Season Summary: 1961
1961 saw massive changes sweep the Victorian Football Association. The league made the radical move to split the competition into two separate divisions in an attempt to eradicate one-sided games from occurring. This involved deciding on ten teams to operate in the first division (which included Williamstown) and eight for the second division. As the top level of VFA competition had to be divided, this was also the case for the seconds and thirds, which brought some complexities and the trophy list was doubled.
Seagulls captain Ray Smith secured a three-peat of best and fairest awards from 1959-1961, becoming the only player besides Arthur 'Porkie' Sykes to achieve this tremendous honour. The milestones didn't stop there for Smith, who also became the first Williamstown player to surpass 200 games.
With a much more competitive league in 1961 due to the divisional split, the Seagulls again finished 4th on the table despite winning a lower percentage of their games to the year prior, finishing with a 13-9 Win/Loss record. The club then fought their way through the 1961 VFA finals series, only to fall to Yarraville at the final hurdle in the grand final by 63 points.
Unfortunately the bad news didn't finish there for Williamstown. On December 7th 1961, the press box and storeroom at the Williamstown Cricket Ground was destroyed by fire. Along with the building, the bell that was used to mark the start and finish of each quarter was also destroyed. This was the last bell used at any major ground in Melbourne as the use of a siren could have caused confusion by the use of sirens on ships close to the shore.