Four Different Birth Dates for this Player

1920 Jim Tarbolton smallDuring our research for players who represented NSW to update our Rep Game Database, we again came across the name Jim Tarbotton. This strange but not unique surname originates from Ayrshire in England, although the subject of this story came from Yorkshire.

We have written about this player before but are intrigued with the mystery that surrounds him.  You will find the following most fascinating.

From the records we have searched, we found four different official years of birth for James and two spellings of his surname: Tarbotton (which is the correct one, and Tarbolton, the choice of some newspapers and those conducting the AFL Tables have selected).  We have been told however that he changed his name to Tarbolton early in his time in Melbourne.

Jim was born in Bradford England and from our deductions, we believe it was in 1900.

Now we have not been able to identify when he came to Australia with father, also James and mother Mary but do have him attending the Gardeners Road Public School at Mascot. It was there he came under the care and direction of the sports master, a well recorded teacher in our writings, Rupert Browne.

Rupert, not a particular follower of the game (but soon became one), trained young Tarbotton in the game and obviously his natural skill brought him to notice.

He probably left school at 14, the normal age of those days which takes us to about 1914. In July 1916 he enlisted, falsifying his mother’s signature on the papers and informing the authorities he was eighteen years and one month. From there he was transferred to the Dubbo Depot for training, but by the middle of October he was on Milson Island, suffering from Gonorrhoea.

Milson Island is on the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney and at the time the state government used it as a hospital to treat soldiers from the First World War afflicted with venereal disease.

Eventually his mother found out he had signed up by forging her consent signature.  She wrote to the War Office which saw him discharged in December.

In March the following year, Tarbotton, now a resident of Mascot, NSW, re-joined the 1st AIF. He listed his occupation as a driver this time with a birth year as 1896. This still was not correct; he was nevertheless under age but had grown a few centimetres and was a little heavier.

It took just six weeks before he was off to the Middle East where he was posted to the Camel Corps where he worked in the veterinary section.

Alcohol and he did not mix and it got him in trouble a few times. In one incident he was found guilty of ˜violently” assaulting a military policeman from which he received anTarbotton thumbnail appropriate penalty.

Much of his time overseas in the army was spent in hospital. The gonorrhoea was never really cured, he contracted malaria, had an attack of appendicitis, sebaceous cysts and preauricular abscesses.

He returned to Australia in 1919 and was discharged in the October. Tarbotton told friends that he intended to play reserve grade for the Newtown club. However, he subsequently obtained work in the Loco Yard at Everleigh (a part of the NSW Railways repair and maintenance section at Redfern, well prior to it all being moved west to Chullora).

Then, only months later a new club, Railways, was accepted into the 1920 first grade competition in Sydney. Jim Tarbotton joined them.

This rough young rawbone footballer soon came to the attention of state selectors and was chosen in numerous NSW and Sydney representative teams between 1920-22.

There is a discrepancy in the records too for Jim’s size. The AFL Tables tell us he was 185cm & 86kgs, while his army records say whilst on both his enlistment papers, the discharged 1916 one and accepted enlistment that he is 5 foot 8 inches and 132lbs = 173cm & 60kg. A big difference.

Looking at him in a team photograph he was a fair size of a man, definitely taller than 173cm. However a minor reference to him playing cricket in January 1922 exposed the truth when it said: “The selection of Tarbotton is a surprise, he is a left-hander, 22 years of age, and standing 6ft 2in (188cm). ” This suggests perhaps his birth year was 1899.

We read further that in 1923 Jim had transferred from the Railways Club (Sydney) to Fitzroy FC. However a check of the VFL records found no such name. This was not so strange because over the years, a number of players were reported to have transferred to a club in Melbourne and their name did not appear in the club’s list of players. They have his name registered as Tarbolton.

Initially he was in Melbourne playing cricket prior to Christmas 1922 then moved on to football.

It is here that he starts to get referred to as Tarbolton, but not all the time. Sometimes as Tarbotton, other and on lesser occasions, as Tarbolton.

Only once, in 1922, was he referred to in the Sydney newspapers as Tarbolton. An easy mistake.

1923 James H Tarbotton thumbnailJim made his mark in Melbourne football early. In the 1923 preliminary final with Fitzroy and before a crowd of 55,000, a far cry to the 500 who watched him play at Moore Park in Sydney, he was named as one of the best. Then again the following week in the grand final against Essendon he was again named in Fitzroy’s best players:  Tarbotton (written as it is spelt) gave his best display of the season on the back lines. He was a strong, gallant defender.”

Also, he proved no wilting violet in the VFL, standing up for himself on several occasions where he was recorded in rough if not violent play. This led to his being reported at least twice. One was for attempting to strike his opponent, Essendon’s star CHF, Tom Fitzmaurice, a fellow 1921 NSW team mate of Jim’s.

His talent was recognized when he was chosen in the VFL squad for an interstate game around the same period.

Tarbotton went on to play 37 games for Fitzroy until 1926, then leg problems forced him out of the top side. The following year he was appointed coach of the club’s second eighteen. In 1928 he moved out to the Federal District League as coach of the Mentone Club, a role he had for several seasons.

In 1932 he turned his hand to umpiring and officiated in the same league until 1937. In fact, James is recorded as taking the book out to a few players during his time with the whistle, so he played it how he saw it.

But we haven’t finished with Jim. Eight months after the start of WWII he again enlisted in the army, this time with a birth date of 5 May 1901. He reached the rank of Warrant Officer.

Following the war he continued to reside in Melbourne, where he passed away in April 1997, aged 97.

So here is our forgotten Sydney footballer. A player with four birthdates who became a leading player and committed soldier and good all-round bloke.

Rosebery Football Club

Between 1923 – 1953, what we would know as a second division, The Metropolitan Australian National Football Association, operated in Sydney.

We have written before about this competition before, however in the past few days, documents have come to light which shed more details on the Association but more particularly on one of the participants, the Rosebery Football Club.

Rosebery is a southern suburb of Sydney, near Mascot, and land was first released there in 1912 on which it was intended to build a ‘model suburb’.

Initially the vast majority of the houses were built of that dark brick so common of the houses of the day.

Many dwellings were constructed between 1912-20 in the numerous streets which make up the suburb and most of the children would have attended the Gardeners Road Public School which is located on the corner of Gardeners and Botany Roads, Rosebery.  At one stage around that period the school population boasted 1800 students.

Rupert Browne, a teacher and sports master at the school from 1911-50, promoted Australian football and was responsible for many young men taking on the game and playing for clubs throughout Sydney.

Besides junior teams, the Rosebery Football Club fielded an A grade in the Metropolitan Association for most of its existence, apart from WWII when manpower was scarce.

Rosebery A Grade Premiers 1928 small1937 Rosebery Football Club - 1st Grade small 1939 Rosebery Football Club - 1st Grade thumbnail

 

We now have several images of the club’s premiership teams from the 1920s and 1930s.

Jack Hayes, a former junior of the club, who went on to play with Footscray and later coached St George, coached the club’s premiership sides of 1937 & 39.  For those who remember, the familiar faces of long term NSWAFL Secretary, Ken Ferguson and South Sydney official, Alby Young, appear in the 1928 photograph.

In the material we have been given are the 1946 and 1947 annual reports which give a glimpse of football of that level in those days.  You can peruse these documents by clicking either of the years.

They make for a very interesting read, particularly an expense item in 1946 for ‘sherry’ which was often given to players during the breaks on a cold day.

1919 Schoolboys Tour

Rupert BrowneWay back in 1919, only months after the Great War finished, Sydney school sports officials arranged with their Victorian counterparts for an interstate visit by a combined schools team after the finish of the season.  This was seen as the continuation of an interstate interchange in school football started between the two in 1905.

In July of 1919, the VFL agreed to pay forty pounds, estimated with inflation today at $2893.00, to assist with NSW costs.  The boys would be billeted with the number restricted to 20 and they not be over the age of 16 years.

The lads were selected from the following public schools: Ashfield, Burwood, Double Bay and Gardeners Road.  They left by Express train at Central on 28 August and at that stage were looking at spending up to two weeks in the Melbourne capital.

The group was under the management of Rupert Browne (pictured), sports master of the Gardeners Road School and a Mr Stutchbury from the Schools Amateur Athletics Association.

They played three games against combined Victorian State Schools and won the lot:

 

Date

NSW

Schools Score

Victorian

Schools Score

Venue

30 August

8-8 (56)

7-8  (50)

Amateur Sports Ground

6 Sept

3-5 (23)

1-10 (16)

Collingwood
Cricket Ground

9 Sept

5-7 (37)

5-6  (36)

Amateur Sports Ground

 

Following their first match the boys were taken to Punt Road Oval, where they saw the Richmond v St Kilda game.

In between their interstate contests, the NSW boys travelled to Geelong on 2 September where they played and were defeated by the Geelong High School side, 7-11 (53) to 7-4 (48).  And then, with not much rest, the following day the team played a game against Melbourne High School where they suffered their second defeat on tour, 6-12 (48) to 3-15 (33).

In between all this, on 4 September they were entertained by the Collingwood Football Club and the following day the VFL put on a picnic for the boys at Heidelburg.

After an exhaustive but very enjoyable time away the contingent returned to Sydney on 10 September.

But this did not finish their interstate commitments.

In late September 1919, the combined team of Victorian State Schoolboys travelled to Sydney to play a reciprocal match against their Sydney Metropolitan opponents.  The VFL paid their train fare.

Because it was late in the season a venue was very difficult to procure with officials searching near and far for a ground on which to play.  They eventually had to settle for the Sydney Domain (behind NSW Parliament House) but the Victorians fared no better in the match and were soundly beaten by NSW 10-18 (78) to 4-6 (30).

Those who represented the Metropolitan Schools included: Chipperfield, Kell, Armstrong, Curry, Lording and King (Ashfield PS), Sherwood, Rogers, Harris, Spencer and Martin (Burwood PS), George McCure (Double Bay PS), Orme, Paul Flynn, Burns, Walker, Les Stiff and Yates (Gardeners Road PS), Owen and Mackay were the reserves.

The only one of any note who went on in senior football was Paul Flynn.  He represented the state in 1925 and won Sydney’s goalkicking award in 1928 playing for South Sydney.

Trophies and Awards

As the reputation of the History Society becomes more prominent, the existence of awards, trophies, medals and other material from past years is slowly emerging.

Recently the Society received a note from Rob Powers, the grandson of R H Powers, a former state representative and captain on the Sydney Club during the twenties.

Mr Powers presented photographs of the medal his grandfather won in 1926 playing for Sydney.  It was for the best and fairest in the Sydney competition and at the time called, The Ellis Trophy.  The name was changed to the Provan Trophy and in 1936, the Phelan Medal, in recognition of the service Jim Phelan provided the NSW football community during his lifetime.

1926 was the first occasion the award was made and followed closely on the heels of the VFL which established the Brownlow Medal in 1924.  It was created and named in honour of Charles Brownlow, a former Geelong footballer (1880-1891), club secretary (1885-1923) and VFL president (1918-19).

Mr Powers said he came across the medal whilst cleaning out the estate of his late parents.

More recently a NSWAFL Life Membership Medal which was awarded to Rupert Browne in 1932 has surfaced.  Mr Browne was a school teacher and sports master at the Rupert Browne smallGardeners Road Public School, Mascot from 1911-1950.

Together with two other Sydney teachers, he was responsible for putting hundreds of young boys through the game, most of whom went on to play with the South Sydney Club but others filtered out to different clubs within the city.  Many, many of these boys represented the state and at least one, Frank Gascoigne, won the Phelan Medal, the competition’s best and fairest.

He died in 1953, aged 66 after being hit by a car in suburban Sydney.  Certainly a cruel way to take a man who had given so much to the code.  As a mark of respect to the memory of Mr Browne, former students erected memorial gates at the school, which still stand today.

So these medals and trophies are out there but neither of these two mentioned are in the Society’s possession.  We would be pleased to hear from other readers who might know of the existence of similar awards.

SCHOOLBOYS FOOTY – new photo

1922 NSW Schoolboys Team 2 smallEver thought about where our footballers came from years ago?  I mean what junior football did they participate in.

In Sydney, junior club football was almost non-existent until about 1923 when the Metropolitan Australian National Football Association was formed.  And even then the lowest grade was Under 16.

Previous to this there was a junior league in Sydney but the age group was more for boys 18 or 19.  A Young Australian Association also existed for some time up to the first war, but again, the age group was not for minors.

Ironically, football was played quite extensively at schools during the first decade of the twentieth century in Sydney.  The NSW league even had a fulltime school football organiser.

In 1906 a schools competition in Sydney had one A Division group comprising Petersham, Fort Street, Pyrmont, Waverley and Kogarah, the first two teams to give the others handicaps while 37 schools made up the remaining seven groups in B Division .

Eight Catholic schools participated.

Petersham Superior School won the final game that year against Double Bay for the schools premiership and also the right to travel to Melbourne in an all expenses paid trip to play for the schools championship on the MCG.  Their headmaster however, Mr James Rickard waived their claim which permitted the winners of a match between Double Bay and Fort Street to go.

The following year the Young Australian competition reported that 29 teams participated in their competition.  New teams include: Ryde, Nth Annandale, Bexley and a second St Leonards.

A Grade consisted of Ryde, Nth Shore, Kegworth, Paddington, Kegworth B, Sydney B, St Leonards, Illawarra (Hustville), Drummoyne, Petersham, YMCA, Newtown, Balmain, Eastern Suburbs and Northern Suburbs.

The B Grade included Newtown, Kegworth, Summer Hill, Sydney, Balmain A., Summer Hill and Bexley all playing of a Friday afternoon.

In 1909 the secretary of the PSAAA committee, Mr Garden suggested that rather than send a single school team to Melbourne each year, maybe it would be more stimulating to send a representative side.

As a consequence a schoolboys team comprised of: W. Stafford, F. Crozier, E. Cullen-Ward, R. Smith, B. O’Grady, S. Russell (Fort St); A Stenhouse, L. Dunbar, J. Kelly (Petersham), Ron Swan (Ryde), Arthur Emanuel, & Bede (Erskineville), J. Adams (Double Bay); Walker, John Iler, Thompson & George Thew, Gordon, (Burwood).  Emergencies: Ernie Messenger (Double Bay), Dean (Ryde), Hadden (Hurstville) & Stan Morehouse (Erskineville) was chosen.

They had no chance against a team representing the public schools of Victoria.  The match was played on the MCC Ground on 24 September, prior to the VFL final and it was a very one sided affair, the home boys winning by no fewer than 116 points.  The Victorian boys were heavier and bigger than the visitors.  Final scores: Victoria 17.14 (116) NSW 1.6 (12).

In 1912, under the control of Mr G Perry of Burwood Superior School, announced he would have six teams in the competition. “It was,” he said, “intended to reduce the age of the players in the Young Australian League to 18 years, so that boys at school, and those who have just left school, but who are too youthful for the association team, may enter it’s ranks.”

The war however changed everything with school and junior football.

Eventually it was left to people like Rupert Browne, a teacher of the Gardeners Road Public School at Mascot (formerly of Kegworth school in Sydney) who in April 1914 suggested the concept of introducing an under 16 competition in Sydney schools.

Gardeners Road school in those days was an intermediate high school or in contemporary terms a junior high school.  They also offered advanced education at night and by 1918 had a school population of 1800 students.

PSSA or PSAAA (as it was called in those days) have nurtured many young footballers in their state teams over the years.  These are the best primary schoolboys who play annually in a national carnival at a venue around Australia.

Strangely not a high percentage of these boys over the years, have gone on to play top level football.  Some don’t even go on at all.

The interstate schoolboy carnivals began in 1921 after NSW separately played Victoria and Queensland in school football in the years immediately after WWI.

The first carnival was held in Brisbane where the Victorian side went through undefeated.

Initially the NSW team was drawn from schools like, Paddington, Newtown, Double Bay, Glenmore Road (Paddington), Kogarah, Hurstville, Coolamon, Narrandera, Newcastle and Gardeners Road.

NSW won the 1923 and 1924 national PSAAA.  Both years the side contained some great local talent.  Some of whom would go on to represent the state at a senior level and Gardeners_Rd_School_1925 smallat least two, a Double Bay and Gardeners Road boys, played in the VFL.  One captained Fitzroy.

This photo on the right shows the NSW schoolboys team in 1925 in their visit to Brisbane.  They are wearing jumpers from the Gardeners Road Public School and amongst their number includes Stan Lloyd who played 117 games with and captained St Kilda, Lionel Hastie, who played 13 games with the strong Fitzroy Club in 1931, Stan Powditch winner of three NSW Football League’s leading goalkicking award in  the 1930s and of course little Jimmy Stiff, who won the best player award in the 1933 Sydney All-States National Carnival.

We have all the names of these boys but aligning them with a face is most difficult.

By 1926 the Sydney Schools competition had split into two divisions, Northern, which included Lane Cove, Artarmon, Willoughby, Gordon, Chatswood, Hornsby, Lindfield, Naremburn, Crows Nest, Neutral Bay & Mosman schools.  The other was called Metropolitan which included: Gardiners Road, Glenmore Road, Double Bay, Epping, Erskineville, Newtown.

One item I dragged out of the archives from August 1926 you might like is the following:

“The Victorian Central Schools defeated Metropolis (Sydney Metro) at Chatswood Oval yesterday by 70 to 44. Caravagh (2) Jimmy Stiff (2) Reed, Burge and Smith were the goalscorers for the local team.”

But, it all changes.