Tom Starr came to Norwood as a junior from the Hawthorn Football Club in Victoria and played three senior games before World War I ended his career.
Tom was born in 1890 at Joyce’s Creek, Castlemaine, Victoria. His father, Patrick Starr, died a year later, leaving two children under the age of two, Alice and Tom, to be raised by their mother, Mary, née Seddon.
Tom played with the Norwood B team for most of the 1913 season. Described as “a good forward man”, he was named in the best players in two matches Norwood played against a Combined Barrier team in Broken Hill on 5 and 8 July 1913.
Norwood finished bottom of the league table in 1913, with two wins and 10 losses, but the side was quite competitive and most unlucky, losing six matches by one goal or less. Tom experienced the pain when he broke into the side against West Adelaide at Jubilee Oval on 28 June. All players wore crêpe armbands as a mark of respect for the late John ‘Bunny’ Daly, a champion with both clubs. West was wildly inaccurate early. Norwood stormed home but fell four points short, losing 7.17 to 8.7.
Tom had better luck against Sturt at Unley Oval on 19 July. Playing on a wing in place of Sid White, who was recovering from injury and moved forward, Tom had an in-and-out game but enjoyed a seven-point win, 8.9 to 7.8. Frustration returned when Tom came in for Fred Mitchell against West Torrens at Norwood Oval on 2 August. Tom kicked a couple of points as Norwood finished strongly in a see-saw game. Thirty seconds from the end, Tom Dunn marked and then kicked a remarkable goal to give the visitors an unlikely victory, 5.11 to 4.12 – matching an earlier five-point win by Torrens over Norwood.
Tom was 23 when he enlisted as a private in the 10th Battalion AIF at Morphettville on 25 August 1913. His height was recorded as 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) and his weight as 160 lb (72.6 kg). On 11 September 1914 he was discharged as medically unfit for service.
Tom worked for the railways. He married Maud (Theresa) Plummer in Victoria in 1916. They lived in at Thebarton and had two children, Eileen, born in 1920, and Raymond, who arrived two years later.
Tom was 82 when he died in Adelaide on 6 May 1973. He is buried at Centennial Park Cemetery.
P Robins, D Cox November 2020
Reference: Norwood Men Who Served 1914-1918, Researched and Compiled by Michael Coligan, Norwood Football Club History Group 2015