John Elder was recruited by Norwood from Colac in Victoria. Educated at St Patrick's College in Ballarat, Elder had played for the Wycheproof Football Club before transferring to the Victorian Football League. He made two senior appearances with Collingwood in 1955,and then moved to South Melbourne (1956-57, 17 games).
Elder joined Norwood in 1960. He was one of the many ex-Victorians recruited by coach Alan Killigrew, joining the likes of Peter Brenchley, George Dellar, Geoff Feehan, Ian Gordon, Peter Kanis, and Phil Stephens.
An aggressive utility or half back flanker, he made his SANFL debut for Norwood in the opening round of the 1960 season. He was named as a follower, resting in the forward pocket.
Elder played his last game of league football late in the 1960 minor round.
In the 1960 Reserves Grand Final, playing as a half back flanker, Elder was very high in Norwood's list of best players, in its win against Port Adelaide
R Cialini Feb 2016