Sherrin was founded in 1880 by Thomas William Sherrin (the T.W Sherrin that is still present on the ball today). Thomas grew up as one of 9 children in a close family. He did not follow his father into carpentry but decided to become a saddler, repairing and manufacturing horse saddles and other leather equipment.
Tom got involved in a small football club called Britannia FC, and the Rugby balls they were using were sent to Tom to be repaired. While doing this he had an idea that would revolutionise the ball. Tom created a new shape that made the ball rounder at the points so that it would bounce more evenly and made it easier to kick.
In 1879 Tom opened a factory at 32 Wellington Street in Collingwood and T.W Sherrin Pty Ltd was established. The new shaped ball was so quickly accepted that the National Football League of Australia eventually used the size and shape as standard.
When Tom passed away in 1912, the business was left to Tom's nephew, John Sydney Sherrin who served his apprenticeship with the company as a teenager. ‘Syd’ operated the business until he passed away in 1941, and his son Tom took over the business until 1972.
The Sherrin business was sold in 1972 to Spalding Australia, and in 2003 Spalding was acquired by Russell Corporation. Despite the business changing hands, Sherrin continues over 140 years on to make footballs by hand in much the same manner from a factory in Keysborough, Victoria.
First Official Game
First Official game of Australian Rules Football is played with an English- made Rugby Ball.
First Football Designed
A Saddler by trade, Tom William Sherrin would regularly patch and repair English-made Leather Rugby Balls used to play Australian Rules Football. Then in 1879, he had one of sports great ideas: to improve the English-made Leather Rugby Balls currently played with by VFL clubs. He created an oval ball with round points, hence making the first football designed specifically for Australian Rules Football.
Ball of Choice
The local teams loved this new football product and it was swiftly adopted as their ball of choice. Tom William Sherrin scraped his pennies together and built a small factory, establishing T.W Sherrin Pty Ltd in Wellington Street Collingwood.
The Australasian Football Council
The Australasian Football Council was formed in 1906 and based its measurements (size and shape) for the standard gameball size on the Sherrin ball created by T.W.
John "Syd" Sherrin
Tom William Sherrin passed away and the running of the business was left to Tom’s nephew, John “Syd” Sherrin who served his apprenticeship with the company as a teenager.
The Sherrin factory in Collingwood suffered a major fire and was forced to re-build and expand to continue operating and handle the growth of the game.
First White Football
In an iconic moment for the VFL, Syd Sherrin made a white football for a game between Richmond and South Melbourne to be played “under electric light at the Motordome.”
First Yellow Leather Football
An innovation that continues to this day, Sherrin produced the first yellow leather football to assist visibility for night games.
Sherrin Factory Closed
Following the sale of Sherrin to Spalding 10 years prior, the Sherrin factory in Collingwood closed and Spalding began to produce Australian Rules Footballs from it’s Sunshine factory.
First Sponsored Football
A commercialisation of the game saw the first sponsored football introduced for the AFL, a McDonald’s branded ball for the Finals Series.
Junior Participation Program
Sherrin begun to produce and distribute footballs for the Junior Participation Program; Vickick and then later on; Auskick.
Russell Corporation purchased Spalding and therefore acquired Sherrin at the same time. The new ownership saw no change to the manufacturing process, with Sherrin footballs remaining crafted in Australia, at the local manufacturing facility in Keysborough, Victoria.
Growth of the AFL
Further commercialisation and growth of the AFL continued with AFL Team sponsor logos being first printed by Sherrin onto gameballs to feature in matches.
First Fluorescent Ball
To assist the grassroots football community, Sherrin developed and launched the first fluorescent ball designed for club training at night.
Brand New Factory
A brand new, custom-designed Sherrin factory is developed and launched by Russell Corporation on in Keysborough, Victoria. Uniquely, the factory continued a dedication to T.W’s method essentially leaving the Sherrin crafting process unchanged.
Individual Personalised Balls
To cater for the growth and customisation needs of consumers, Sherrin created individual personalised balls for the first time.
Silver Leather Game Balls
Sherrin launched Silver Leather Gameballs to be trialled in AFL takedown, AFLX.
Sherrin Game Balls
Sherrin Gameballs continue to be crafted the very same way T.W intended, in our local Keysborough factory in Victoria.