James Gairdner Blackmore, the 3rd son of Edwin Gordon and Eleanora Elizabeth Blackmore (nee Farr) like his brother George before him, captained St Peter’s College at football and went on to a brief career with Norwood.
Born at Kent Town on 28 September 1876, Jimmy was a keen schoolboy footballer and cricketer. As captain of the St Peter’s College First 20 in 1896, he extracted a measure of revenge for the pain George had suffered in the equivalent clash with Prince Alfred College five years before. In 1891, with George at the helm, St Peter’s was held scoreless in the last quarter while Prince Alfred banged on 5.2 to win by a goal. Under Jimmy, with his youngest brother Edwin as valuable support, St Peter’s won the intercollegiate match 6.8 to nil – the only time either of the old rivals failed to score.
Jimmy also played a gritty innings of 24 to stave off a threatened collapse as St Peter’s successfully negotiated a victory target of 101 in the 1896 intercollegiate cricket match.
Jimmy was 18 when he and schoolmate Stuart Bright were given a run in the Norwood team which thumped North Adelaide, 14.14 to 4.7, in August 1895. At the start of the following season, The Express and Telegraph listed new players for Norwood and added that Blackmore and Bright of St Peter’s College would further bolster the team after the intercollegiate match in June. Blackmore certainly did. He played regularly through the latter half of the season, most notably kicking two goals in the 6.11 to 3.6 defeat of Port Adelaide in July. Norwood, which had lost a swag of players to the WA goldfields the previous year, finished strongly in second position. Jimmy’s efforts received high praise. ‘Onlooker’ in The Chronicle said the promising junior “is one of the finest marks in the team, and will be a great player next season”.
It did not happen. Although seen as a likely replacement for one of the senior men who were unavailable at the start of the 1897 season, he chose instead to concentrate on his studies at the School of Mines and Industry, where he graduated with a Diploma in Metallurgy in 1899.
Jimmy’s closest brothers also played senior football – George with Geelong in 1893 and Norwood in 1894, and Edwin with North Adelaide in 1897. All three boys, the youngest of six brothers, 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.
When their father died in 1909, Jimmy and Edwin were working as assayers in the Transvaal, where George, who had served in the Boer War, had settled as a farmer. Jimmy was an assayer for the Bank of Africa in Johannesburg in 1903. He married Lilian Williams, formerly of North Adelaide, at Durban, Natal, on 3 May 1904.
It is believed that Jimmy passed away in 1963
P Robins Oct 2017 – from The Redlegs Museum – History of the Norwood Football Club
* Picture kindly supplied by Andrea McKinnon-Matthews, Archivist at St Peter’s College.