The name Foote appears in Norwood records as a player in 1884 but there are no further details. A good fit is Walter Foote, who was 19 at the time and later captained the Gumeracha Football Club.
Walter was born at Gumeracha on 3 March 1965, one of five sons and two daughters of pioneer James Foote and his wife Bridget, née O’Neil. Of Irish stock, James had migrated from Somerset and was a champion ploughman who spent 48 years among cattle and farmers in the Adelaide Hills.
Walter reached his football peak as Gumeracha captain in the early 1890s. Three years in row he represented the South of the colony in matches against the North of the colony at Adelaide Oval. In 1892, he played on a half-back flank and had once and future Norwood men Bob Wilson and Tom Fallon as teammates. South romped home 9.5 to 3.8. It was a different story in 1893. Another Norwood man man, Fred von Doussa, came in for Wilson, but Foote and Fallon were still there for the 16.17 to 4.3 thumping by a North team bolstered by six sometime Norwood players – a rampaging ‘Tack’ Metherell,Walter Addison, Albert Flight, Arthur Loveridge , John Slee and Fred Thompson. Boundary umpires were employed at the oval for the first time. Norwood icon ‘Topsy’ Waldron was the central umpire and although he pleased both sides, he was so slow that at times he appeared to be walking. In 1894, Foote, Fallon and Wilson were in the South team which, under the captaincy of Norwood defender Arthur Jackson, came from behind to draw. North scored 3.10 to South’s 3.7, but behinds did not count in those days. Foote and Wilson were named in the best players.
Walter was both captain and chairman of the Gumeracha club in 1895. He was president of the Birdwood Football club in 1920. His brother Owen also captained Gumeracha. Owen was 18 months younger than Walter and therefore less likely to have been the Foote named by Norwood in 1884.
Walter married Clara Catherine Hurley in St Michael and John Church, Terowie, and they had five children, Owen, Eric, James, Roy and Clara. Walter later resided at 40 George Street, Norwood, and was 68 when he died there on 22 April 1933. He is buried in the Catholic section of West Terrace Cemetery.
P Robins, D Cox July 2020
* For the picture we thank John Gaven, whose great-grandfather was first cousin to Walter Foote