PLAYERS - CATERER, Thomas Ainslie

Thomas Ainslie CATERER


Guernsey Number:
Career: 1884
NFC Games: 2
NFC Goals:
Debut: v South Park 26th July 1884


Ainslie Caterer was closely associated with sport and education. He played football with Norwood and cricket for South Australia.  He was the first graduate of the University of Adelaide, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1879, and went on to a long and distinguished teaching career at St Peter's College. Wartime disruptions saw him as acting headmaster between 1916 and 1920.

Ainslie was born at Woodville on 16 May 1858 and attended Norwood Grammar, the school run by his father, Thomas Caterer, who was Mayor of Kensington and Norwood from 1880 to 1882 and President of the Norwood Football Club in 1882.

Ainslie began his football career with the Kensington club, where he was a player and honorary secretary in 1870. He served the SA Football Association as chairman for two years from 1880 and then as a committeeman. 

His career with Norwood was brief. He kicked a goal in the 8.15 to nil whitewash of South Park on 26 July 1884.  Two weeks later, in boisterous weather at Kensington Oval, he marked the ball from a kick-off and kicked the goal which levelled the score with South Adelaide.  A lucky Norwood goal in the dying minutes sealed a seemingly unlikely Norwood victory, 3.9 to 2.12.

Ainslie then served for two years as chairman of the Adelaide and Suburban Football Association and was awarded life membership in 1886. His main sporting interest, however, was cricket. He was a talented left-arm trundler with the old Kensingtons, who merged with Australs to form the Adelaide club.  When the Australian team to tour England played SA at Adelaide Oval in 1884, Ainslie  dismayed the crowd by bowling the popular Test captain Billy Murdoch first ball. In his one first-class game, SA defeated Victoria by 35 runs at the MCG in 1885. He was chairman of the SACA ground and finance committee and a proxy member of the Board of Control for International Cricket. He was elected a SACA life member in 1923.

In May 1921, ill health ended his 39-year active association with St Peter's College, where he was highly esteemed as "second master" and cricket coach but could go no higher because the school constitution stipulated that only a Church of England clergyman was eligible to be headmaster.

Ainslie also served the University of Adelaide Senate and Council. His hobbies were floriculture and breeding fancy fowls and turkeys. He was an honorary life member of the SA Poultry and Kennel Club. He married Amy Edmunds and on his death at Walkerville on 26 August 1924 was survived by daughters Colleen (Ringwood) and Brenda

P Robins June 2018

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