The South Adelaide Football Club traces its origins back to the year 1876; at that time, a few players who had formerly belonged to the Adelaide Football Club decided to form a club of their own. They combined with another group who had broken away in the previous year, and the team we now know as the Panthers had its beginning at a meeting in the Draper Memorial schoolrooms. One of the people responsible for the formation of this new club was Charles Cameron Kingston, who became its first secretary, a position he held until 1879. He was then President of the club 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.
In 1877, the South Australian Football Association was formed and South Adelaide were the first premiers; in the last decade of the nineteenth century, South won the Premiership six times under the eleven year captaincy of J. ‘Dinny' Reedman, who also played Test Cricket for Australia. In 1899, new boundaries were enforced which meant that South lost many of its best players and had to wait another 35 years for its next premiership. During this time, the Panthers were well served by players like Jack Tredrea and Dan Moriarty, who was the first player to win the Knuckey Cup for the team's Best and Fairest which was first presented in 1923. In the years 1919-1921, he had also won three Magarey Medals, following on from the success of F.M. Barry in 1915. To this day Dan Moriarty is the only player to have won three consecutive Magarey Medals, an amazing honour for our club.
At this time their matches were played at the old Jubilee Oval, which was located next to Frome Road in what is now the University of Adelaide. Prior to this, in the 1890's, they had made use of a ground in the South Parklands close to Hutt Street and the old Arab Steed Hotel, where players often used to go for half-time drinks! Other ovals which the club has used for home matches include the Kensington Oval (which was right next to the tram), the Adelaide Oval (which was a real favourite for both players and spectators), and now the new oval at Noarlunga.
In the 1930's, South Adelaide won premierships in both 1935 and 1938, and provided another Magarey medallist in 1935 in Jack Cockburn. Jimmy Deane won the Magarey Medal in both 1953 and 1957 and in 1991 Mark Naley added to the tally. In 1998 Panthers Captain Andrew Osborn also joined the list of South Adelaide Magarey Medallists. South Adelaide's last premiership win was 1964 and last Grand Final appearance was 1979 when losing to Port Adelaide.
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