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Timeline - the Growth of Australian Rules Football around the World

Initially compiled by Brett Northey from various sources, maintained by WFN editors


Most organised codes of football around the world began to be formalized in the 19th century, before which the various forms tended to overlap. The distinct game of Australian Rules football began to take shape in the 1850s, in Melbourne in the British colony of Victoria, which would go on to be a state of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 (the year of Australian federation). By the start of the 20th century the game had spread to all parts of the country, and New Zealand, and was already the primary sport in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. By the 1990s, 140 years after it started, Australian football was clearly the dominant national Australian football code, and had begun to put down what appear to be permanent roots in several other countries. 2002 saw the first International Cup, and in the first decade of the 21st century, international growth of the game reached unprecedented levels, showing no sign of slowing going into the 2010s. Timelines for each century of Australian football are below.

19th Century
20th Century
21st Century



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