Harry ‘Stork’ Haldane celebrated two premierships with Norwood and also played intercolonial cricket for South Australia with his football mates Jack Lyons and the Giffen brothers, George and Walter.
Born at Kent Town on 13 July 1865, he was the only surviving son of Thomas and Eliza (Dawson) Haldane. Two brothers died at birth but he had six sisters, Jane, Janet, Eliza, Ann, Emily and Mary.
‘Stork’ attracted notice when he kicked an uncanny goal from the boundary for an Adelaide & Suburban 23 which went down to the Victorian team Hotham, 8.19 to 2.4, at Kensington Oval in 1885. He made his Norwood debut that year and also was chosen in an eclectic team which played two games against Aborigines from Point McLeay and Poonindie mission stations at Adelaide Oval. Led by South Adelaide captain Alexander ‘Joker’ Hall, the local team won the first game five goals to four and looked even stronger for the second game with the addition of Norwood’s Peter Noble and Port Adelaide’s Bob Fitzpatrick, but the visitors triumphed four goals to three. ‘Observer’ in The Evening Journal opined that “the ‘white man’ could have won, I think, if they had wanted to”.
Taller than most of his contemporaries, ‘Stork’ hit his straps in 1887 when Norwood squeezed out Port by a fraction of a percent to take its seventh premiership.
During the 1888 season, after a win over Adelaide, ‘Follower’ commented in The South Australian Advertiser: “Haldane has developed into a splendid placed man, and almost always bested his opponent.” Norwood went on its second successive flag. ‘Stork’ did not play in the hat trick premiership of 1889 but completed six years at Norwood.
‘Stork’ played 11 cricket matches for South Australia as an allrounder between 1886 and 1894. He made 250 runs in 18 innings, with a top score of 70, and took six wickets for 94 runs. He was almost a bystander as the wicketkeeper in the team which demolished Victoria by an innings and 164 runs at Adelaide Oval in November 1891. In a total of 562, George Giffen scored 271, Jack Lyons 104, Walter Giffen 65 retired hurt and Harry Haldane 9. George Giffen took 9/96 and 7/70 as Victoria crashed for 235 and 163. ‘Stork’ did perform two stumpings, one each off the bowling of Giffen and Lyons.
‘Stork’ had shown his natural talent the month before, smashing 131 after his club team, Adelaide, had slumped to 3/35 on a dodgy pitch against North Adelaide. He later hit a classy 115 against Norwood sans George Giffen. His football captain ‘Topsy’ Waldon was a cricket team-mate at Adelaide. In 1890 they were involved in an unseemly squabble with South Adelaide player Jack Reedman and secretary J. Madden over the scoring board. ‘Point’ in the Adelaide Observer said: “One does not wonder to hear of a free fight arising out of a football match but it is a new experience with regard to Adelaide cricket.”
There was an amusing end to a football barney involving ‘Stork’ when he was a timekeeper at Alberton Oval with ‘Towney’ Gun. As the final bell rang, Norwood’s Charlie Woods marked on an acute angle, ran around and kicked the winning goal. The Port crowd erupted when goal umpire Ike Fisher waved the red flag to signal a goal. After an official enquiry endorsed the result, Port gave Ike £5 5/- for his troubles – and he intimated he’d welcome something similar next match.
Harry Haldane worked as a labourer. He was 86 when he died at Ararat, Victoria, on 12 August 1951
P Robins, D Cox May 2020