Harding Bickford is a good fit for the Norwood newcomer of that surname who participated in the 11.13 to 1.2 defeat of North Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday 25 May 1894. A clue to his identity is provided by the journal Quiz and Lantern: “Cyclist Bickford played for the Norwoods for the first time, and showed any amount of pluck.”
Harding Bickford, 17, and his older brother Harry, better known by his middle name Fairweather, were both up-and-coming cyclists at the time, but Harding also had a football background as the successful captain of the Queen’s School team in 1892. He won the Queen’s School Cup as the champion athlete that year.
Harding was born on 14 January 1877 to Harry Bickford and his second wife Rosina Mary, née Ferguson. Harry Fairweather Bickford, born in 1874, and Harding had an older sister, May, known as Isabella.
Harding and Fairweather were members of the Adelaide Cycling Club, where their father was president. Also at the club were their cousins Sidney and Harold Bickford. Sidney played a game for Norwood in 1889 while a 14-year-old at St Peter’s College. Harold was a champion cyclist for some years and also played football for South Adelaide, West Torrens and Sturt. He succeeded his uncle, Harry Bickford, as managing director of the family company, A. M. Bickford & Sons, manufacturer of drugs and cordials.
Harding Bickford worked in the company’s laboratories until 1908, when he went to London and qualified as a pharmacist. On his return he was an assistant lecturer at the University of Adelaide, then manager of the Bickford offices in Sydney and Brisbane. A bachelor, he died of pneumonia in Brisbane on 5 August 1919. He is interred in the North Road Cemetery, Nailsworth.
It is feasible but less likely that it was Harry Fairweather Bickford, rather than his brother, who showed pluck in his one game for Norwood in 1894. Fairweather married May Innes-Ker in 1903 but died three years later, on 8 July 1906.
P Robins, D Cox Nov 2020