Ben Chifley and the Bathurst Football Club
A recent addition to our collection is this photo, taken in 1911, of the Bathurst Football Club rugby union team, including future prime minister of Australia J. B. Chifley. Chifley appears in the middle row at right of picture.
The photo was recently scanned from the family collection of Lynne Pearson for the museum, by a family member aware of our particular interest in prime ministers. Sam Malloy, Coordinator of the Chifley Home at Bathurst, has commented that it is the best he has yet seen of Chifley in his rugby days.
Born in Bathurst on 22 September, 1885, Chifley was 26 when this photo was taken. He attended Patrician Brothers’ High School in Bathurst and worked as a cashier’s assistant in Bathurst, then as shop boy, cleaner, and railways fireman. This photo was taken 3 years before he graduated as a first-class locomotive engine driver at the age of 28 in 1914, then the youngest in New South Wales.
The Bathurst Football Club team members in the photo are, from left to right:
Back row: G. Riddell, H. Read, A. Godfrey, R. Tremain, V. Corcoran, (unknown), A. Mead and G. D. Donkin
Middle row: W. H. Crago, C. Lawford, L. Williams, C. Clayton, A. Dawson, P. Barratt, (unknown) and J. B. Chifley
Front row: G. Collier, C. Upfold, B. Heavener
Rugby was introduced to Bathurst in about 1870, possibly by E. T. and W. H. Webb, who played it at Newington College in Sydney. It began in an organised way from 1874 with the formation of the Bathurst Football Club. The district produced some famous players including Jess Dibley, Bert Reid, F. Henlen, Tom Palmer, the Barton Brothers and George Anlezark who went to England and coached Eton College. Anlezark was one of Australia’s most colourful rugby players in the early years of the 20th century and went on to become a dual international in union and league.
The photo’s caption has some further detail about the players in the photo and Bathurst rugby generally. It notes,
“Other players about the First World War period were D. Suttor, H. Broadfoot and H. Alport. Father M. Hall of St. Stanislaus’ College was selected to join a touring side but had to decline and two students of the College T. and J. Conway represented the State at other times. Several boys from All Saints college played for New South Wales or Australia, also.”
This image can also be viewed at our Flickrstream.