Formed in 1872, the club played its first recorded game on 7 June 1873 against Carlton, winning 1 goal to nil.
The club was one of the inaugural members of the VFA in 1877, winning four premierships.
The club was founded in 1872 by members of the Royal Agricultural Society, the Melbourne Hunt Club and the Victorian Woolbrokers at a meeting in the home of a well-known brewery family, the McCrackens, whose Ascot Vale property hosted a team of local junior players.
They have won 16 premierships which is the most of any club in the competition, equal to Carlton.
A founding member of both the VFA in 1877 and the VFL in 1896, Essendon is one of Australia's best-known football clubs.
On 7 June 1873 the club played its first recorded match against Carlton, with Essendon winning by one goal.
Essendon played 13 matches during its first season in the VFA, winning seven, with four draws and losing two.
Essendon's first VFL game was in 1897 was against Geelong at Corio Oval in Geelong.
The club won its first VFL premiership in the 1897 Grand Final.
See the Bombers fly up, up!
To win the premiership flag!
Our boys will play this grand old game,
And are always striving for glory and fame!
See the Bombers fly up, up!
The other teams they don't fear!
They all try their best but they can't get near,
As the Bombers fly up!
Based on the 1929 song
Keep Your Sunny Side Up at an increased tempo.
During its early years Essendon played its home matches at Flemington Hill, but moved to the East Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1881.
Throughout most of its history the club's home ground and headquarters was Windy Hill, Essendon, where it played from 1922 until 1991.
Windy Hill remained its training and administration base until the end of 2013.
The club plays its home games at either Docklands Stadium or the MCG .
Since 2013, the club has been headquartered at The Hangar, Melbourne Airport.
The 1924 season proved to be arguably the strangest year in Essendon's entire history. For the first time since 1897 there was no ultimate match — either "Challenge Final" or "Grand Final" — to determine the premiers; instead, the top four clubs after the home and away season played a round-robin to determine the premiers.
Essendon, having previously defeated both Fitzroy (by 40 points) and South Melbourne (by 33 points), clinched the premiership by means of a 20-point loss to Richmond (9.13.67) v Essendon (6.11.47) at Lake Oval on 27 September 1924.
With the Tigers having already lost a match to Fitzroy by a substantial margin, the Dons were declared premiers by virtue of their superior percentage, meaning that Essendon again managed to win successive premierships.
But the poor crowds for the finals meant this was never attempted again, resulting in Essendon having the unique record of winning the only two premierships without a grand final.