A SEQUENCE of four photographs of Carlton’s inaugural Brownlow Medallist Bert Deacon in full flight have surfaced almost three quarters of a century after the much-admired centre half-back earned the game’s most coveted award.
Captured in an unknown suburban parkland, the photos show Deacon in his long-sleeved Dark Navy guernsey (possibly carrying the original No.14 on the back) and highcuts, magnificently executing the game’s basics –the high mark, the field kick and the art of “selling the candy”.
The images, which do not carry a photographer’s name, were stored in a box of miscellaneous football images in the keep of Peter Valentino, a former volunteer at the State Library of Victoria, who graciously availed copies to the Club.
Peter believed the photographs were captured for the national magazine Sporting Life (published from 1947 to 1957) and the Australian pictorial magazine Pix (published from 1938 to 1972).
They are thought to have been taken in 1948 – the year after Deacon, with 23 votes, earned the Brownlow by two from St Kilda centreman Harold Bray.
To complete his stellar year, Deacon also featured in Carlton’s famed one-point Grand Final victory over Essendon in ’47 and tied with the then Carlton captain Ern Henfry for the club’s Best & Fairest award.
Henfry also featured on the front cover of the May 1951 edition of Sporting Life, a copy of which Peter also supplied.
Both Henfry and Deacon featured in Sporting Life’s Teams of The Year (a forerunner to All-Australian teams) – Henfry in 1947 and ’49; Deacon in 1947, ’48 and ’49.