Gus Mumme was only 33 when he tragically died in a fire in the West Australian Goldfields on the night of 23 January 1907. He went to sleep with his clothes on in his camp near the Launceston Hotel, Boulder, leaving a candle burning. He awoke to find the hessian tent ablaze and was so severely burned that he expired before medical help could be procured.
It is more than likely that Gus, christened John Augustine, was the J. Mumme who played for Norwood in 1895, though it also is quite feasible that J. Mumme was his older brother Joseph Daniel. Both brothers had very similar early lives. Both showed sporting prowess at Christian Brothers' College, both played football for South Juniors and Goodwood, both moved to the Goldfields after one of them briefly appeared with Norwood.
Gus was born to Charles Mumme and his wife Mary (McLauchlin) in Adelaide on 26 July 1873. Joe had arrived on 17 April 1870, the first of five boys who had two older sisters.
Joe, at 16, no doubt was the J. Mumme presented with a gold pin for most goals kicked for the South Adelaide Juniors in 1886. Two Mummes were playing with the club in 1887. At the end of the 1892 season, The Express and Telegraph described the Mumme brothers as the backbone of Goodwood in the Adelaide and Suburban Football Association.
Quiz and Lantern in April 1895 named J. Mumme, "a back player" from Goodwood, as a likely junior player for Norwood in the coming season. Gus was 22 whereas Joe had just turned 25, though "junior" might equally refer to the player's age or the status of the Goodwood club. J. Mumme kicked a goal on debut with Norwood in the 7.8 to 1.3 defeat of the Natives at Adelaide Oval on 4 May.
J. Mumme also was a member of the Norwood party which visited Melbourne at the end of May, defeating Essendon, drawing with Collingwood and South Melbourne, and losing narrowly to Melbourne. The Argus noted that Mumme was "very clever at high marking".
Joe, a noted junior cricketer, was probably the Mumme who was making runs in the Broken Hill area in October 1895. Two Mummes, quite possibly Joe and Gus, were members of the Coolgardie football team in 1898. J. Mumme represented the Queen's Star Football Club against Boulder City Rovers in 1899.
'Boodie' to his mates, Gus was a popular Goldfields sportsman best known as a fast bowler, a lacrosse player and a runner. Mourned by his brothers Joseph, Frank, George and Edmond, Gus was buried at the Kalgoorlie Cemetery on 25 January 1907.
Joe Mumme established a farm and vineyard near Perth. The son of a union officer, Joe often quoted the dying words of early SA Labor leader John Abel McPherson: "Tell the boys to pull together." He was the beneficiary when his mates pitched in to save him after the banks threatened to foreclose on him during the Great Depression.
* Family historian Glenda Mumme says that her husband Ross - a first cousin twice removed of Joe and Gus - was known as the Melbourne Redleg when he played in VFL junior ranks as a recruit from Echuca in the 1960s.
** Glenda Mumme supplied our picture, which she believes was found under the mattress of Joe Mumme's son after he died in 2008 at 96 years.
P Robins Jan 2019