The 1961 Brisbane Carnival was the 15th edition of the Australian National Football Carnival, an Australian rules football interstate competition. It was the last carnival to be held in Queensland.

It was one of the most competitive carnivals to have been played, with the traditional carnival powerhouse Victoria going down to Western Australia in the final game to give Western Australia its first carnival victory since 1921.[1] Despite Victoria comfortably accounting for South Australia, the Western Australians narrowly lost their game to South Australia. Tasmania, who traditionally struggle, lost all games but got within seven points of the South Australians. With Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria all finishing on 2 wins and a loss, Western Australia won the championship due to a superior percentage.[2]

In 2014, the Western Australian team from this carnival was inducted as a whole into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.[3]


Although the carnival took place in Brisbane, no Queensland team competed in the tournament. The four teams were Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.

Western Australia Squad

Coach: Jack Sheedy
Player[4] Club
Mal Atwell East Perth
Ken Bagley Swan Districts
Haydn Bunton Jr. (c) Swan Districts
Derek Chadwick East Perth
Jack Clarke East Fremantle
John Colgan South Fremantle
Joe Fanchi West Perth
Graham Farmer East Perth
Ray Gabelich West Perth
John Gerovich South Fremantle
Denis Marshall Claremont
John Todd (v/c) South Fremantle
John Turnbull Swan Districts
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Although John Colgan was named in the squad, he had to withdraw due to injury.


Game 1
Saturday, 15 July Victoria 21.22 (148) def. South Australia 13.12 (90) The Gabba
Game 2
Sunday, 16 July Western Australia 24.23 (167) def. Tasmania 10.6 (66) The Gabba (crowd: 7,192) Match report
Game 3
Wednesday, 19 July Western Australia 15.17 (107) def. by South Australia 16.13 (109) The Gabba Match report
Game 4
Wednesday, 19 July Victoria 20.30 (150) def. Tasmania 12.17 (89) The Gabba (crowd: 4746) Match report
Game 5
Sunday, 23 July South Australia 15.17 (107) def. Tasmania 14.16 (100) The Gabba
Game 6
Sunday, 23 July Western Australia 15.14 (104) def. Victoria 14.11 (95) The Gabba (crowd: 7,500) Match report

Points table

State Played Won Lost Points for Pointsagainst % Points
Western Australia 3 2 1 378 270 140.0 8
Victorian 3 2 1 393 283 138.9 8
South Australia 3 2 1 306 355 86.2 8
Tasmania 3 0 3 255 424 60.1 0

All-Australian team

In 1961 the All-Australian team was picked based on the Brisbane Carnival. Ron Barassi was named as captain. West Australian ruckman Jack Clarke became the first person to be named in four All Australian teams.[5]

1961 All-Australian team
B: Neil Kerley (SA, West Adelaide) John Abley (SA, Port Adelaide) John Schultz (Vic, Footscray)
HB: Ted Whitten (Vic, Footscray) Ray Gabelich (WA, West Perth) Bob Shearman (SA, West Torrens)
C: Brian Dixon (Vic, Melbourne) John Halbert (SA, Sturt) John Todd (WA, South Fremantle)
HF: Don Roach (SA, West Adelaide) Don Lindner (SA, North Adelaide) Darrel Baldock (Tas, Latrobe)
F: Graham Farmer (WA, East Perth) Geoff Kingston (SA, West Torrens) Bob Withers (Tas, North Launceston)
Foll: Jack Clarke (WA, East Fremantle) Ron Barassi (Vic, Melbourne) (captain) Allen Aylett (Vic, North Melbourne)
Int: Ray Sorrell (WA, East Fremantle) Bill Wedding ( SA, Norwood)

Tassie Medal

Brian Dixon of the VFL won the Tassie Medal after beating East Fremantle's Jack Clarke by one vote.[6]

Player State Votes received Total
Brian Dixon Victoria 3,3,2 8
Jack Clarke Western Australia 3,3,1 7
Allen Aylett Victoria 3,2 5
Darrel Baldock Tasmania 3,1 4
Don Lindner South Australia 2,1 3
Graham Farmer Western Australia 2 2
Frank Adams Victoria 2 2
Neil Kerley South Australia 2 2
Colin Moore Tasmania 1 1
Derek Chadwick Western Australia 1 1
Bob Withers Tasmania 1 1


  1. ^ "Rules Reign by Victoria Ended". The Canberra Times. 24 July 1961. p. 16. Retrieved 29 October 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ Carter, Ron (24 July 1961). "W.A. Triumphs over Victoria. Wins Carnival Title". The Age. p. 20.
  3. ^ Butler, Steve (26 October 2014). "The drought breakers: 1961 footy champions". Archived from the original on 28 October 2014.
  4. ^ "WAIS".
  5. ^ Carter, Ron (24 July 1961). "All Australian Team Surprise". The Age. p. 20. Note: This newspaper report incorrectly names Western Australia's Mal Atwell at full back, instead of South Australia's John Abley.
  6. ^ "Dixon wins Tassie Medal". The Age. 24 July 1961. p. 20.