For more than six decades, Jim Shaw carried a gold medallion with him wherever he went. He valued it so highly that he was fearful of losing it. On it was the inscription: "Norwood Football Club, 1889. Presented to J. Shaw for valuable services."
Jim's services were indeed valuable. As a key defender or a dashing wingman, he celebrated four Norwood premierships; shone in all three victories over South Melbourne for the championship of Australia in 1888; twice represented South Australia against Victoria.
Born at Overland Corner, near Barmera, on 3 August 1868, Jim, a policeman's son, was recruited from the junior team Creswick and made his senior debut at the age of 16.
He kept press cuttings as proof of his best-on -ground performance in the third match against South Melbourne in 1888. That year he also was prominent in Norwood's 5.8 to 1.3 defeat of Great Britain before a crowd of 6,000 at Adelaide Oval. In 1889 he was, as usual, in the best players as Norwood beat North Melbourne 4.4 to 3.15 before 7,000 spectators at Adelaide Oval (behinds not counting).
In 1890 he supplemented a largely South Adelaide team which drew with Geelong, five goals each. In 1891 he played at centre wing for SA in two matches against Victoria in Adelaide, for a 7.8 to 5.9 loss and a 5.6 to 4.7 win.
Jim acquired the nickname 'Lady', according to 'Topsy' Waldron, "because he used to part his hair so nicely". Waldron rated Shaw among the giants of his time and place. 'Old Timer' said in The Evening Journal in 1911 that Shaw and his team-mate 'Shorty' McKee, with South's Arthur Goode, "were such crack wingmen that I think most old players will say their likes have not been seen since". Jim also played forward, kicking nine goals for Norwood in 1887 and eight in 1890.
As a young man Jim was chosen in the SA rowing eight but did not get to compete in Sydney because his boss at the trading bank where he worked thought he was "too fond of sport" and moved him to Port Pirie almost on the eve of the crew's departure.
He played football at Moonta and Broken Hill in 1894. Soon afterwards, he was transferred by the bank to Coolgardie, where he was selected for a cricket match against the 1896 Test team on its return from England - without the Ashes but with his one-time coach George Giffen as a member. Jim contracted fever and could not play. He was even too ill for Giffen to see him in hospital.
Sent to Perth by the bank, Jim played football for the Rovers and captained the Banks lacrosse team. At the WACA Ground one day, he led his lacrosse team to victory in an early match and then immediately changed into football gear for an important encounter with West Perth - his immediate opponent being the former Essendon wingman Barney Grecian.
In 1903, at Trinity Congregational Church, Perth, Jim Shaw, the youngest son of Inspector John Shaw of Adelaide, married Isobel Coombe, a sister of Jim's former Norwood comrade and future knight, Tom Coombe. They had four children, Frank, Peggy (Payne) , Jack and Norma (Goodchild).
After his retirement from the Union Bank, Jim relaxed at the WA Tattersalls Club and the Perth Bowling Club before his death on 14 November 1953.
P Robins Sept 2017