93-year member Phyllis Taig passes away at 106

Vale, Phyllis Taig.

Phyllis Taig, whose years of dedicated support to the Carlton Football Club (93 of them as a member) was recently rewarded with Life Membership, has passed away at the grand age of 106.

Born in the Carlton premiership year of 1915, and a committed fan (as with her father) from as far back as the late 1920s, Phyllis’ love for the only team old Carlton knows transcended the generations.

“I liked Ron ‘Socks’ Cooper – he was our centre player back in the ’30s and ’40s,” said Phyllis in an interview with Carlton Media back in 2015. “Then there was Craig Bradley, he was my absolute favourite, and Stephen Kernahan of course.”

Phyllis Taig with her newly awarded Life Membership in November 2021. (Photo: Carlton Media)

A student of the great Australian game, and a face in the crowd for her favourite Grand Final in 1970, Phyllis lamented where football had gone in terms of aesthetics. As she said: “I think in the ‘70s – around about that time – was the best really. We had some tough players, but now it’s all altered and it’s too fast now”.

And she always got her two bob’s worth in if she was less than satisfied with team performance.

“I always used to write David Parkin lots of letters if I thought he did the wrong thing,” she said.

John Nicholls, Phyllis Taig, Shane O’Sullivan and definitely the real-life Stephen Kernahan enjoy a laugh. (Photo: Carlton Media)

“I’d always let him know and I can honestly say I always got a reply from David. I’ve kept quite a few of his letters too, I thought he was a wonderful coach . . . and Ron Barassi was alright, he called a spade a spade.”

For years the mother of three fronted for most Carlton home games, watching on from the comfort of a function room of the Carlton Coterie whose membership was covered by her children.

Of match-day functions, Phyllis declared: “We’ve made such a wonderful group of friends – I always look forward going to the football to see them (and) even when the football isn’t on we keep in touch”.

In the lead-up to her 100th birthday, Phyllis kicked off the celebrations at the old Carlton ground, in the George Harris Function Room festooned with balloons and streamers: she was presented with a No.100 Carlton guernsey.

Last October, on the occasion of her 106th birthday, Phyllis was the recipient of birthday greetings from the club’s respective AFL and AFLW Senior Coaches in Michael Voss and Daniel Harford.

Then in December, Phyllis was rewarded with Life Membership – Carlton’s greatest player John Nicholls and Spirit of Carlton Manager Shane O’Sullivan both on hand for the presentation at her home.

Nicholls, who paid Phyllis a final visit early last week, described the Taig family – including Phyllis’s daughter Ada and son Donald – as “great Carlton people”.

“I’m glad I got to see Phyllis again,” Nicholls said. “I held her hand and talked to her for a while.

“I’ve had a bit to do with her because Ada had been running the Carlton ladies functions at the Club for some years and I used to sit with Phyllis at those functions.

“One of my oldest friends, Patricia Robinson, is the daughter of the former Carlton player Creswell ‘Micky’ Crisp, and on the wall of Phyllis’s home was a photo of ‘Micky’, who was her favourite player. Phyllis remembered all of those players from the 1930s and ’40s  – Crisp, Vallence, Hands and Henfry.”

Carlton’s greatest-ever player John Nicholls visits Phyllis Taig last November. (Photo: Carlton Media)

“She was incredibly loyal and a staunch supporter who deserved Life Membership.”

To honour Phyllis’ memory, the Carlton senior players will wear black armbands for Thursday night’s match with the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.

Heroes of ’72 gather on a grand night for Carlton

Watching on with pride at the Round 1 win were the Club’s heroes of Grand Final day 1972.

AS THE players completed a famous victory over Richmond at the MCG on Thursday night, watching on with pride from their vantage point in the MCC Members Reserve were the Club’s heroes of Grand Final day 1972  – the men of Carlton who 50 years ago posted the record scoreline of 28.9 against the same old foe at the same venue.

Thirteen of the 18 surviving team members – Barry Armstrong, Neil Chandler, David Dickson, Adrian Gallagher, Kevin Hall, Paul Hurst, Syd Jackson, Peter ‘Percy’ Jones, Trevor Keogh, Andy Lukas, David McKay, Geoff Southby and Robert Walls – gathered in the Harrison Room for the 50-year premiership reunion, as special guests of The Carltonians coterie.

Peter ‘Percy’ Jones, Jarrad Waite, David McKay and Geoff Southby gather on a great night for the Carlton Football Club.

John O’Connell and Vin Waite – members of the feted team who died in 1989 and 2003 respectively – were represented at the gathering by their sons Luke O’Connell and the 184-game Carlton player Jarrad Waite. Said Waite in a Facebook post: “Great night . . . celebrating the #1972flag. It was really good to see some great fellas that I haven’t seen in a bit. Thanks for @thecarltonians and @carlton_fc for inviting @jacwaite and I to represent the old man. #baggers #lovebeatingthetigsrd1”.

McKay, who was also part of the Club’s 1970, ’79 and ’81 premierships, and who somehow got through the second half of the ’72 Grand Final with a broken jaw, said reunions of this type are special “and the 1972 Grand Final was a special game”.

“The team posted the highest Grand Final score in history, in a shoot-out involving both teams,” McKay said.

The backline “O’Connell, Southby, Waite” was a constant at Carlton through the 1970s – and flanking Geoff Southby at Thursday night’s 1972 Premiership reunion are Jarrad Waite (son of Vin) and Luke O’Connell (son of John).

“This was THE game of Perc’s (Jones’) career – a masterstroke of John Nicholls to play Perc first ruck. Perc took on Craig McKellar who was athletic, but Perc completely nullified him and played well in his own right. ‘Nick’ kicked six up forward too, so that was a win-win.”

McKay spoke for all of his former teammates when he said of Carlton’s stirring 25-point victory over the Tigers on Thursday evening: “To see the team take the first round for the first time in 10 years and be there to celebrate the ’72 premiership made it all the more sweeter”.

Vale Graham McColl: Former player and trainer

The Club remembers former ruck Graham McColl

FORMER Carlton ruckman Graham McColl, whose association with the club would endure for more than a quarter of a century – but not as he anticipated – has died in Geelong Hospital after a short illness.

McColl, the 712th man to represent the club at senior level since the formation of the VFL, passed away at the age of 87. He is survived by his wife of 64 years Dorothy, son Glenn, daughter Meryl, son-in-law Bill Whiteside and grandson Liam.

Recruited to the club from neighbouring VFA outfit Coburg, McColl, a Life Member of Carlton, completed his debut with Bill Arch and Chris Pavlou in the 2nd round match of 1958 against North Melbourne at Princes Park. He was just ten games into his maiden season when he ruptured the anterior cruciate in his right knee.

McColl suffered the injury in the night Grand Final against St Kilda at the Lakeside Oval that September. He resumed training the following March, only to break down with the same injury, and at 24, his League career was over before it had begun.

The proverbial silver lining came with McColl’s subsequent pursuit of recovery techniques – which in turn piqued his interest in becoming a club trainer. So it was that McColl embarked on his new career at Carlton, rising through the ranks of the support staff from thirds, to reserves and ultimately seniors.

Trainer Graham McColl (middle row, far left) with members of Carlton’s under-19 premiership team of 1963, which includes Adrian Gallagher and Denis Pagan.

In the premiership season of 1981, McColl’s contributions to Carlton as trainer were rewarded with Life Membership – the same year in which three-time Premiership player Mark Maclure (who wore McColl’s No.36) and Graeme Whitnall were similarly honoured.

In 2017, McColl agreed to put pen to paper and record the following memoirs of his life and times at Carlton.

“Before I reminisce about my life to date as a player, member of the training staff, member of past players’ association and Life Member, it may be of help to give you some prior history of my football life with some details of how I became a Carlton player in 1958.

Early school years (commencing 1940) were at Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. I attended Forest Hill school, located outside the Aerodrome, on which I lived. I played Rugby and represented the school in athletics to year six.

After the War, we moved back to Melbourne and various parts of Victoria, which resulted in me attending many different schools. Eventually we moved to East Coburg where my parents obtained a home and my father was discharged from the R.A.A.F.

At this time I went to Preston Technical School and, after learning NOT to RUN with the ball under my arm (as in Rugby), I played in the school’s Australian Rules team, where we played against other Technical Schools in the metropolitan area and won many games. Ron Barassi (who later went to Melbourne) played as a half-forward flanker, and Brian Pert (later to play for Fitzroy) and myself were the wingmen.

I was invited to play for the Carlton Under 19s, however I wasn’t able to play a game, as family commitments forced me to look for a club in the vicinity and that’s how I came to play at Coburg in the VFA, playing 68 games. I feel my summer training with Preston Harriers and at Preston Tech., in running, high jump and hurdles, helped me with my ability to play in various positions if required.

1950s saw me as a telephone technician in training, working in many exchanges in Melbourne and country areas, and moving through various levels. With a transfer for eight weeks to Geelong Exchange, my father arranged for me to train at Geelong Football Club, with Reg Hickey as coach. I learnt a lot there and won Coburg Football Club’s Best & Fairest in 1956. Geelong asked me to sign a Form 4, however, Carlton was aware of this and claimed me as their player, where I played ten games in 1958 for the seniors. Of interest during this time was the payment the players received, which was 12 pounds for a full match and the Provident fund only being available after 50 games!

My first game was against North Melbourne, where I played as centre half-forward, my opponent being Albert Mantello. He tried me out physically and I more than held my own, with two goals. I also gave Mantello a hefty bump to which his teammate commented: ‘You’ve got one here, Albert’.

The night series at the South Melbourne ground saw me playing in the ruck, where I received my knee injury in a final against St Kilda. Medical staff didn’t know how serious my injury was. I drove home and went to work the next day. My boss sent me off to the local doctor and then to a physiotherapist. He didn’t know what the full extent of my injury was either. I missed the next year and so I wrote to the American National Football Association and received a strapping procedure – 30 strips of tape – but not much help.

When Dr. Arnold Cooper came to the club he explained what the problem was an I was offered a position on the training staff, with ongoing training by Dr. Cooper and our new physiotherapist Geoff Luke.

I was employed as a trainer for the Under 19s. In addition to looking after injured players, I became a messenger to players from the coach. Some of the players who started in the Under 19s were Adrian Gallagher, Jim Sullivan, Ray O’Halloran, Mark Maclure, John Morrison and Bruce Doull. The Under 19s won the premiership in 1963. 

During my time as a trainer, the senior team won four Grand Finals in 1968, ’70, ’72 and ’79 – the latter in which Wayne Harmes (a local boy with a ‘never-say-die’ attitude) saved the ball on the boundary to enable Ken Sheldon to kick the winning goal. This is still a matter of discussion for Collingwood supporters. Alex Jesaulenko captained and coached his grand final team, but we had to carry him off with a serious ankle injury. However, with true spirit, he was there to receive the premiership cup at the end of the game.

Back in the ’70s, a VFL Trainers’ Association was established by a couple of Hawthorn trainers. The association established a training scheme for those persons who wanted to become members of their club’s medical team and be present on the ground during games. Interested parties were required to participate in a six to 12-week practical course, which involved resuscitation and different methods of strapping. The course was conducted at the Collingwood ground.

As the years rolled on, my employment with Telecom caused me, at one stage, to resign my position with the senior XVIII staff. I was able to overcome this, as management moved me to a position that enabled me to attend training sessions during the week. Later, I was offered the position of Head Trainer, but had to decline as my work for Telecom would not allow me to be at the ground for commencement of training and in time for strapping.

On a brighter note, I enjoyed assisting those who were new to the club, the camaraderie and the interaction between training staff and players was excellent, even though we were all on various levels. Sunday morning recovery sessions consisted of lap running, hot and cold showers and rubdowns and a drink of some description to finish off. On many occasions, players, trainers and staff got together with wives and girlfriends, sometimes not getting home until mid-afternoon. 

I tended to lose my interest when we basically became ‘waterboys’. However, nowadays the players have doctors, physios and mini-ambulances available to get them to more specialised treatments – and they sure need it with the game edging towards a Rugby format. I’ve always known the game as Australian Rules football (but there’s a) number of ball-ups (scrums), handling the ball incorrectly (throwing) and running the ball down the ground before kicking or shooting for goal (basketball). Umpires should also be able to assess that players are required to bounce the ball within 10-20 metres of running, or otherwise be penalised. I feel the umpires need to be re-trained in these areas.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time with Carlton. In writing these reminiscences, it has brought back some wonderful memories, of trips away, pride in winning Premierships and watching new players develop their skills.

Thanks for your interest in my time at Carlton, and to finish – Go Blues!”

Graham McColl (No.36)

A funeral service for Graham McColl will take place at William Sheahan Funerals, Drysdale, next Wednesday (March 23), commencing at 2pm. The service will be live-streamed and recorded through the William Sheahan Funerals website.

The Carlton players taking to the field for Thursday night’s opening round match with Richmond at the MCG will wear black armbands in memory of John Elliott, Alan Rees and Graham McColl.

“I reckon I did cricket a favour”: When Hanna went one on one with Warne

Mil Hanna retells the day he came up against St Kilda reserves player, Shane Warne.

IN THE aftermath of his untimely passing, Shane Warne’s life as a leg spinner par excellence has quite rightly been lauded — and with it is his brief tenure as a St Kilda footballer at under-19 and reserve grade level.

In truth, Warne kicked the dew off the ground but once in a curtain raiser – the 15th round match at Moorabbin on Saturday, July 9, 1988 – and his direct opponent in that one was Milham Hanna of the Col Kinnear-coached Carlton team.

This week Hanna, a member of the Blues’ last Premiership team of 1995, remembered with affection the time he went head-to-head with the Saints’ SK Warne at the old Linton Street ground.

“I ended Shane Warne’s football career . . . I burnt him off his feet,” Hanna dryly suggested.

“I remember this kid with bleached blond hair, but to be honest I didn’t know who he was . . . it wasn’t until years later that I finally realised.”

The St Kilda historian Russell Holmesby recently wrote that Warne’s solitary reserve grade appearance coincided with the return of St Kilda champion the late Trevor Barker after a 14-week layoff with a heel injury. Holmesby also noted that The Football Record had mistakenly recorded St Kilda’s No.60 as one “Trevor” Warne and by the time the error was rectified the player was back in the thirds and by early ’89 out the door.

Remarkably, Warne hadn’t expected to take the field at all for that wintry Saturday arvo in ‘88. Bed-ridden with the flu all week, he’d intended to phone the club’s reserve grade coach Gary Colling to declare himself unavailable – but was instead called by Colling who told him he’d be a starter for the reserves, an opportunity the kid from Mentone Grammar couldn’t pass up.

Hanna, meanwhile, had overcome the bitter disappointment of rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the early minutes of his first senior match for Carlton in the opening round of 1986, and was quite literally trying to find his feet at senior level.

“I missed all of 1986, came back from injury in ’87 and played the first eight or nine games before I got dropped,” Hanna said. “I managed 16 games in ’88 and can only guess I was coming back from injury or had been dropped (the record books reveal the latter) when I played in that game at Moorabbin.”

Hanna’s senior League tenure would ultimately endure for 190 matches through 12 seasons at Carlton, while Warne’s future career in the creams would know no bounds.

Along the way, their paths would again cross, although the reserve grade contest comfortably won by St Kilda was never discussed. As Hanna recalled: “I met up with ‘Warnie’ a few times, mainly through ‘Sammy’ (Aaron) Hamill, who was a great mate of his, but I never brought the game up with him”.

“At the end of the day I towelled him, but imagine what might have been if he’d played well?,” Hanna said. “I reckon I did the world of cricket a favour.”

Life Members gather in lead-up to AFL Round 1

A summary of the 2022 Carlton Life Members Luncheon.

PICTURED below are 63 Life Members of the Carlton Football Club, all posing for the mandatory team photograph to round out Carlton’s annual Life Members Luncheon at Kew Golf Club.

In attendance were former club officials, staff members and players honoured with Life Membership, from John Nicholls in 1965 through to Matthew Kreuzer in 2015.

Thirty-five premiership players – amongst them the four-time premiership greats Wayne Johnston, Peter Jones and David McKay – were there, together with 10 club best and fairests including the five-time winner John Nicholls after whom the award is named and the Club’s Brownlow Medallist Greg Williams.

The Life Members pictured in the team photo underneath the third paragraph are as follows:   

Standing left to right: Robert Walls, Jim Buckley, Dennis Munari, Mario Bortolotto, Lewis Bearman, Don Mathieson, Vince Loccisano, Sam Salamone, Marcus Rose, Craig Bradley, Matthew Kreuzer, Fraser Murphy, Rod Austin, Peter McConville, Andy Lukas, David Dickson, Trevor Keogh, Frank Brosnan (partially obscured), Peter Newbold, Laurie Carter, Mike Fitzpatrick, Rohan Bromley, Richard Newton, Barry Gill, Robbert Klomp, Stephen Kernahan, Neil Chandler, Marcus Clarke, Tom Alvin, Ian Wotherspoon, Ray Gilbert (partially obscured), Phil Maylin, David Rhys-Jones (partially obscured), Wayne Gilbert, Barry Armstrong, Adrian Gleeson, Phil Pinnell, Peter Kerr and Adrian Gallagher. 

Middle row: (kneeling) Bryan Quirk, (seated) Don Hall, David Nettlefold, George Varlamos, ?Ted Hopkins, David McKay, Syd Jackson, Peter Jones, David Parkin, Col Kinnear, Gordon Newton, Lionel Watts and Alan Espie (partially obscured). 

Front: Wayne Johnston, Alex Marcou, Shane Robertson, David Glascott, Shane O’Sullivan, Sharon McColl, Greg Williams, Stephen Gough and Greg Lee. 

Also present were premiership coaches Nicholls, David Parkin and Robert Walls; premiership captains Nicholls, Mike Fitzpatrick and Stephen Kernahan; and Norm Smith Medallists David Rhys-Jones and Williams.

David Rhys-Jones holds court with his two former coaches. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

Joining them all at the luncheon, underwritten by the Club, was Carlton President Luke Sayers.

Former Carlton CEO Stephen Gough, who together with Shane O’Sullivan, Sharon McColl and Frank Brosnan form the Life Members Committee which organised the event, said that the Luncheon provided Life Members across the decades with an opportunity to come together in a relaxed and informal manner.

“We actually cover Life Memberships from as far back as 1965, and all of the past eight premierships from 1968 onwards,” Gough said.

Dual premiership player Syd Jackson acknowledges fellow Life Members. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

“The Luncheon is a great get-together which draws people back every year. We’ve managed three get-togethers in over four years due to Covid, which isn’t bad.

“Nobody has to get up to join a panel or wait for a raffle. The Luncheon basically serves as a day of reminiscing, of remembering old times. It’s a fantastic initiative by the Club, which recognises that Life Members are a very important part of the Club’s DNA and will be supported – so to Mark LoGiudice and now Luke Sayers, we’re very thankful.”

First-time attendees Marcus Clarke, Barry Gill, Syd Jackson, Matthew Kreuzer and Robert Walls were formally welcomed, and the recently-deceased Life Members Geoffrey Edelsten, John Elliott, Henry Gardner, Mark Naley, Alan Rees, Eric Salter and Sergio Silvagni were remembered, as was the late Graeme Whitnall.

See below for more photos from the day: all images courtesy of Vicki Walsh Photography. 

Carlton premiership captains Mike Fitzpatrick and John Nicholls. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

Three No.21s – Rod Austin, Barry Gill and the Club’s games record holder Craig Bradley. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

Clockwise from the left, premiership players Peter Jones (seated), Bryan Quirk, Greg Williams and Robert Walls. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

Premiership players Trevor Keogh, Peter McConville, Stephen Kernahan and Wayne Johnston. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

Four-time premiership player Wayne Johnston, three-time premiership coach David Parkin and former Carlton Chief Executive and Life Members Committeeman, Stephen Gough. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

Premiership players David Glascott, Tom Alvin, Mike Fitzpatrick and Adrian Gleeson. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

1970 premiership heroes Ted Hopkins and Syd Jackson. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

1972 premiership players Phil Pinnell, David Dickson and Neil Chandler. (Photo: Vicki Walsh Photography)

A supporter’s generosity the Key to solving 100-year mystery

The discovery of an image of one-game senior player, Alf Key.

THE CARLTON footballers of today, the likes of Patrick Cripps, Harry McKay and Sam Walsh, are photographed and filmed ad nauseum. But there was a time when cameras were not in plentiful supply and players quite literally disappeared into the ether.

The Carlton Football Club’s digital archive boasts images of 1103 of the 1224 men to have donned the famous Dark Navy guernsey in senior League competition – from Jimmy Aitken in 1897 to Brodie Kemp in 2021 – which means 121 more aren’t represented by a single photograph.

Alf Key, proudly wearing his Carlton guernsey, 1922.

That number has now been whittled down to 120 with the discovery of an image of one-game senior player Alf Key, by way of a team photo in which he appeared precisely 100 years ago, and thanks to the generosity of a lifelong Carlton supporter (more of that later).

Born in North Carlton in November 1897, Key was recruited to the club from local team Carlton District. On the end of a turbulent week in which Charlie Fisher resigned as captain, Key completed his debut for the old dark Navy Blues against Melbourne at Princes Park in Round 6 – Saturday, June 5, 1920.

Not surprisingly, the home team lost by 18 points, on a day incessant rains left Princes Park under water and prompted a delayed start.

In 1921, Key crossed to neighbouring Fitzroy and featured in two senior matches with the Maroons, before returning to Carlton District in 1922. That year, Key (as resident vice-captain) posed for the team photographer wearing the Carlton guernsey with the CFC monogram as opposed to the CDFC monogram – and it’s worth noting that seven other players including the captain Dee, Harry Bell, Rowley Faust and Vern Wright are all pictured wearing Carlton Football Club guernseys.

The Carlton District Football Team, 1922. Vice-captain Alf Key sits in the second row from the front, fourth from the left.

Key passed away at the age of 80 in November 29, 1977, some 44 years before his image found its way the club’s archive thanks to Lorraine Gillett, whose father Percy was a long-time Carlton trainer of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.

Prior to being struck down with ill health, Lorraine instructed her partner Gordon Archer to forward her father’s precious items of Carlton memorabilia to the club – including her father’s trainer’s cap and blazer which she treasured, a trophy awarded to him by the VFL in recognition of his services to the club in the 1947 Premiership year, and various certificates and photographs like the one featuring Alf Key.

Now in her late 70s, Lorraine’s propensity to horde items of Carlton memorabilia, amongst other things, has proved to be a godsend for the club, but Lorraine and her loved ones are equally thrilled that Percy’s items have found the right home.

Gordon Archer with one of the precious items donated to the club by his partner Lorraine and the Gillett family – the trainer’s cap worn through the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s by long-time trainer and Life Member Percy Gillett.

“Lorraine has lost most of her memory now, but she still remembers most of the Carlton theme song . . . and she is thrilled to pieces to know that Percy’s items may one day be displayed at the club for everyone to see, as she’d always promised that the items would go to Carlton – a place where they would be wanted.

“Lorraine treasured her father’s blazer and cap in particular,” Gordon said. “As a young girl, she and her brother Robert would accompany their mother to Carlton games, as their father had left for the ground early to fulfil matchday duties.

“Lorraine’s mother would take them to Princes Park by bus from Ivanhoe Station to the Sarah Sands Hotel, then walk down Royal Parade to the ground. At Carlton their father would meet them afterwards, but during the matches the children would sit by themselves and watch.”

Gordon, a fellow teacher who met Lorraine at the Glen Waverley Special School for the Mentally Disabled more than 40 years ago, said that Lorraine was a lifelong Carlton devotee – “but she had no choice” in terms of her allegiance, given her father’s presence.

As he said: “Even after Percy gave training away, Lorraine continued to support Carlton. She was a Social Club Member and she just loved everything about it”.

The following is a list of those Carlton players whose images are still outstanding. If you can provide an image of any of the following players, please feel free to contact Tony.DeBolfo@carltonfc.com.au.

Ahern, Bill 1897 Allender, Henry 1899 Anderson, Charlie 1924 Archer, Joe 1899 Armstrong, Bob 1896-1898
Ashton, Ernie 1904 Barlow, Alex 1901-1903 Barlow, Fred 1898 Bartlett, Herman 1912 Bennett, Ned 1900
Blake, Johnny 1951 Breese, Chic 1897-1898 Brown, Charlie 1898 Buck, Otto 1897 Cameron, Bob 1897
Campbell, Peter 1900 Churchyard, Bill 1898-99 Clarke, Len 1931 Coucher, Jim 1898 Cowell, George 1899
Crowe, Matt 1903-1904 Cullen, Jim 1904 Cummins, Arthur 1897 Dashwood, Rob 1902 Dodds, Bill 1901
Douglas, Jack 1898 Dunne, Henry 1896-1898 Evans, Harold 1913 Field, Frank 1901-1902 Frost, Jack 1897
Gaynor, Jimmy 1904 Gibson, Harvey 1906 Gilbert, Jack 1899-1900 Gomez, Frank 1901 Gordon, Vic 1915
Gourlay, Albert 1904 Graf, Bert 1919 Grant, Bill 1906 Grant, Jack 1906 Gunter, John 1911
Hainsworth, Herb 1902 Hanna, Frank 1913-1914 Hardy, Willis 1917 Harris, Len 1946 Harrison, Arthur 1914
Harrison, Stan 1965 Harry, Ray 1933 Hart, Dick 1901-1902 Hearnden, Alf 1899 Heffernan, Ted 1897
Hogg, Norm 1903-1904 Holland, Reuben 1910 Howard, Harry 1897 Huggett, Alf 1916 Hughes, Tommy 1911
Huntington, Bill 1950-1951 Inglis, Adam 1951 Jackson, Percy 1918 Jane, Henry 1911 Johnson, Bill 1912
Johnson, Roy 1911-1912 Keily, Jack 1918 Kennedy, Tom 1927 Kick, Ned 1925 Kinman, Tommy 1898
Lewis, Bill 1900 Lewis, Harry 1899 Loriot, Jim 1901 Lowenthal, Herbie 1897 Lyons, Jim 1897-1898
Manchester, Oscar 1897-1898 Manger, Bill 1926 Maplestone, Charlie 1900-1902 Marden, Les 1944 Marriott, Fred 1911
Matthews, Jim 1900 McCart, George 1905 McFarlane, John 1902 McGann, George 1901 McKenzie, Wal 1902
McNulty, Pat 1902 McPetrie, Henry 1897 McVeigh, Bill 1905 Meadowcroft, Des 1898 Mills, Bobby 1934
Moore, Alf 1898 Morgan, Harry H 1897 Neylan, Jim 1909-1910 O’Day Tommy 1898 O’Halloran, Gerald 1925
Patterson, Bill 1897-1898 Pelly, Pat 1904 Pender, Dan 1898 Pender, Mick 1898 Pettit, Bill 1901
Powell, Harry 1901-1902 Powell, Harry 1901-1902 Prentice, Alex 1903 Raff, Charles 1901 Rapp, Victor 1899
Rauber, Charles 1912 Reekie, Jack 1897-1898 Reid, Sam 1897 Roberts, Simon 1901 Robinson, Jimmy 1901
Ryan, Arthur 1904 Ryan, Pat 1913 Schunke, Charlie 1901 Slater, Jim 1905 Starr, Les 1913
Stephenson, John T 1903 Stewart, Charlie 1901 Stewart, Dick 1898-1900 Strickland, Bill 1900 Taylor, Charlie 1911
Truman, Vic 1920 Warde, George 1898 Wheeler, Bert 1907 Whight, Henry 1904 White, Robert 1916

Vale Keith Rae

The Carlton Football Club is mourning the loss of the League’s oldest surviving player, Keith Rae.

Keith Stanley Rae – Carlton’s, Richmond’s and League football’s oldest surviving past player – has passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 104 years, four months and 24 days

News of Keith’s death in a Mornington Peninsula nursing home was conveyed to the club by his daughter Julie.

A Carlton centreman in the days of Diggins, Francis and Chitty, Keith’s long life was bookended by two global pandemics – the Spanish flu and now the Corona virus.

Keith was but a toddler when returning soldiers brought the flu ashore in 1919.

He was too young to comprehend then, but the story goes that as thousands succumbed to its killer grip, his Mum and Dad took him north to the Queensland sun so that the little boy could overcome a worrying bout of bronchitis.

The Carlton team prior to the match with Hawthorn at Princes Park in Round 13, 1943. Keith Rae stands in the back row, fifth from the right.

Born before the Armistice was signed, and hardened by the days of the Great Depression, Keith was of that fast disappearing generation who also served their country through the Second World War (in his case as a leading seaman).

Between times, the boy from Williamstown chased the pigskin in the VFL through 15 games out of the centre for Carlton in 1939 and again in ’43, and in two more for the Tigers after the guns fell silent in ’46.

Keith was the oldest of five Rae siblings, with three sisters and a brother following.

Appropriately, Carlton’s 550th player to complete his senior debut was born in the Blue Room of his grandfather’s Stag’s Head Hotel in ‘Willy’ on July 30, 1917.

Keith carried his books to the local Williamstown state school, and later Footscray Technical College, despite his father’s best efforts.

“Dad wanted me to go to Scotch College and I said ‘Why go all the way out there?’”, he told me in an interview on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

24 year-old Keith Rae, HMAS Nestor, Egypt, 1941.

Not long after finishing up at Footscray Tech, Keith took on a welder’s course at the Williamstown naval dockyards, “but in the end I joined the Navy because I was 16 and I couldn’t get a job”.

That move would later have significant ramifications.

In Williamstown, Keith’s prowess as a midfielder soon came to the attention of the renowned Carlton talent scout Newton Septimus Weston Chandler.

“I reckon it was Newton who approached me at a game at Williamstown and said ‘Son, we think we could use you’,” Keith recalled. “In the end I went up to Carlton to practice and I remember breaking into the team and running down the race.”

Keith got the nod for his first game more than 80 years ago – against Footscray in the 15th round of the 1939 season – with the imprimatur of the then Carlton premiership captain-coach Brighton Diggins.

As he recalled: “He was quite a good bloke Diggins. He told me I was playing and I couldn’t wait to tell my father”.

Keith was named in the centre, between Jack Carney and Bob Green. He followed Diggins down the race with the likes of Baxter, Crisp and Hale.

Together they contributed to Carlton’s 88-point annihilation of the visitors, with Paul Schmidt and Baxter booting nine and eight goals respectively, and ‘Micky’ Crisp putting another five over the goal umpire’s hat.

Omitted after the following match against Hawthorn, Keith’s ’39 season was done and dusted when Carlton failed to make the cut for September.

Then the war came . . . and Keith, already serving with the RAN Volunteer Reserve, was called upon by the navy.

Keith Rae proudly wears his Carlton guernsey at a naval camp in Portsmouth in 1941. The jumper later went down with a ship in the Mediterranean, but it’s wearer survived.

The ensuing three years would see him fulfil various duties on a number of ships, amongst them the destroyer HMAS Nestor which, in June 1942, was amongst a convoy attacked from the air by the Luftwaffe, by U boats and by E boats.

Both engine rooms of the Nestor were flooded and four stokers were killed in that incident.

But Keith lived to tell the tale.

“The plane came over and dropped a bomb. The bomb hit the yard arm of the mast and deflected into the water,” he said.

“I’d just come off the wheel and wooden pieces of it came flying down, some of it hitting me in the leg. It’s why I’ve still got this crook leg, but I was lucky. I sat on top of the deck until a rescue ship came by.”

In 1943, Keith was posted back to Melbourne, and wasted little time resuming his playing career by Royal Parade, under the watch of Diggins’ successor as Carlton senior coach, Percy Bentley.

Sporting the No.23 later worn by Bert Deacon and now Jacob Weitering, he got a call-up for the opening round match of the ’43 season – and in the lead-up stood with his teammates to observe a minute’s silence for his old teammate Jim Park, who had been killed in action in New Guinea.

After the lone bugler played The Last Post, the ball was bounced, and the Carlton players attacked it with sheer ferocity. Prominent amongst them was Jim Baird with 10 goals from full-forward, and Keith was acknowledged for his handy contributions on a wing.

Carlton ended the ’43 home and away season in fourth place, only to be bundled out of the finals by Fitzroy in the first semi. Keith, despite appearing in 13 of the 16 regular season matches, was omitted for the that Gorillas game and never again took to the field in dark navy.

The Navy called Keith back to the colours in 1944, and he was still on duty when World War II ended.

Amongst those who could genuinely claim that they served ‘for the duration,’ Keith was finally discharged in May ’46 – and fronted up for two senior games at Richmond before calling it a day as a League footballer.

At Carlton, Keith is accredited with just two career goals – two too many as he dryly suggested.

“I remember one game there was a boundary throw-in, I got the football, swung around and kicked a goal, even though the centre half-forward Jack Wrout was calling for it,” Keith said.

“After that happened and the ball was being taken back to the centre, he (Wrout) came up to me and said: ‘I kick the goals’.”

Through his days as a League footballer, Keith was paid three pound a game for his troubles – with all proceeds passed on to his mother.

“Not that she needed it,” Keith said.

“It was more that money never meant anything to me.”

Keith Rae, sporting his Carlton scarf, on the eve of his 100th birthday in 2017.

Keith celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends on the Peninsula where he lived for many years in coastal tranquillity.

The best wishes card from Her Maj had already found its way to his modest home, as had a card from the PM, when he gave of his time for what was his final interview.

He became the third former Carlton footballer known to have notched the three figures after his recruiter Newton Chandler, who died at the age of 103 years, six months and six days in 1997, and Mac Wilson, who lived for 103 years, one month and a day before he met his maker in August 2013.

As Keith’s daughter Julie observed, her father was “truly hardy considering the life he has led – elite sportsman, World War II veteran who overcame dysentery and malaria, and fisherman who was washed off the rocks many times”.

“Dad absolutely enjoyed his time at Carlton,” Julie said.

“His only disappointment was that his football career was interrupted.”

On turning 100, Keith quite rightly predicted there were a few more birthdays left in him yet.

As he said at the time: “Have a look at me. I never smoked, I never had an argument, and when you live to be 100 it’s got to mean you’re happy”.

Keith Rae’s first senior game for Carlton, Round 15, Saturday, August 5, 1939, versus Footscray at Princes Park:
B: Don McIntyre, Frank Gill, Jim Park
HB: Bob Chitty, Jim Francis (vc), Frank Anderson
C: Jack Carney, Keith Rae, Bob Green
HF: Ron ‘Socks’ Cooper, Jack Wrout, Creswell Crisp
F: Harry Hollingshead, Ken Baxter, Paul Schmidt
FOLL: Brighton Diggins (cc), Rod McLean, Jack Hale
19th man: Jack Skinner

Carlton greats gather for Goold

Seven former Carlton players and officials joined John Goold for his 80th birthday.

Former Carlton players and officials – amongst them the club’s greatest player John Nicholls – have completed a three-hour drive to southwestern Victoria to celebrate (albeit belatedly) the 80th birthday of the dual Premiership centre half-back John Goold.

A troupe of seven made the trek to Goold’s property just outside of Camberdown, in a Hyundai van organised by the Spirit of Carlton Manager Shane O’Sullivan. On board was Nicholls and fellow Premiership players Ian Collins, Ken Hunter and Mark Maclure, together with former Carlton Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gough and the club’s recent Life Membership recipient David Nettlefold.

At Goold’s idyllic property they reminisced about the golden days of Barassi – the latter having coached “Ragsy” in 108 matches for Carlton including the Grand Final triumphs of 1968 and ’70 – just as they did back in 2011.

A famous gathering. Standing from left to right: John Nicholls, John Goold, Ian Collins, Mark Maclure, David Nettlefold and Ken Hunter. Kneeling is Shane O’Sullivan and Stephen Gough.

“Ten years ago a few of us headed down to the property with all the cows and horses to celebrate ‘Ragsy’s’ 70th birthday,” Nicholls said this week.

“We were to have returned in June to celebrate his 80th birthday (June 27) but COVID restrictions forced a couple of cancellations . . . we finally got there on the weekend.”

Nicholls said that those in attendance truly savoured the moment with their flamboyant host.

John Goold holds court with three fellow Carlton Premiership players John Nicholls, Ian Collins and Mark Maclure.

“It was a great catch-up. We talked about old days and the culture of Carlton, and I talked about how positive I am with things at the club now looking up,” Nicholls said.

Through the course of the ‘swinging sixties,’ John William Crosbie Goold, with his long hair and dapper dress sense, earned as colourful a reputation off the verdant green of Princes Park as he did on it – and his involvement in the rag trade earned him that unmistakeable moniker.

After chasing tack to pursue a career in farming, Goold formed a diversified pastoral company and purchased a magnificent complex called Ballangeich Run at nearby Ellerslie. As his passion for farming and livestock grew, Goold began breeding top quality polo ponies, represented Australia in international competition, and further built on his already handsome reputation as a Hunt Master of the hounds.

An image of the Hunt Master of the hounds graces the wall as Goold gestures to his captive audience.

As for his footballing prowess, Goold earned high praise from the best.

“He was a good player,” Nicholls said. “He played centre half-back and he played on the best of them, Royce Hart included . . . and he more than held his own with them all.”

In memory of Sir James and life in Carlton

Sir James Gobbo, the former Supreme Court judge and later Governor of Victoria, was a staunch follower of the Carlton Football Club prior to and beyond his public life – perhaps a throwback to a time when the game was territorial and the club and its vibrant Italian community were inextricably linked.

Sir James – “Giacomo” as he was christened – was born in Carlton’s Royal Women’s Hospital in 1931 to Italian parents Antonio and Regina Gobbo (nee Tosetto). Antonio, who hailed from Cittadella in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, traversed the globe to Australia in 1927; his wife following with their oldest son Flavio aboard the steamship Regina d’Italia not long after.

In a series of articles for the newsletter of the Italian Historical Society of which he was chairman, Sir James recalled with affection the early family years in Carlton.

“My links are personal as I was born in Carlton and lived in Newry Street and later, after a childhood in Italy, returned and eventually settled in Carlton,” he wrote.

“Our first home was in University Street, near Tibaldi’s salami factory. Later we moved to 501 Drummond Street, a house with a great deal of character and a long garden covered with grape vines. At the rear was a sleep-out, where for years we had as a friend and lodger Chenno Baggio – who still bakes some of the best bread in Melbourne at San Remo Bakery.”

Sir James’ parents later found permanent lodgings at 501 Drummond Street within walking distance of the Carlton ground. It was here in 1951 that Sir James learned that he had been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for Oxford University.

Clearly, Sir James inherited his great empathy for migrants through his father and mother. The historians Michelle Stevenson and Laura Mecca noted that Antonio, a terrazzo worker, sponsored many people from his hometown to Australia and supported them in the assimilation process. On Sundays, these new Australians would all gather at the Gobbos house for a meal, and during the Great Depression Regina took in Italian boarders, enclosing the veranda of their terrace house with calico to create sleeping quarters.

In 1935, Antonio returned to Italy with Flavio, James and the youngest child Natalina. Three years later the children followed him back to Australia. To quote Sir James: “We came back here in 1938, so at this point I was truly a migrant. I did not speak any English and I went to school initially at St George’s in Carlton (later St Joseph’s North Melbourne and Xavier College)”.

In 1939 Antonio and Regina purchased the St Kilda Grill Rooms cafe at 274 Victoria Street, North Melbourne (opposite the Victoria Market) and Regina’s sister Savina, who later married an Italian POW Bruno Bianchi, supported them in managing the café.

Regina, it has been said, was the driving force behind her son James’ academic success, from his schooldays at St Joseph’s North Melbourne and later Xavier College, through to the University of Melbourne and Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar in 1952, James was also a member of the crew that took line honours in the 100th Oxford-Cambridge boat race and he also served as President of the Oxford University Boat Club.

Sir James returned to Melbourne to pursue a life in the legal professional, and in 1957 married Shirley Lewis, a former librarian. Together they raised five children.

In 1978, following a successful career as a barrister, Sir James was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. In 1997, he was appointed Governor of Victoria, the state’s 25th Governor and the first Australian of non-English speaking background to be elevated to that office.

Sir James was honoured with a knighthood in the Carlton back-to-back Premiership year of 1982 for services to the community. In 1993, he was honoured with the Companion of the Order of Australia for his contributions to the law, multicultural affairs and hospitals.

 (L-R) Sir James Gobbo, Jim Buckley and John Elliott.

At Carlton, the 1968 Carlton Premiership player and former Chief Executive and President Ian Collins remembered Sir James as an understated, but passionate devotee.

“I’m very sorry to learn of Sir James’ passing,” Collins said. “Sir James was very quiet, but very supportive. His family was one of those classic Italian migrant families who came to Australia and settled in Carlton.

“As with Sir Robert Menzies, Manning Clark and BA Santamaria, Sir James was a guest speaker of the club, invariably at player inductions or guernsey presentations whether at the Southern Cross, or in the Social Club or the John Elliott Stand.

Sir James’ address to the Carlton players on the eve of what would be the 1981 Premiership season remains firmly in the memory of the three-time Carlton Premiership player, ’81 club Best & Fairest and former Director Ken Hunter – a promising West Australian recruit in that particular year.

“I distinctively remember Sir James as guest speaker. He delivered an eloquent address about Carlton and what it meant to him. That was on the eve of the ’81 season and for me it was incredibly inspiring,” said Hunter some 40 years after the event.

“Sir James spoke about Carlton and what it meant to his family. He spoke about the significance of representing the club and the impact on Members and supporters. It made me want to go out and play straight away.

“Sir James made me feel how fortunate I was to be representing the Carlton Football Club.”

Sir James Gobbo, AC, CVO, QC served as Governor until 2000 under Premiers Jeff Kennett and Steve Bracks.

In 1997, he shared the podium with the then Lord Mayor of Melbourne Ivan Deveson and Carlton President John Elliott when Premier Kennett formally opened the Legends Stand at the Carlton ground prior to the Round 3 match with Adelaide, on April 13. The following year, he returned to the ground, officiating at the launch of “The Old Dark Navy Blues”, Dr Lionel’s Frost’s definitive history of the club; and in July 2000 he was amongst the dignitaries present for the last suburban battle with Collingwood at Carlton, which ended with the Blues’ record 111-point hammering of the hapless black and whites.

Dr Frost remembered Sir James as “a sincere, down-to-earth fellow”.

“I can recall Sir James’ speech from the book launch in which he talked about watching Carlton games from the outer wing in front of the old Northey Stand at Princes Park,” Dr Frost said.

“Interestingly, he also considered the 1972 Grand Final our greatest win – not 1970 as most people think.”

After leaving office as Governor, Sir James took up the position of Commissioner for Italy for the Victorian government until June 2006, and continued on various boards and councils. He officiated as Chairman of the Council of the National Library of Australia and Chairman of the Australian Multicultural Foundation. He also served as vice-president of the Order of Malta, which supported home-based palliative care in Victoria through Eastern Palliative Care (EPC).

But for all his lofty achievements in life, Sir James Gobbo – the son of Italian migrants – remained true to his humble origins . . . and his lifelong love for Carlton and the Carlton Football Club never waned.