There is an evidence of football being played in the first half of the 19th century. They were mostly likely forms of folk football, and no causal link with Australian rules football.
Public schools in Melbourne, Victoria dated in 1858 are first recorded organizing football games inspired by precedents at English public schools. June 15, 1858 was the earliest record match. It was between Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College on the St Kilda foreshore.
On July 10, 1858, the Melbourne based Bells life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle published a letter by Tom Wills (captain of the Victoria cricket team), calling for the formation of a football club with code of laws to keep cricketers fit during winter. Being born in Australia, Wills learned a nascent form of rugby football at Rugby School in England, and returned to his homeland as a star athlete and cricketer.His letter is regarded by many historians as giving impetus for the development of a new code of football today known as Australian football.
Two weeks after the letter, Jerry Bryant( Wills friend and a cricketer) posted a advertisement for a scratch match at the Richmond Paddock adjoining the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This was the first of several football games held that year involving members of the Melbourne Cricket Club, including Wills, Bryant, W. J. Hammersly and J. B. Thompson. Trees were used as goalposts and play typically lasted an entire afternoon. Without an agreed upon code of laws, some players were guided by rules they had learned in the British Isles, others by no rules at all.