Charles Brownlow

This is the grave of a man that every AFL fan recognises; Charles Brownlow.

Charles ‘Chas’ Brownlow was born in Geelong and educated at the Geelong College. He played for the highly successful Geelong football team of the 1880s, initially under the name of Charles Green because he didn’t want his father to know that he was wasting his Saturday afternoons at what his dad described as a ‘frivolous game’.

Eventually he did tell his father – when he was made captain of the team – and in his first year in charge, Geelong won the 1888 championship.

Chas didn’t just play for Geelong, was also secretary of the club, for 37 years, as well as caretaker president of the VFL in 1918 and 1919.

Throughout his playing career, and also his administration years, Charles Brownlow was always known as a fair, clean, even-handed player. He was, in short, a true sportsman. 

So it was decided the year after his death that a medal should be awarded each year by the league, with his name on it, to the player who was independently judged the best and fairest in the game.

Fittingly, the first player to win the Brownlow medal, in 1925, was another Geelong player, Carji Greaves.

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