The Old Camberwell Grammarians’ Amateur Football Club was formed in 1960 and joined the Victorian Amateur Football Association in E Section that season. The club’s first home was Albert Park, however, apart from one season in 2000, the club has been located at Gordon Barnard Reserve since 1961.
During the first two seasons, the club only had sufficient numbers to field a Senior side. It was not until 1962, when a recruiting drive enabled the club to field a Reserves side that there was enough depth and talent to reach the finals. The club played in the 1962 E Section final series, also making an appearance in 1963 and 1964. Unfortunately, the club was unable to do better than a draw in the 1964 Preliminary Final.
Following these early finals appearances, the club did not make it again until 1970, and this was followed by complete failure when the club was relegated to F Section the following year. The club rebounded with a strong year in 1972, winning the Premiership as Champions of F Section and returning to E Section for 1973. The 1972 season served as a springboard for the club moving up through the grades. It also saw the Reserves make the finals for the first time. Finals in 1973 saw promotion to D Section, with strong performances in 1976 and 1977 resulting in a Premiership in 1978 and promotion to C Section.
In 1980, the higher standard resulted in inconsistency throughout the season, ultimately not doing enough to make finals. However, with the formation of the first Under 19s team in 1981, the club surged to a Premiership in 1982 and promotion to B Section. Unfortunately, the club was not up to the standard and it promptly returned to C Section for the 1985 season. Although the club saw finals action in 1985, it was the start of a lean period. The club was unable to sustain an Under 19s team following the 1986 season and had dropped to E Section by the end of 1992.
This prompted some off-field moves in an effort to turn things around. It started with the reformation of the Under 19s in 1991, who won an inaugural Premiership in Section 2 the following year. With the Under 19s filtering through to the Seniors in 1993, the club rebounded with Premierships for both the Seniors and Reserves, promoting the club back to D Section. The 1994 and 1995 seasons saw further finals action. However, with little return, the club’s growth started to stagnate. A poor year in 1997 saw the club relegated to E Section and unable to enter an Under 19s team in 1998.
In preparation for the 1998 season, a concerted recruiting effort bore some fruit, with the club having a strong year on the field. Although they didn’t win the Premiership, the club did make the finals and promptly returned to D Section (later renamed D1 Section). However, 1999 saw the return of the Under 19s team, marking the start of a very successful period for the club.
Throughout the early part of the decade, the club won four Under 19 Premierships in a row from 1999 to 2002 across Red Section up to Section 3. This built a strong foundation for success at Senior level, and in 2001 the Seniors and Reserves both won Premierships in D Section, alongside the Under 19s flag. Over the next few seasons, with a stream of young and talented players progressing through the ranks, complimented by significant efforts to recruit experienced players, this created stability and depth across the club.
Once again, the Under 19s won a Premiership in Section 2 in 2006, and the following year the Seniors took home the flag in C Section. This saw the club return to B Section for the first time since 1984. The Seniors maintained their B Section status in 2008, however, were narrowly relegated back to C Section (now Premier C) at the end of 2009. Despite this, the club’s sixth Under 19s Premiership of the decade in 2009 in North/Section 5, suggested the future was bright.
While the club entered a transition period with the retirement or loss of significant experience, the younger playing group remained competitive. The Seniors played in a Semi and Preliminary Final in 2010 and 2011, respectively, unfortunately losing on both occasions. After just missing the finals in 2012, the club entered a period of dangerously flirting with relegation or finishing in mid-table obscurity between 2013 and 2017.
In 2017, the club introduced its first Senior Women's team with many players joining the club through friends and from a range of local schools. The team tasted immediate success. The single team, placed in Development Division 2, won the Premiership in the inaugural year of women’s football in the VAFA’s 125-year history. Additionally, an Under 19s team re-entered the competition after struggling for several years to maintain a list, which also went on to win the Premiership in Section 5.
With the realignment of the Women’s competition to mirror the Men’s in 2018, the Senior Women were promoted to Premier B. Additionally, the club recruited an entire new team of players, allowing it to field a Women’s Reserves. While the women missed out on the finals, the Senior Men impressively returned to the finals in 2018, losing in a close Semi Final.
In 2019, the club entered a team in the fledgling Under 23 competition, in place of an Under 19 team. However, being a single division, the Under 23s struggled to keep pace with the teams from stronger Premier A clubs. Both women’s teams made the finals, the Seniors losing a dramatic Semi Final by one point in over time and the Reserves making the Preliminary Final. Unfortunately, the men suffered a difficult run of form, resulting in relegation to Division 1 at the end of the season.
The club celebrates its Diamond Jubilee/60 years in 2020 and spurred on by a renewed Under 19s, the opportunity for the men’s teams to bounce back and the women to go one better, will be looking forward to a strong showing across all teams and competitions.