Bill Wilson was a defender for Norwood in his one league game – a pulsating draw with West Torrens –but made his name in country football as an outstanding player who celebrated five Mid-North premierships.
Bill was promoted to the Norwood senior team at Norwood Oval on 24 May 1924 when regular players Alick Lill and Henry Whitfield failed to pass fitness tests. It was a cracking game before an excited crowd of 16,000. Torrens began brilliantly and was not headed until late in the last quarter. Norwood briefly led by one point but scores were level, with the Redlegs poised to go into attack, when the final bell rang. Even then it was not all over. Torrens alleged that Norwood had been wrongly credited with a behind early in the game. The protest was dismissed and the scores stood at Norwood 9.15 to Torrens 10.9 – 69 points each.
Bill also played 12 B grade games in 1924, winning Norwood’s fairest and most brilliant player award and the SA Football League B grade best follower award. He kicked three goals.
Bill played for the Clements Gap Football Club in undefeated premiership teams in 1920, 1921 and 1922 in the Broughton Central Football Association. He contributed to another Clements Gap premiership in 1925, this time in the Western Areas Football Association. He coached Mundoora in the Western Areas association from 1928 to 1931, playing in the 1931 premiership team. He was vice-captain in 1932.
Bill Wilson was born at “Moorbank”, Clements Gap, on 31 May 1899, the 11th of 13 children of George Moore Wilson. He attended Clements Gap School and helped at the family farm before enlisting in the AIF on 5 August 1918. World War I was drawing to a close but he arrived in Europe in time to serve in the occupation forces before his discharge on 2 October 1919.
Bill farmed at Clements Gap until he bought a property five miles north of Mundoora in 1929. In 1933 he married Barbara McLaughlan, a nursing sister at the Port Broughton Hospital. He was not quite 55 when he died on 25 May 1954. He is buried at Port Broughton.
P. Robins Feb 2020
* For the picture and data we are indebted to country football historian Leon Stringer