Gus Honner is the chief suspect in our hunt for the Honner who briefly appeared for Norwood in the premiership hat trick year of 1889.
Honner came into the team for a big game against Port Adelaide before more than 10,000 spectators on 24 August. It was a rough, tough encounter with injuries on both sides, but Norwood kept its premiership chances alive by hanging on for a draw, 3.7 to 3.8 (behinds not counting). The Advertiser writer ‘Follower’ said: “The eastern team played Wilson and Honner, two new men. Wilson undoubtedly played a brilliant game, and he is certainly an acquisition to the twenty. Honner was only fair, but with experience should develop into a good man.”
Neither showed out on 28 September when Norwood outslogged South Adelaide 6.11 to 2.3 on an Adelaide Oval mudheap. Bob Wilson was there a week later for the colony’s first grand final, in which Norwood beat Port 7.4 to 5.9, but Honner was not. The South Australian Register remarked that since the previous meeting of the teams Norwood was “somewhat improved” by the substitution of McGrath, O. Bertram and Roachock for Haldane, Honner and McCarthy.
Gus Honner was born at South Road, St Marys, on 6 May 1870 to the Reverend Alfred Honner and his wife Elizabeth, née Swindley. Gus’s father was a versatile sportsman at school in England. A future canon, he was ordained in Adelaide in 1869 and served as rector of St George’s Anglican Church, Woodforde, for 37 years before his death in 1909. Gus had an older brother, Robert, who was six when he died of cholera at the Magill parsonage in 1874. His younger brother, Charles, was killed in the Boer War. His sister Elizabeth was the baby of the family.
Gus attended the Adelaide Collegiate School. He most likely was the Honner who played well for the Magill junior team when it went down to Hardwicks, 8.4 to 0.2, in May 1887. In the same month R. Honner, of whom we know virtually nothing, kicked one or two goals for Christian Brothers’ College in the 10.7 to 0.3 defeat of Prospect United. Perhaps he was Norwood’s Honner? One of the Honners played for a Rovers team of 23 which lost 6.6 to 0.1 to an Adelaide 16 in April 1990. Two weeks later a Honner kicked two goals for Norwood, which beat a Rovers 23 in a pre-season game, 7.7 to 2.4.
Augustus, the only surviving son of Canon Honner, was only 33 when he died suddenly on 15 June 1903 at Broken Hill, where he was secretary at the Central mine.
Married in February 1902, he had a son of six weeks, Augustus Thomas Robert Archibald Honner.
P Robins, D Cox March 2020