Arthur James Diamond
(1878 – 1884)
Arthur James Diamond was the dynamic inaugural honorary secretary of the Norwood Football Club and it’s co-founder in 1878. His administrative skills, drive and personality ensured Norwood immediately became the most successful club in the colony winning six successive premierships under his leadership.
He served the club as honorary secretary from 1878 to 1884, with the exception of 1881 when he was the club treasurer. In the club’s inaugural year Diamond also served the South Australian Football Association as its honorary secretary and later in 1883, became its president.
His passionate belief in our new club and the diplomacy he exhibited in navigating it through the inaugural season were demonstrated by the many challenges he had to address and overcome. These included issues raised by envious rival club members and officials; being accused of bias in his dual roles as honorary secretary of the club and of the association; publically being called a scoundrel by the South Adelaide delegate Charles Kingston for violating the association rules by playing ex South player Dedman without consent; being accused of recruiting players from other clubs and importing seasoned footballers from clubs in Melbourne; managing a newly founded Norwood who were scheduled to play the two top teams from the previous year in the opening matches of the season and securing a playing ground on the East Park Lands Throughout all these challenges, and more, he stood firm in his belief in the future of our club.
Arthur Diamonds’ interests were broad and his influence extended into other sports, business and the cultural life of the colony. He was a manufacturing jeweller in Gawler Place where he was in a position to employ many of the Norwood players. He was a renowned raconteur, enjoyed performing on stage, wrote verse, played the English concertina and penned our original the club song at the end of the first successful season. He was also a great supporter of cricket in the colony and was instrumental in ensuring the great success of the Norwood Cricket Club.
Arthur Diamond left Adelaide in 1886 and moved to Fremantle where he immersed himself in the cultural, business, sporting and political life of the town. In 1890 he became President of the Fremantle Football Club and proposed the re-establishment of the Fremantle Cricket Club. In 1896 he established the Young Australian Football League, was Vice-President of the West Australian Football Association, a committee member of the Fremantle Literary Institute, President of the Fremantle Lumpers’ (Dockers) Union, and became the member for Fremantle in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia in 1901. He fought for issues such as fair wages, arbitration, working conditions, free secular education and old age pensions.
In July 1891 Diamond returned to Adelaide where his continuing energy and enthusiasm saw him, amongst many other activities, recommending to the South Australian Cricket Association that it amend its constitution to include football delegates on its committee in order to forge a closer relationship between the two sports. Before returning to Perth in 1893 he convinced the football association to play all big football matches on the Adelaide Oval.
His extraordinary achievements were proudly honoured at Norwood in 1969 with the naming of the A.J. Diamond Ballroom at the Redlegs Club and at the Fremantle Football Club his legacy is recognised through the A.J. Diamond Coterie Group.
Arthur James Diamond was a man with enormous enthusiasm and self belief. He did not stand on the sidelines of life but led by example through words and deeds. His involvement in Adelaide and Fremantle in business, politics, cultural pursuits and sporting organisations made him a man for all people. He was equipped with foresight and enterprise, exerted considerable influence, had a great sense of humour, an inexhaustible memory and a great love of stage and performance. The Norwood Football Club will be eternally grateful that this proud and successful club was founded by such a visionary.
We have much pleasure in welcoming club founder Arthur James Diamond as the 53rd inductee into the Norwood Football Club’s Hall of Fame.