One of the highlights of defender Tom Barlow’s modest football career was playing before the Governor of South Australia and his wife, Lord and Lady Tennyson, in a vital game at Adelaide Oval on 7 August 1899.
It was a clean contest, conspicuous for good marking and kicking, brilliant running with the ball, but, above all, by the exceedingly friendly spirit in which it was played – which was remarkable, given the high stakes at play. If Port Adelaide won, it would finish in top position going into the finals, with South Adelaide second and Norwood third. If Norwood won, it would be second to South, with Port third. In the event, Norwood took the honours, 5.5 to 3.7. Tom was an onlooker at the final two games, with Norwood in turn defeating and then losing to South, which, as the top team, used its right of challenge to clinch the premiership.
Tom bowed out a year later as a member of the Norwood team which defeated Port 3.11 to 3.5 in another exciting game at Adelaide Oval. For the rest of his life he would talk of the happy days before Norwood had a home and he would train with his mates in the parklands.
Tom was a grandson of Thomas Barlow, a formidable temperance advocate who migrated from Birmingham in the early years of the colony and founded the widely reputable firm of Thomas Barlow & Sons, coach builders, Hindmarsh Square.
Tom was born at Kent Town on 4 July 1874 to Joseph and Mary (Newman) Barlow. He had four brothers and two sisters. He married Ethel Langsford at the Spicer Memorial Methodist Church, St Peters, in 1909 and they had four children, Bruce, Rex, Edna and Marjorie. Tom worked for Colton, Palmer & Preston. He died at Payneham on 3 June 1944.
P Robins, D Cox March 2020