Wartime competition 1942 - 1944
Norwood-North games: 13
Norwood-North goals: 25
Affectionately known as 'The Flea' because of his jockey size, Jack Butler played as a rover-forward for Norwood North in the World War II competition but gained greater acclaim as a long-serving captain and wicketkeeper of the Glenelg Cricket Club.
Jack began his senior football career in 1942 with three goals against Sturt-South and was named second best player behind centre-half-forward Albert Sawley, who kicked four goals. Norwood-North was overrun in the last quarter, going down 15.19 to 11.16. Jack kicked 24 goals in 12 games that season. One year later, at the start of the 1943 season, he added a farewell goal as Port-Torrens scored a 16.19 to 12.12 win. Norwood-North turned the tables with a 12.10 to 8.13 victory in the grand final. By then Jack was dabbling in baseball and honing his cricket skills.
Jack was born at Kensington Park on 13 September 1919 to onetime Norseman miner Ammon Butler and his wife Ethel (née Treacey). Jack began his cricket as a schoolboy with the East Torrens B grade team. Two years later he was promoted to the A team and elected captain in 1939. During the war years he captained the East Torrens-Glenelg combined team and transferred to Glenelg when the war ended.
He captained Glenelg from 1945-46 to 1956-57 and steered his side to premierships in 1947-48, 1951-52 and 1953-54. Originally an opening batsman, he became a very good wicketkeeper and dropped himself down the batting order, hitting a top score of 122 not out along the way.
He captained a State Second XI, served as a South Australian selector and coached Glenelg after he retired as a player.
Jack and his first wife Marn had two daughters, Judith and Louise. Jack was sales manager of Eyles Co-operative Ltd, which supplied independent grocers, before retiring to Queensland with his second wife, Pat. When Louise moved to Brisbane, Jack built new change rooms for the Springwood Pumas, the football team of her son Zac, and taught his grandson the dark arts of wicketkeeping.
Jack 'Flea' Butler died on 14 August 2007 at the age of 88.
P Robins May 2019, January 2023
* We thank Zac Battersby for the picture of his grandfather Jack Butler.