Percy Barkla was the grandson of Captain William Barkla, who came from Cornwall in the 1850s to work the copper mines at Kapunda. Born at Kapunda on 14 April 1872 to Abraham and Maria (née Lord), Percy played for Norwood, Port Adelaide and West Adelaide.
He made a promising debut with Norwood against Medindie in 1891, The Express and Telegraph noting that "Barclar (sic) did some very serviceable work with his long marking" after he and two other young players, Lord and Kirby, were given a chance when the experienced O. Bertram, Correll and Parkinson were rested.
Percy, as a rover, was Norwood's second best player after captain Alf Grayson against Broken Hill on 13 August 1892 in the first match played by a NSW football team at Adelaide Oval. Augmented by striking miners, the visitors began well before succumbing to a below-strength Norwood, 7.7 to 3.5.
During 1892, Percy shone for the Norwood second team, the Rovers, premier in the Adelaide and Suburban Association with 11 wins and one loss. He captained the Rovers in 1893.
In 1895 he was vice-captain of the Railway Service team which, wearing red and blue, attracted good crowds in a tour of the South-East with Norwood's 'Bunny' Daly and Percy Stuart as guest players. Later that season he represented Port Adelaide, The Evening Journal reporting that "Barkla, a new man, did all the ruckwork" in a promising first appearance. He also played with Port in 1896 before dropping down to Rosewater in 1897.
In 1899 he joined his old comrade 'Bunny' Daly at West Adelaide, where he played 16 games and kicked two goals in two seasons.
Percy was one of many mourners at 'Bunny' Daly's funeral in 1913 and himself survived barely four more years. He was knocked over by a car in North Adelaide and 23 days later died in hospital on 13 November 1917, aged 45.
He was buried at the North Road Cemetery and survived by his sister Ella, the wife of James Gordon of Melbourne Street, North Adelaide.
P Robins April 2017