A foundation member of the South Adelaide Football Club, Ted Colbey switched to Norwood for one season, 1879, celebrated a premiership and played in the Australian game's first intercolonial match before returning to his first love. He was a South premiership player in the inaugural season of the SA Football Association, 1877, and again in 1885, the year he retired.
Born in Adelaide on May 1857, Ted was a champion runner and high jumper. When the goalkicker Bill Dedman controversially defected from South to the first Norwood team in 1878, The South Australian Chronicle & Weekly Mail remarked: "Ted Colbey, whose equal is hard to find, still remains at the Club."
In August he joined a Victorians club touring party by invitation and played four matches across the border. In December he married Grace Graig Dobbie.
In the following year, however, he got on the Norwood bandwagon as it ran to two seasons without defeat, having only three goals kicked against it in 1879. That was in club matches. In what was then rated the best match ever played in the colony, Norwood did have its colours lowered by Geelong, 3.19 to 0.3, in a fast, rough encounter before 2,000 spectators at Adelaide Oval on 17 July. Ted, a defender, played in that match.
Sixteen days earlier he had been conspicuous at times as a member of the SA team which comprehensively lost to Victoria, 7.14 to 0.8, before a crowd 10,000 at East Melbourne in the game's first intercolonial match.
Ted was one of nine children of John Colbey, who was born at St Helena, the son of an East India Company officer, and became SA's inspector of postal and telegraph services when the Postmaster-General operated from a one-room building where the Adelaide Club now stands. Ted himself worked for the postal service for 34 years before retiring though ill-health in 1912.
Meanwhile, he developed an orchard and garden from scrubland at Longwood, near Aldgate. His fruits, vegetables and flowers won prizes at many shows and he was himself a judge for 40 years. Longwood was named after Napoleon's home at St Helena. From cuttings taken from Napoleon's grave, Ted helped spread weeping willows through the Hills and along the River Murray. He died at 82 on 27 September 1939 after a sudden illness.
P Robins Dec 2017