John William MURRELL


Guernsey Number: 21
Career: 1926
NFC Games: 8
NFC Goals: 0
Debut: v South Adelaide (Adelaide) 8th May 1926
Finale: v Port Adelaide (Alberton) 14th August 1926


Three seasons a wingman with Geelong, Jack Murrell represented Tasmania against South Australia at Adelaide Oval in August 1925 and the following month was appointed Engineer for Sewerage in Adelaide.

Norwood recruited him as a follower and defender in 1926.  An evasive player who marked safely and kicked accurately, he lacked the dash of his early years and missed games through illness but nevertheless defended with credit on occasion.  An inconsistent Norwood finished third and Sturt won the premiership.  Jack retired from football and at the end of the year married Beatrice ('Trixie') Calvert, daughter of W. H. Calvert MLC, at St John's Church, New Town, Tasmania.  They set up home in Adelaide.

Born at Geelong on 23 June 1901, Jack was 19 when he debuted with the Geelong senior team.  Fair-haired and blue-eyed, the speedy 175 cm wingman played 36 games with Geelong from 1920 to 1922. Meanwhile, having passed through Geelong High School with honours, he achieved engineering qualifications at the Gordon Institute of Technology and the University of Melbourne.  From May 1922 to September 1924 he served the Geelong Waterworks and Sewerage Trust, then for 10 months was assistant engineer with the Hobart City Council.

While in Hobart he returned to football as a forward with New Town and earned selection in the Tasmanian team which suffered a humiliating 27.16 to 6.7 defeat in Adelaide on 29 August 1925.

Another bad moment in what had become his home town occurred in 1934 when he took two salesmen to court for false pretences after they sold him a length of "English tweed" that was neither English nor full measure.

Jack's professional life in Adelaide proved far more satisfactory.  As a senior bureaucrat he served on a number of government boards and often appeared before the Arbitration Commission.  Jack, as Engineer for Sewerage with the E & WS, and his one-time Norwood team-mate Bert Schumacher, the Public Service Commissioner, were recipients of the Coronation Medal in 1953.

Jack joined the RAN Reserve in February 1915, while only 14, and continued through to 1919, earning him official recognition of World War I service.  While in Adelaide he was a lieutenant in the Army Reserve.  He pulled on his boots one more time to play for Past versus Present in the Norwood Football Club's patriotic carnival at Norwood Oval on 10 August 1940.

The son of Ambrose and Ellen (Cuthbertson) Murrell, Jack was 78 when he died on 3 June 1980.  He had at least two sons.

* Picture courtesy of the Gartland Collection

P Robins Feb 2019

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