With Australia's sparse population and large distances between major centres it's no wonder that, until the very recent age of affordable air travel, large scale national sporting leagues have been completely unviable. While there has long been a strong but small interstate cricket competition, it's only in the last forty years that all six states have each fielded a side, not to mention that the focus is primarily as a proving ground for selecting the best players for the national team. And then there is the fragmented world of football, with entirely different codes more popular in different regions and, of those, the two pre-eminent 'national' leagues still largely just extensions to traditional suburban competitions based in Sydney and Melbourne respectively.
At various times over many years I've wondered what a single large scale and truly national league might look like, with a heirachy of divisions allowing for promotion and relegation, multiple teams based in all major cities (relative to their populations) and as many regional areas as possible getting a chance to compete as well. I'd tinkered with a few ideas but none ever really kept my attention, until most recently it occured to me that the Australian Electoral Commission already creates the best possible proportional system based on population, as they draw the boundaries for the electorates in the federal House of Representatives.
By giving each electorate an approximate geographical team name, I now had the basis for a present day competition with 150 teams. While looking further into how exactly this might look, I stumbled onto Psephos - Adam Carr's Election Archive and discovered I could use the historical information there to set a geographical location for every electorate at every redistribution since the national Parliament was first convened in 1901.
Now I didn't need to start my fictional league in the present day and could instead develop a 75 team national competition right from Federation, using actual electoral boundary redistributions to dictate when existing teams fold or merge, and which new teams to admit from faster growing population centres. So while the league is still a complete fantasy from a logistical point of view, the line-up of competing teams at least reflects the historical trends of Australia's population shifts since the very beginning of last century.
|Period||Years||Total||First Division||Second Division||Third Division|
|Foundation||1901–1948||75–76||15–16||2 x 15||2 x 15|
|First Expansion||1949–1983||123–127||18||2 x 18||4 x 17–19|