Our Story

Dunbar Rovers Football Club is an incorporated association, which has become one of the leading clubs in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Football Association (ESFA). The Club’s name originates from the public house the founding Members frequented post-match on Sunday afternoons, The Old Dunbar Hotel, 27 Renny Street, Paddington, before its doors closed.

The Club was founded in 1991 with just one team and has grown to more than 860 Members who play in one of our 19 Senior teams or 17 Junior teams. Today, our Members comprise male and female players, competing in Junior and Senior competitions, and ranging in age from 4 years to 65 plus.

Independently operated and run, Dunbar Rovers FC has established a reputation for high standards for both its on and off-field behaviour, success in high-ranking competitions, smart appearance at matches, and in the operation of a professionally managed organisation. Dedicated and passionate volunteers work quietly behind the scenes receiving steer from the Club’s Board of Directors. Our Coaches and Team Managers dedicate their time and effort to ensure our teams are out on the pitch playing football as well as supporting numerous social events organised by that great spirit of revelry of the social committee. Our Coaches and Managers also see that, no matter what the occasion, appropriate attention is given to The Dunbar Way, an invaluable guide to our own behaviour.

Since its inception, the Club has always featured strongly in players’ lives both on and off the field. The Club has also become a source of great friendships and business contacts, which we regard as an important contribution to our success. Today, the ESFA division of the Club is funded by a combination of players’ registrations fees and generous financial support from our Sponsors, whilst the NPL cohort is purely funded by Sponsors.

Dunbar Rovers Football Club’s first contribution to Junior football commenced in 2008 through an official charitable initiative, via a partnership with the Football Project of Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF), sponsoring Under14 boys and girls teams in Cambodia. In 2012, with support from our Sponsor, Link Market Services, the Club established a fully sponsored weekly program at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern. Local girls and boys were provided with an introduction into football along with free school holiday programs.

In 2013, the Club entered its first Junior team into the ESFA competition and ran a training hub for children aged 5 to 7.  Starting with only one team back in 2013, the Junior Club now boasts 17 teams, which includes our Development Squads for entry into the National Premier Leagues (NPL) pathway program, and the hub for our youngest members and the Dunbar Community Football After School program.

In 2015, the Club entered its First Grade Men and an Under20 team into the NSW State League, winning the League in its maiden season and gaining promotion to Football NSW’s NPL3, expanding into representative Youth boy’s competitions via FNSW NPL2.  Further expansion was achieved in 2018, via the FNSW Girls Conference League. At this semi-professional level, the Club has changed the football landscape by providing ‘Fee-free Football’ for all selected players, in both NPL Youth and the Girls Conference League, based on a sponsorship-funded model.

In 2018 Dunbar won two NSW Champion of Champions in both the All-Age Women and the Over35 Men, in the same year — an amazing feat for any NSW football club.

In 2019 Dunbar Rovers (NPL) Under20 Men became League and Grand Final Winners, promising a very exciting, and potential success, for the 2020 Season in the National Premier Leagues.

The recently concluded 2019 Season saw both Dunbar Rovers FC All-Age Men and the All-Age Women teams winning once again their respective ESFA Championships. For the All-Age Women, it was the 12th time since 2004, and for the All-Age Men, it was the 7th time since 2007; additionally, the Over35 Men won their Championship League — for the 7th time since 2010 — and all 3 successful Championship teams competed in the 2019 NSW Champion of Champions.


1991 An Englishman, a Scotsman, and a Welshman walk into a bar…
This is not a joke, this is the story of Dunbar Rovers, a football club founded in the rugby heartland of Sydney. The bar was the Old Dunbar Hotel, Paddington, the very first Sponsor.

With the name coined, the kit was then designed with the sky blue of NSW and the white quarters of a Rover. The pink collar added the flare to go faster.  Even Paul Smith would wear the shirt on many occasions in future years.
We registered our plucky band of 12 players with SESFA (now ESFA) and, in April 1991, we kicked off in Division 3.  ESFA had only three divisions in those days, so humble origins.
1993 Dunbar Rovers wins the double going undefeated in the league and winning a 17 penalty shootout in the semis.   The Cat purred.
First international tour to Wellington, NZ, winning the local curtain-raiser 7-1 before the British Lions scored a rare win over the All Blacks 20-7. Memorable weekend.
1994 Some deft footwork secures Reg Bartley as home-sweet-home.  
Dunbar Rovers doubles in size going from one to two teams.
1996 The “Gentlemen of Dunbar” — those Members coming down from the pinnacle of their playing days are set-up as the “GoDs”.
1997 The GoDs become a foundation member of ESFA’s new Over35 competition.
1998 Dunbar Rovers expands to four teams.  Peter Hennessy joins the Club and later becomes the future President of ESFA.  Serious stuff.
1999 Women get in on the act and start playing in the newly formed ESFA Women’s competition. A midtable season lays the foundations for future successes.
Dunbar Rovers surprises the punters and wins the Metropolitan Cup as a Division 2 team defeating ESFA’s team of the decade, Pagewood, in the final.
2002 Dunbar Rovers Women’s win the first, of a great many more, ESFA Division 1 Premiership.
2005 Second international tour to Wellington.  We get beaten, so do the Lions.
2006 Hall of Fame established for Life Members of the Club.  Quintin Freeman, and subsequently, Sean Adams, Phil Muhlbauer, Peter Hennessy, Ken Taylor, Danny Fee, Marc Coughlan, and John Sweeney, are all recognised for their Club achievements.
2007 The Club becomes a foundation member of ESFA’s Premier League on Saturdays.  Dunbar becomes ESFA Premier League Champions.
2008 Dunbar Rovers becomes the first ESFA team to win NSW Champion of Champions.
Dunbar Cambodia Charity established to fund three Dunbar teams of kids in Battambang, Cambodia.
2009 Dunbar Rovers is crowned ESFA Premier League Champions, ESFA Cup winners and Premier League Grand winners at Sydney Football Stadium.
Dunbar Rovers plays in the World Masters Championship. We didn’t win it.
2011 The GoDs celebrate becoming a foundation member of ESFA’s Over45 division by winning the League & Cup double.
2013 Dunbar Rovers Juniors kick-off in Eastern Suburbs Football Association.
NCIE is secured as home ground No2.
2014 Dunbar Rovers wins NSW Champion of Champions for the second time, another ESFA first.
2015 Dunbar Rovers Women’s First Grade win the FNSW State Cup along with the double in the League.  Dunbar Rovers State League set up to take Dunbar to new heights.  Defying gravity we win the NSW State League without losing a game. 
2016 Dunbar Rovers again make ESFA history this time becoming the first ESFA Open Women’s team to win FNSW Champion of Champions.  Our First Grade Men’s team, unlucky having taken out the double in the league.  Our Dunbar Rovers State League team is promoted into National Premier Leagues and — now known as Dunbar Rovers (NPL) — the Club includes 4 Youth teams offering Fee-free Football to selected talent, as well as Under18 and Under 20 Men’s teams.
2017 Moore Park Synthetic is secured as Saturday home ground No3.
Dunbar Rovers top Sunday Men’s team take out the Division 1 League for the first time since 2007.
The Dunbar Rovers (ESFA) Club embarks on creating two Junior Development Squads, and now pride ourselves on being a true football development club with a pathway to the National Premier Leagues.
2018 Dunbar Rovers wins NSW Champion of Champions at two levels in one year!!   Dunbar All-Age Women win their second title in three years, yet another ESFA first.  The Over35 Men win the title for the first time, 10 years since some of the squad won the Club’s first-ever Champion of Champions. Dunbar Rovers playing in the Sunday Men’s League defend their title. Dunbar Rovers is accepted into FNSW Girls Conference League, providing Fee-free Football to the girls selected.
2019 Dunbar Rovers FC All-Age Women win their 12th Championship title since 2004;
Dunbar Rovers FC All-Age Men win their 7th Championship since 2007;
Dunbar Rovers FC Over35 Men win their 7th Championship since 2010.