Picture This Ballooning - Your Hot Air Ballooning Company

Picture This Ballooning is a family owned, Victorian business.

We are Melbourne’s leading hot air balloon company for both passenger flights and special shape advertising balloons. We are a successful and professional organisation dedicated to the enjoyment and safety of our passengers. Due to our extensive experience in aerial advertising, our special shape advertising campaigns are a marketing success for all the clients we represent.

We have been flying hot air balloons since 1997. We are based in Melbourne and are a global hot air ballooning company. Our hot air balloon flying takes us all over Australia and the World; mostly for work, sometimes sport and occasionally just for fun.

Our first hot air balloon was a 92 ft high giant flying Sherrin football built for the opening of Etihad Stadium.


Our first balloon...The Sherrin Football

The Flying Footy at the 2010 AFL Grand FInal

The Flying Footy at the 2010 AFL Grand FInal

The founder and current CEO of Picture This Ballooning, Damian Crock, is passionate about football. A Collingwood fanatic, and the great-nephew of the Collingwood Football Club's 1910 VFL Premiership team's centre half back Jack Shorten, you could say ‘footy’ runs in his veins.

Another love of Damian’s is hot air balloons, so when he founded Picture This Ballooning, his first thought was to design and construct a 10 storey tall replica of the iconic Sherrin Football.

In 1997, the new 52,000 seat Melbourne Docklands Stadium was to be opened. This gave Damian the inspiration and opportunity he needed to build the worlds largest Sherrin Football, a 90 foot high hot air balloon. The balloon was built to fit into the stadium with the roof closed and was used for the official opening of the Docklands Stadium - what better way to launch an Australian Rules Stadium than to fly a 90 foot high Sherrin out of the roof! The inflation, launch and flight was a complete success...and the rest is history.

The Flying Footy has had many adventures since, and is still flying strong - in fact, one of its most renowned passengers was Australian Rules Football legend, Kevin Sheedy.

Since that beginning, Picture This Ballooning has flown thousands of satisfied passengers (see our TripAdvisor page) and operates a fleet of special shape hot air balloons throughout Australia. More information about our special shape hot air balloons is available here.


Read on - and you will learn all you need to know about the famous Sherrin Football

The Pill, The Nut, The Tooty, The T.W, The Cherry, The Agat, The Pigskin (actually made from cow hide), The Tommy, The Air Conveyance, The Ball... has any object ever had more nicknames? The first footy was always a thrill, it was often just a pair of dads socks rolled inside themselves that could be happily booted around the house. Then came the nerf footy. The advertisers spruiked, "It won't break anything, great for indoors". While they didn't "break" anything directly they did have a nasty habit of knocking over mum's vases which subsequently smashed on the floor. Hot on the heels of the nerf sensation were Tuddy's rubber guts rainbow footys (very easy on the bare foot), this was followed by your first real footy... a leather one.

So what is it all about?

On the 9th of November 1847, three brothers set off from England on a sailing ship, named the "Lady Peel". Daniel, a lawyer, and his brothers Robert and John, who were both carpenters, arrived in Melbourne on the 16th of February 1848, with their families to build a new life for themselves in a young and vibrant country.

Little did the brothers realise that when they stepped ashore, they were the embryo of one of Australia's first sporting goods entrepreneurs, and the name "Sherrin" was to become one of Australia's finest icons.

Robert had nine children, and little Thomas William Sherrin grew up in a close family environment. Tom Sherrin didn't follow his father's carpentry skills, but decided to become a saddler, repairing and manufacturing horse saddles, bridles and leather equipment that were essential for the transport of that era.

The saddlery that Tom worked was located in Wellington Street Collingwood. Collingwood, around the 1870's was dominated by tanneries, clothing and shoe manufacturers, and had a hotel on nearly every street corner. Tom was involved with a small club close to where he worked, called Britannia Football Club. Australian Rules Football was a game that was a derivative of many fine sports that included Irish Gaelic football, rugby and soccer.

The game was modified to embody the free running spirit and the exuberance that typified the pioneers of our great country.

Australian Rules Football in it's infancy used rugby balls that were imported from England. The physical torture these balls endured with this tough, vibrant and robust new game, created considerable wear to the balls. They were regularly sent to Tom's saddlery to be repaired. Tom virtually had to pull the ball apart in some cases to complete the repair work, and one day while repairing a ball he had a brainstorm which ultimately was to revolutionise the characteristics of the ball. The rugby ball was elongated, and used to wear heavily on the ends of the ball. Tom created a new shape and developed a pattern that made the ball rounder on the points. The ball was still oval in shape, which allowed the ball to bounce more evenly and easier to kick.

However, the fundamental design still created an air of mystery as to which way the ball bounced along the turf, which makes Australian Rules Football such a delight to play and watch. Tom experimented with his design in some of the local leagues, and realised very quickly that his design was accepted and hailed by all players who used the ball.

Tom scraped his pennies together and in 1879 built a small factory at 32 Wellington Street in Collingwood.
T.W. Sherrin Pty Ltd was now established, and Tom employed a small band of tradesman to produce enough footballs to keep up with the strong demand. The design and manufacture of the new ball was so widely accepted that many years on, the National Football League of Australia, sighted the size and shape of the Sherrin Football as the standard to be produced for our great game.

When Tom passed away in 1912, the business was left to Tom's nephew, John Sydney Sherrin who served his apprenticeship with the company as a teenager. Tom was very fond of young Syd, who not only was a fine craftsman but excelled in his own sporting prowess as a boxer.

Syd operated the business until he passed away in 1941 after being hit by a car and endured constant ill health, and died peacefully at his home in Hawthorn.

After the death of Syd Sherrin in 1941, the War Department instructed young Tom (Syd's Son) to carry on the family business, and discharged him from duties with the Air Force. Tom was a very likeable man. His knowledge on sport and his ability to converse with people at every level earnt him great respect in the community. Tom had a great association with the Collingwood Football Club and eventually became president between 1963 to 1974. The Collingwood FC recognized the magnificent services of the Sherrin family in 1976, when they named their new stand at Victoria Park, The Sherrin Stand.

During the 1960's, Tom battled with his football business, and could envisage that the future profitability of the company was solely based on its production output. If he was to double the production, he could then absorb the running costs of the business and still remain profitable. To achieve this Tom was faced with a dilemma. A business that had operated for almost 100 years had to grow. Without growth, T.W. Sherrin Pty.Ltd. would stagnate, and he could not see a bright future for the next generation of the family.

Tom had many friends and colleagues within the sportsgoods industry, and discussed the possibility of selling the business with one of his good friends, Jack May.

Jack was the General Manager of Spalding Australia and Tom was impressed by his business acumen and his future direction as to where the industry was heading. After much discussion, Tom finally agreed to sell the business to Spalding in 1972.

Tom would stay on as manager of the Sherrin division of Spalding, a position he held until his tragic death in 1978. The Sherrin takeover by Spalding appeared on the front page of every major newspaper in Australia, making news bulletins in Europe and America, and was widely reported in sportsgoods journals throughout the world.

Fourth Generation Sydney Stewart Sherrin began work for Spalding in the Sherrin division in 1974 and spent 4 years working with his Dad in the factory before his fathers death. Syd's early teenage years and school holidays were spent in the factory helping his Dad, enjoying the atmosphere of the family business. Syd spent a further 7 years managing the football department.

From 1972 to 2003 Spalding relocated on two occasions, and in July 2003 Spalding were bought out by Russell Corporation who to this day produce the most famous brand in football from their factory in Scoresby Victoria.

To this day the balls are produced with the same craftsmanship and labour intensive process and are market leaders by a country mile.

If it's not a Sherrin it's just not football........ https://www.sherrin.com.au/