In 1892 the Metropolitan Junior Football Association (MJFA), the forerunner to the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA), held its first meeting at the Salvation Army Headquarters in Bourke Street. The Association was to be firmly amateur, L.A. Adamson, principal of Wesley College and Association president from 1896 to 1932, advocating play 'for the love of the game'.
Re-formed after World War I, the competition became more settled, drawing on suburban teams, the University of Melbourne and old boys teams from the associated public (independent) schools, and adopting its current name in 1933. By 1962 the VAFA, which added a reserves competition in 1960, had 92 teams spread over seven sections, making it the largest football association in Australia.
The 'Ammos' initiated changes. Representative matches began in 1925, an Australian carnival in 1936 and a Junior competition in 1939. When Australian football was a demonstration sport at the 1956 Olympic Games, a VAFA team defeated a representative VFL team of amateur players. In 1957 the ABC televised the first complete game of Australia football, an interstate match between Victoria and South Australia. In 1983 the VAFA banned all alcohol consumption during its matches.
By 1970 the Association had consolidated at Elsternwick Park, opening the Alex Johnson Pavilion as its administrative centre in 1983. Although the Association adopted financial sponsorships in 1985, it remains committed to the non-payment of players.