Alfred Jabez Roberts O.B.E. was a prominent South Australian sportsman and businessman. Born in Queen St. Norwood on 7 April 1863, and educated at Norwood Grammar School, he moved to Victoria with his parents in 1877. Whilst in Melbourne he attended Wesley College, and in 1880 he returned to Adelaide to live.
Roberts joined Norwood in 1883, having previously played for Kensington (1880-81) and South Park (1882).
Popular and well respected, the indefatigable Roberts had an outstanding first year with Norwood. He became an important contributor to Norwood's success in the 1880's. Ever reliable and hard-working, he was one of the State's best followers. He played in his first premiership in 1883.
Roberts then captained the team in 1886, becoming the first South Australian to lead the club. After handing the captaincy back to "Topsy" Waldron, he won three more flags in 1887, 1888, and 1889. In 1888 he was a member of the Norwood team that claimed the Champions of Australia title, having defeated South Melbourne three games to nil. Roberts missed the last match due to injury.
Roberts served on Norwood's committee from 1887 to 1889.
Roberts also had a distinguished career outside of football. He was a State tennis player, President of the South Australian Lawn Tennis Association and In 1914 went to England as honorary manager of the Davis Cup team.
Roberts was also a noted long distance runner and walker. He founded the Glenelg Bowling Club, was President of the Glenelg Golf Club, and promoted a tour of Australian baseball players to the United States.
He served as Mayor of Glenelg from 1901 to 1903 and 1916 to 1917.
A highly regarded member of the Stock Exchange for 40 years, he was associated with many leading firms in South Australia.
Roberts played a significant part in enlistment, and other patriotic campaigns, during World War I. He subsequently received the Order of the British Empire for his services.
Alfred Roberts died at Glenelg on 3 July 1939.
R Cialini March 2015