John Townsend was named in the Norwood 18 to play the newly formed Sturt team in the opening round of the 1901 season on 4 May. He was replaced on the day by a younger debutant, Harry Miller, and so missed an historic appearance in the first match played at Norwood Oval.
The following week he played against South Adelaide on the Adelaide Oval. Norwood won by 63 points in front of a moderate crowd.
On June 1, 1901 Townsend played in the second half of the match against West Adelaide. A large crowd at Norwood saw the home team win by 27 points.
Born at North Adelaide on 25 July 1874, John Middlecoat Townsend was one of 14 children and the first boy after five girls. His father of the same name was 50 when he died at George Street, Norwood, early in 1893, survived by his wife, the former Mary James.
Young John became a draper’s assistant. He looks to be the Townsend who was vice-captain and a rover for Retail Drapers in their 8.12 to 2.2 defeat by Wholesale Drapers in September 1897. J. Townsend was vice-captain of the Early Closing football team in August 1901.
In earlier days, J. Townsend finished second to Norwood footballer Mick Plunkett in the 100-yard handicap hurdles at the St Patrick’s Day sports meeting in March 1894. A Townsend played well for Marryatville in the Eastern Suburban Football Association in 1895.
John Townsend married Henrietta Dew at Rose Park in 1901.They had two children, Frank and Marjorie.
John died at Parkside on 4 August 1950 and is buried at the West Terrace Cemetery.
R Cialini Sept 2021, P. Robins, D. Cox November 2022