William Henry COLLETT


Guernsey Number:
Career: 1886
NFC Games:
NFC Goals:


Bill Collett was a tall, spare footballer who played for Kensington and South Adelaide before joining Norwood  in 1886. In his first game with Norwood, his clever play helped in the 5.9 to 1.4 defeat of Adelaide, the team that would be premier that year, in the North Parklands on 1 May.

It was a more challenging affair when Norwood took on Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval three weeks later.  Bill took the place of Paddy Roachock, who was unavailable. At three-quarter time, the teams were locked together. Norwood had scored 3.8 to 3.5 but behinds then did not count.  'Goalpost' in The Evening Journal wrote: "Bushby made an example of Collett, notwithstanding that he hurt his finger severely." In the last quarter, however, Bill marked splendidly from a kick-off and with great  aplomb  booted the goal which sealed the match for Norwood, 4.9 to 3.6. 

After his one season with Norwood, he married Sarah Jane Anderson of McLaren Vale, but formerly of Parkside, at St Stephen's Church, Willunga, on 28 December 1886. They raised five boys.

In an interview with The News in March 1932, the Eastwood resident said he didn't know why but "everyone calls me 'Old Bill'.  Except some of my grandchildren, who call me 'Silly Billy'. They all seem to like me. I always try to help everyone whenever I can.  I can sing a song and tell a good yarn.  And another thing.  I'm Jack Blunt - say what I think and don't kow-tow to anyone."

As grand master for the third time in 30 years, he had just presided at the annual Adelaide district meeting of Oddfellows. For many years he was senior attendant at the Parkside Mental Hospital. In his younger days he played cricket for Glen Osmond.

Bill and Sarah celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1935. Bill was 83 when died at Parkside on 20 July 1945.  He was survived by sons D'Arcy, Dave, Ken and Ted.  His wife and their son Malcolm predeceased him.

P Robins June 2018

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