On 26 September 1883 the Fitzroy Football Club was formed at the Brunswick Hotel (Fitzroy) with a meeting chaired by local tailor John McMahon. The team was composed of the remnants of the local Normanby club. Its first game was played on 26 April 1884 Brunswick St against Richmond Union, resulting in a draw in Fitzroy's favour. The following year a grandstand and pavilion were erected at Brunswick St. By 1888 Fitzroy was touring southern New South Wales playing against local sides; it won a game of football against a touring English Rugby team at the Association Ground in Sydney. Fitzroy won the premiership in 1895.
The club, formerly a member of the Victorian Football Association, was one of the break-away clubs which in 1896 formed the Victorian Football League. Fitzroy's best years were its early ones, winning five premierships before 1914. Its premiership wins were:
1895 defeated South Melbourne
1898 defeated Essendon
1899 defeated South Melbourne
1904 defeated Carlton
1905 defeated Collingwood
1913 defeated St Kilda
1916 defeated Carlton
1922 defeated Collingwood
1944 defeated Richmond
Fitzroy won its third VFL premiership, in 1904 and included the first Aboriginal player in a premiership side. Joe Johnson also played in the 1905 premiership side. He played a total of 55 games for Fitzroy.
The Fitzroy Football Club was known as the Maroons 1883-1938, the Gorillas 1938-1957 and the Lions 1957-1996.
Fitzroy suffered financial difficulties in the 1980s and merged with the Brisbane Bears to form the Brisbane Lions in 1996.
Australian Places website, Monash University http://arts.monash.edu/ncas/multimedia/gazetteer/list/fitzroy.html, accessed 20/10/2003
Fitzroy Football Club website http://www.fitzroyfc.com.au/home.html, accessed 20/10/2003