Alf Martin was a Moonta man, most likely a miner, who appears to have exhibited his football skills at Broken Hill and in one match with Norwood in the early 1890s. A report from Broken Hill in The Yorke’s Peninsula Advertiser of 27 February 1891 noted that “Mr A. E. Martin who was returned as alderman to the Municipal Council here recently is not Mr A. E. Martin, footballer, etc., late of Moonta . . . “
Martin, the footballer, presumably was Alf and a member of the Broken Hill team which played three matches in Adelaide in 1892. He was conspicuous in the forward pocket as Broken Hill took an early lead against Norwood at Adelaide Oval on 13 August, before the home team powered to a 7.7 to 3.5 victory. Broken Hill later beat Medindie-Adelaide but lost to Port Adelaide.
It may be that Alf stayed in Adelaide for a game with Norwood, which had already lost its premiership crown to South Adelaide before the teams met at Adelaide Oval on 24 September. Martin marked and kicked Norwood’s first goal in the third quarter. At three-quarter time South led 4.8 to 1.6. Norwood finished strongly but fell just short, 5.8 to 3.10, after Charlie Woods unluckily hit the post twice.
The South Australian Register said: “Martin, a new man, showed plenty of talent.” The journal Quiz and Lantern was similarly impressed, saying: “Perhaps the player around whom most interest centred was Martin of Moonta, who donned the red and blue. He is sturdily built footballer, has great coolness, is very active, and on Saturday kicked an excellent goal.”
That was it for Martin at Norwood, though he did leave an image. While no relationship has been found, he does bear a likeness to Len Martin, the Norwood 1925 premiership player from Broken Hill and later club secretary.
Born at Moonta on 10 July 1864 to Henry Martin and his wife Anna, née Crougey, Alf was one of six brothers and seven sisters, several of whom died at birth.
Sapper Alfred Ernest Martin emerged in World War I, enlisting on 27 September 1915 and serving as a member of the 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company before returning to Australia on 19 October 1917. He died at Nailsworth on 21 November 1932 and is buried at the West Terrace Cemetery.
P. Robins, D. Cox June 2021