minister of Trade in the very first Federal Government'.