St Austell AFC were founded in 1890 and played at Rocky Park before moving to its current location at Poltair Park in the early part of the century. The club played in the Plymouth & District League and the Cornwall Senior League before joining the South Western League as founder members in 1951. St Austell became one of the few clubs to be ever present throughout the League’s existence, and their 1-0 victory at Penzance in May 2007 was the final game in the South Western League. The Lillywhites won the league on only one occasion, winning in 1969, but were runners-up in 1963/64, 1965/66, 1971/72 and 1972/73. They also won the League Cup in 1988 and were beaten finalists in 1991.
The newly renamed AFC St Austell joined the South West Peninsula League for the 2007/08 season and had a difficult first season in Division 1 West. The following season saw a change of manager and marked improvement in results, ending the season in 3rd place in Division 1 West and winning the Senior Cup. The 2009/10 season saw St Austell finish as runners-up to Perranporth, winning promotion to the Premier Division. 2010/11 saw the Lillywhites finish in 10th place in the Premier Division and reach the Senior Cup Final.
The club has worked hard over the last 3 years in improving the facilities at Poltair Park and floodlights became a reality during the 2011/12 season, with the first game under lights being the home game against Buckland Athletic in front of a crowd of 556. Poltair Park also hosted a FA Youth Cup match between Cornwall and Huntingdonshire, the Cornwall Charity Cup semi-final between Penryn and Newquay and the Charity Cup Final itself. The 2012/13 season not only saw St Austell enter the FA Vase for the first time since 1996/97, losing 3-2 at home to Bemerton Heath Harlequins of the Wessex League in Round 2, after home victories against Ashton & Backwell Utd of the Somerset County League in the Preliminary Round and fellow Peninsula Premier League Premier Division side Bovey Tracey in Round 1. The Lillywhites finished the season in 4th place and also hosted the Throgmorton Cup Semi-Final between Bodmin Town and Helston Athletic.
In 2013/14 St Austell finished in 9th place in the Premier Division but lifted the Cornwall Senior Cup, beating Bodmin Town on penalties at Wadebridge Town FC. The Lillywhites reached the Throgmorton Cup Final, losing 2-0 to Plymouth Parkway at the Devon FA headquarters in Newton Abbot.
The 2014/15 season was arguably the most successful in the club’s history, winning the South West Peninsula League Premier Division with 3 games to spare and achieving a run of 24 consecutive victories in all competitions and retaining the Cornwall Senior Cup after a 3-0 victory against Godolphin Atlantic at Liskeard Athletic FC. The Lillywhites also reached the Semi-Final of the FA Vase, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Glossop North End, facing higher league opposition in every round of the competition from Round 2 onwards.