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An Introduction to Charles Boyles

Charles Boyles SLV2008.122/451 (Cropped) Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Charles Boyles SLV2008.122/451 (Cropped) Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection

The website is centred around the photos of Charles Boyles, a Melbourne-based photographer. Boyles primarily took photos of Australian Rules Football teams and players. He appears to have started this football work in the late twenties. He continued through the 1930's, the years of the Second World War, and then right up to his final photos in the early sixties.

Unlike most commercial photographers, Charles Boyles did not wait for customers to come to him. Boyles set up his camera on training nights, and on game days took posed team photos after the players had run onto the ground. These were sold directly to the clubs, players and general public. On Saturdays, at the games, the photographer's son Harley Boyles (and others) would take a satchel of mixed photos and sell them throughout the game. Unlike newspaper photos, therefore, a Boyles photo was something you could own, take home, and treasure.

There are no action shots or photos of games in progress. Boyles specialised in team photos and player portraits, with the players looking directly to camera. Today these photos are used by clubs, by family historians, and by those interested in football history. They often appear uncredited in football history books.

Boyles did not restrict himself to the leading football competition of his era, the Victorian Football League. During his working life he attended many different competitions. He covered the VFA, Wartime Services matches, the various Victorian workplace competitions, the Sunday leagues, and other competitions.

Learn More about the Life of Charles Boyles

Read Ken's article on the methods, motives and life of Charles Boyles. The article includes notes from an extensive interview with Harley Boyles about his father. See Charles Edward Boyles: From Tripod to Website.

Website Aims and Objectives

This website contains work by two independent researchers, Ken Mansell and Michael Riley. Our objective is to share our own passion for history and provide a friendly resource for family historians, football buffs and others who have an interest in the Charles Boyles photos and more generally in football photography from the 1920's to 1960's.

A Football History Website

This site has grown to cover more than just football photos. There is an amazing amout to explore. You can start with articles, player pages, ground pages, team and league pages as well as information on players careers outside football.

All Football Photographers Not Just Charles Boyles Photos

This site contains photos from many of Boyles's contemporaries. These contrast Boyles's style, and add to an understanding of sport, photography, and the football of the time.

Football Outside the VFL

Charles Boyles took photos of VFL teams, but also took photos of VFA teams, Workplace Teams and teams in Junior Leagues. Also, for many players the VFL was just a small part of their footballing story. This site attempts to build a picture of the football world during Boyle's working period. This world is worth explored through articles and the pages thoughout the website.

Sources of Images on this Website

We are not associated with any library or institution. We have received permission from a variety of people and institutions to include their images on this particular website. Each photo is labelled as to it's source. Please contact the relevant source for permission to reproduce any images.

The appearance of an image on this website does not mean that it is public domain. Although many (not all) photos are out of copyright, many images are available here under 'Terms of Use' agreements with the relevant organisation.

We credit the photographer and the photo source wherever possible,



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Author: Roger Spaull - Published At: 2014-07-16 15:16 - (348 Reads)
This is a story about Richmond’s star forward Ray Poulter who played 170 VFL games between the years 1945-1956.

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Advertising from the VFL Football Record 1929-32

Author: Michael Riley (Edited by Ken Mansell) - Published At: 2012-09-13 10:24 - (806 Reads)
Boyles and His Photos
The State Library of Victoria's digitized version of the VFL Football Record is a useful primary source for football research.

As I searched the Football Record for other purposes, the advertisements kept catching my eye. After a while I began to collect them. Below I have reproduced the most interesting advertisements of the 1929-32 period. Many of the advertisements in the Football Record incorporated a football theme, and I hope you find them of similar interest.

1914 - Football in Photos

Author: Michael Riley. Edited by Ken Mansell - Published At: 2014-02-01 12:35 - (2304 Reads)
The pictorial article below will afford a glimpse at Australian Rules football in the year of 1914. 1914 of course was the last football season before the full onset of the Great War and its catastrophic effects on the Australian population. The War interrupted sport and had a seriously disruptive impact on most football competitions. The War caused many Leagues to actually shut down altogether, and it created division in those that continued playing.

Thousands, indeed millions, of people were either killed, maimed, or mentally scarred, in the War. Those involved in football - players, officials and supporters - were hardly immune from the effects. Many managed to rebuild their lives after the War and were able to participate in, or contribute to, the dynamic 1920's. For football, the 1920's decade was very different from those that had preceded it. There were important changes in the rules, Leagues were restructured, and goal-kicking rates increased.

1914 will be remembered as the year the great Port Adelaide team, which had dominated the game in South Australia, defeated the VFL premiers Carlton in the very last Championship of Australia match. It will also be remembered for the demise of the University club in the VFL, and for the unfortunate timing of the Sydney (football) Carnival.



Footballers and the Tradition of Professional Foot-running

Author: Michael Riley (Edited by Ken Mansell) - Published At: 2013-05-03 13:03 - (3093 Reads)
Before real money could be made playing football, players with a turn of speed could supplement their income through professional foot-running, especially in the summer months.

From World Professional Sprint Champion Austin Robertson, to the depth of footballer talent at the Stawell Gift, and to the grudge sprint at the 1950 ANFC Football Carnival, this article looks at some of the key names and moments in the history of sprinting footballers.




Examples of Boyles Photos

Kew Sub Districts 1939 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Kew Sub Districts 1939 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
North West Suburbs Police Team circa 1935 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
North West Suburbs Police Team circa 1935 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Carlton Seconds, 1956 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Carlton Seconds, 1956 - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Bob Wilkie - St Kilda - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Bob Wilkie - St Kilda - State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Rose, Bob (SLV 122_188) - Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Rose, Bob (SLV 122_188) - Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Hale, Jack (SLV 122_137) - Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection
Hale, Jack (SLV 122_137) - Source: State Library of Victoria Photographic Collection


Do you have a Boyles Photo?

Read Michael's article on characteristics of Boyles photos that may help you identify one in your own collection. See Identifying Boyles Photos - Style and Format of Charles Boyles Photographs.



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