Nineteen-year-old Horace Wilson picked up a premiership with Norwood in 1883 and went on to become a leading force in the development of football in Western Australia.
Born at Kadina on 28 June 1864, Horry played junior football and cricket with the Tritons club in Adelaide. After the Tritons' first football match of 1882, 'Goalpost' noted in The Express and Telegraph that Wilson "played a really grand game, carrying the ball out of danger time after time and always getting his kick". Horry and another future Norwood man, George Duncan, were chosen in the Adelaide and Suburban team that went down to Essendon at Adelaide Oval in June 1883.
Horry finished the 1883 season with Norwood, debuting on the wing against South Park on 4 August. He made the best players that day and in subsequent matches against North Adelaide, Port Adelaide, South Park and South Adelaide. He was especially good against Port in the 25 August victory which clinched a sixth successive premiership for Norwood. His long dashes from defence delighted Norwood fans over the next two seasons. He was prominent at Adelaide Oval on 23 August 1884 when a competitive Norwood went down to Melbourne, 5.7 to 3.6.
Horry was in his prime as one of the best backmen in Australia in 1886 when he joined the WA Victorians club as captain in 1887. When the Vics morphed into West Perth in 1891, he was the inaugural vice-captain to Ken McKenzie of Port Adelaide. McKenzie disappeared after the first game, leaving Horry as the actual captain in what was his last playing season. He was a fine drop-kick and almost uncanny with his smartness in dodging, being able to get in a good kick with his wonderful left foot in the most difficult conditions.
Horry also captained West Perth at cricket, leading the club to its first premierships in 1891 and 1892. In 1893 he was a wicketkeeper-batsman in first WA cricket team to play in the eastern colonies. Being the possessor of a genial personality, with splendid all-round ability in both games, great flair and excellent judgement, he became very popular with clubmates and spectators alike.
After he retired as a footballer, he continued to promote the game. In May 1895, he was in the chair when another former Norwood identity, Arthur J. Diamond, was elected President of the WA Football Association.
Horace Wilson was an influential businessman as WA manager of the Sands & McDougall stationery firm. He died at West Perth on 15 May 1925.
* Picture kindly supplied by WA football historian Greg Wardell-Johnson.
P Robins April 2018