Summary

Alternative name: Flag

Pennant presented to the Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd staff Australian Rules football team for winning the 1949 C Grade VFASD football premiership, at the Brunswick Football Oval in Melbourne. Kodak played against Moore Engineering.

The donor, Mr Walter Whitworth, played the position of ruck and kicked the winning goal in the match. Walter was awarded a free kick just before the final siren went, and he dramatically kicked a goal after the siren had sounded to win the match for Kodak. He was allowed to keep the pennant flag that the team won for the premiership.

Kodak’s Managing Director, Mr Edgar Rouse, was so thrilled with the premiership win by the company team that he presented all of the players with specially made ‘premiers ties’, and also generously gave the team a weekend away at a hotel in Cowes on Philip Island as a reward for their great sporting achievement.

The VFASD football competition was apparently for factory teams in Melbourne. Other teams in this industrial league for workplace football probably included Bryant and May, Abbotsford Brewery, Paragon, SEC, similar to the cricket league for factories.They played at suburban football grounds around Melbourne, including Fitzroy, Brunswick, Collingwood and Prahran. Walter recalled that he played Saturday and Sunday league.

Physical Description

Blue flag with white text sewn on and rope tie. It has a manufacturing label sewn in on the side where the rope is contained.

Significance

This pennant is a rare item that enhances our understanding of photographic manufacturing and retailing in Australia, and specifically traces the history of Kodak and its workforce in Australia, bringing the factory workers to life through a pennant flag that tells a story about a company football team premiership win. This particular item not only tells the story of sport and recreation among Kodak workers, showing insight into a different aspect of working life at the company, but it also feeds into the larger story of workplace sport, and specifically football, which had been a popular pursuit in Melbourne, especially in the interwar years.

During its heyday, workplace football was significant in working class identity, culture and politics. It also played a role in industrial relations through promoting company values and employee harmony. The paternalistic gesture of providing a tie to the Kodak football team for their sporting achievement highlights the strong family culture that Kodak promoted among its staff. Workplace football also contributed to the changing nature of the football game and spectatorship.

Following WWII, workplace football underwent a gradual decline and by the end of the twentieth century it had largely disappeared. As industry had shifted from its previously male dominated, inner-city domain to include more women in the workforce in new outer suburban locales after WWII, there was less interest in workplace football, especially as the link diminished between where people lived and worked, and company related sport required travelling across the city away from home. Increased leisure time and new leisure opportunities, a more affluent society and lifestyle changes in the post-war also contributed to a shift away from company based sporting activity.

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