From The Daily News (Perth), 28 January 1924
The late Barney Murphy – An old footballer and athlete
On the 11th inst., at Perth, Western Australia, there passed away at the age of 70 years Bernard (Barney) Murphy, an old footballer and all-round athlete of Victorian fame. He arrived in Victoria about 56 years ago, and after finishing his scholastic career at Saint Xavier’s College, Melbourne, he entered the Victorian Civil Service, from which he later resigned to accept the position of accountant at the Carlton Brewery in Carlton.
Being of strong physique combined with exceptional energy and stamina, he entered the athletic arena and became a player and competitor in many spheres of sport. He was most versatile in his sporting achievements. The list of his successes and prizes won is a long one, and his record as an all-round athlete would be hard to beat.
He was a prominent follower and half-back player in the old famous Carlton Football Club of the 1870s, and was one of the pioneers of the old school of the Australian game, when the two leading clubs, Carlton (dark blues) and Melbourne (reds), fought strenuously and manfully to achieve supremacy. Some of his club mates of the time were George Coulthard, Jack Donovan, Jack Gardiner, George Robertson, Paddy Gunn, Billy Geer and Billy Deadman, and there are some old rivals of the Melbourne and other clubs who still survive, one of whom is Mr Justice Cussen of Victoria.
The deceased was a foremost sprinter in his day, and was well known amongst old pedestrians, and on one occasion was matched against an English runner of note in races held on the old Friendly Society Ground in which honours were about evenly divided.
As a leading member of the noted Carlton Brewery Fire Brigade (volunteers), Barney Murphy will be remembered by old competitors and firemen in their brigade demonstrations not only in Ballarat, Bendigo, Maryborough and other districts of Victoria, and often when the call to duty came Barney would sprint ahead of the brigade and be ready for the brigade’s arrival at the scene. It might be mentioned that this brigade was splendidly equipped and financed by the proprietor of the brewery, the late Mr E. Latham, a fine old English gentleman.
As an old Victorian cyclist of no mean calibre Barney will not be forgotten by the old Fernside Bicycle Club and other old cyclists. He was a competitor in the Austral wheel races of those times of spectacular racing on the high machines, and when that great rider, Tom Busst, thrilled the crowds with his dashing sprints and racing.
Another favourite pastime of the old sport was the art of self-defence, and on Saturday nights, after an afternoon’s game of football, he and his club mate, George Coulthard, would often be participants in bouts at Abe Hicken’s rooms with leading lights of the fistic art, among whom were Jim Mace (the world’s heavyweight champion of those times), Abe Hicken, Peter Jackson and other celebrities.
Barney Murphy was known in other circles of sport – rowing, cricket, etc., but those previously mentioned were those in which he excelled and was widely known. One would think that such a career was beyond human endurance; yet to the end of his days his limbs were like bands of steel and his past strenuous athletic life was in no wise accountable for his demise.
He came to Western Australia about 26 years ago, and in his late years took part in the Old Brigade carnivals and was honoured by being elected captain of the old Victorian football team in the games held at the carnivals, and at which on one occasion the old boys mounted the old veteran on a high pedestal and greeted him with a salvo of cheers – a fitting tribute to this grand old sport.
When the time came for the real combat and battle of life, and volunteers were sought for in the time of the great war, the old warrior presented for enlistment, and was passed as medically fit, but he was a very disappointed man when he was turned down on account of his age, especially as the medical officer had commented to him so favourably on his physical fitness.
Barney had many fine qualities and with his personality and quiet, unassuming nature he endeared himself to all who knew him, and many of his old friends, comrades and rivals in sport will recall pleasant memories of the good old days when they think of him. The deceased came of an old military and professional family well known in the hunting fields of Ireland and England. His father was a Melbourne solicitor, and his brother Eustace and nephew are in practice in the same profession in Melbourne.
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