George Edward Blackmore, the 2nd son of Edwin Gordon and Eleanora Elizabeth Blackmore (nee Farr), had an enigmatic football career. From St Peter’s College, he went on to a successful season with Geelong in 1893. He returned to Adelaide, played the first game of the season with Norwood in 1894 and then was seen no more. George settled in South Africa where he was joined by his two younger brothers, James and Edwin, also promising St Peter’s College footballers who had brief senior careers.
They were greatly encouraged in their sport by their father, Edwin Gordon Blackmore CMG, who loved to engage in outdoor activities while serving as Clerk of the South Australian Parliament and, from 1901 to 1908, as the first Clerk of the Commonwealth Parliaments.
George was born on 9 May 1874 at St John’s Wood (now Prospect). He played intercollegiate cricket and football. He was captain of the 1891 St Peter’s College 20 which crashed to defeat in the last quarter of its match against Prince Alfred College, led by another future Norwood man, Tom Coombe. St Peter’s led 5.3 to 1.8 at three-quarter time but did not score in the last term while Prince Alfred added 5.2. George moved to Geelong Grammar School, where his activities sometimes clashed with his commitment to the Geelong Football Club in 1893. When he missed one match, the Sportsman paper said he had “left Geelong in the lurch”. However, he was praised as a long-kicking defender when Geelong defeated Fitzroy, and goaled in victories over Footscray and South Melbourne.
Back home, George made a promising debut with Norwood, which defeated Port Adelaide, 7.11 to 5.4, before a crowd of 4,000 at Adelaide Oval on 5 May 1894. The South Australian Chronicle remarked that the new men, Ted Hantke, Arthur Loveridge and Blackmore, “did excellent work, and should develop into first-class players as the season progresses”.
That was it for George. We do not know why he disappeared from the scene just then as Norwood was beginning its surge towards the premiership. One permanent link with Adelaide is his name on a tablet erected at St Peter’s College in 1902 to honour 80 old scholars who fought in the Boer War.
Joining in 1900, George served in the Boer War as a quarter-master sergeant with the 3rd South Australian Citizens’ Bushman’s Corps. In October 1901, his mother, Eleanora, died in Adelaide at the age of 53. She was the eldest daughter of Archdeacon Henry Farr, an early headmaster of St Peter’s College. After a stint in Lord Milner’s civil service post 1902, George settled in the Transvaal as a farmer and did not return to Australia. His brothers James and Edwin also moved there to work as mining assayers. James had played with Norwood in 1896 and Edwin with North Adelaide in 1897.
Their father, Edwin, born at Bath, Somerset, in 1837, fought in the Maori Wars as a young man before moving to SA. A keen horseman, he was looked upon as the father of the Adelaide Hunt Club. In the first Hunt Club Steeplechase, he engaged the poet Adam Lindsay Gordon to ride his horse, Launcelot. He was a great rowing enthusiast, rear-commodore of the Royal SA Yacht Squadron and patron of St Peter’s College. He and Elizabeth had six sons and a daughter. Edwin was 71 when he died in 1909.
P Robins Oct 2017 – from The Redlegs Museum – History of the Norwood Football Club
* Picture as student kindly supplied by Andrea McKinnon-Matthews, Archivist at St Peter’s College.
From Virtual War Memorial Australia
George Edward Blackmore, who died at Kronstadt, South Africa, on October 16, 1952, will perhaps be better remembered as a leading schoolboy athlete at St Peter’s College, Adelaide around the 1890’s. He was in the cricket eleven in February 1890.
George Blackmore made second score (23) in helping St Peters College to win against Prince Alfred College. Dudley Hayward was top scorer with 46. besides taking 5 wickets in each Prince Alfred College innings a Junior in the Prince Alfred side was Clem Hill. George Blackmore finished the season with a bowling average of 15 runs for each of 18 wickets.
It was as a footballer that perhaps George Blackmore was most pronounced. He always viewed with much pride his captaincy of the twenty in 1891 when St Peters College beat Prince Alfred College in the annual match, a circumstance which rarely, took place in those days.
George Blackmore was made a school prefect in June, 1891; he rowed two in the four-oar race won by Prince Alfred College in February, J891. W. H. Gosse (father of George Gosse. GC) was easily the best runner that year, winning the College Cup with George Blackmore second; the latter won the 150 yards hurdles (one of three cup events).
In his final cricket innings against Prince Alfred College in December,1891 he made top score (53) tor his side.
Farming in South Africa
A Letter from South Africa in July 1952, revealed that George Blackmore had been farming at Kronstadt in the Free State since the end of the Boer War.
He was Quarter Master Sergeant in the 3rd Bushmen’s Contingent (Capt. S. G. Hubbe, (O.C.), which left Port Adelaide in the Maplemore on March 7, 1900.
His heart gave him trouble some years ago and he was forced to rest.
Two of his brothers were still going strong in the mining world at Johannesburg—Jim (88 Sickle Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg) and Eddie. A younger brother, Jack, was farming at Clandulla, NSW.
George Blackmore visited Adelaide shortly after World War 1 and saw much of a close school pal, Fred Downer.
He married Martha Fourie in South Africa after the war and passed away on the 16th October 1952
Out Among The People By VOX (1952, November 7). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), , p. 4. Retrieved August 5, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47519589