General Percy Brereton
Maitland, New South Wales, Australia
Mosman, Sydney, Australia


From The Australian Dictionary of Biography:

By Don Wilkey

Percy Brereton Colquhoun (1866-1936), sportsman, lawyer and politician, was born on 28 September 1866 at West Maitland, New South Wales, third son of George Colquhoun (1830-1901), a solicitor from Kent, England, and his London-born wife Mary (Polly), née Poulton. George, a descendant of a prominent English legal family, migrated to New South Wales in 1853 and was crown solicitor from 1894.

Percy was educated by a tutor until the family moved to Sydney in 1877, when he attended Saint Paul’s School, Redfern, and, from 1881, Newington College, where he captained both the rugby and cricket teams and was a sergeant in the cadet corps.In 1886 Colquhoun was articled to his father (then a partner in Allen & Allen); he was a committee member and librarian of the Articled Clerks’ Association. On 6 June 1891 he was admitted as a solicitor. That year he and his rugby team mate Herbert H. Lee opened Lee & Colquhoun at Orange. In 1893 the business was extended to Blayney, but in 1896 Colquhoun returned to Sydney to open their head office. In the 1890s he was a second lieutenant in the 1st Infantry Regiment.

Colquhoun had joined the victorious University Football (Rugby) Club in 1885. Next year he was chosen for the New South Wales tour of New Zealand, and was the team’s leading point scorer. By 1887 he was rated as the outstanding three-quarter in Australia, with a magic game based on balance and poise, skilful footwork and brilliant running, and the ability to kick field goals as opponents were closing in on him. He played for New South Wales in inter-colonial matches until 1896.

Also a first-class tennis player, Colquhoun in May 1889 represented New South Wales against Victoria at the Sydney Cricket Ground, winning both his singles matches. He played fifty-five matches for New South Wales against Victoria between 1889 and 1899, with a last appearance in 1909. A dashing player, he was a pioneer of the modern school with great volleying and smashing and a fine service.

He always played in knickerbockers and black stockings. He twice held the New South Wales men’s doubles title (1893, 1896) and won the mixed doubles in 1895 and 1896 with Mabel Ann Shaw (d. 1914), whom he married in Melbourne on 30 April 1897. She was a second cousin of George Bernard Shaw and, with her sister Phenie, one of the foremost lady players; in 1885-96 they won eight Victorian and ten New South Wales titles.

After playing with the Killara Golf Club’s “A” team for two seasons, Colquhoun turned to lawn bowls. With a game distinguished by the ease and rhythm of his delivery, for almost two decades from 1907 he represented New South Wales against all the Australian States and New Zealand. In 1916 he defeated the former international cricketer Harry Moses, 32-22, at the City Bowling Club to win the State singles title, in a game which was long remembered as the best ever seen in Sydney.

Colquhoun was a vice-president and president in 1911-12 of the New South Wales Lawn Tennis Association. In 1909 he became president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australasia, and refereed Sydney’s first Davis Cup challenge round final. He worked strenuously on the Davis Cup sub-committee and held together the shaky alliance with New Zealand until 1922. He was first president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia until 1926 when its headquarters were transferred to Melbourne.

In 1913-20 Colquhoun held Mosman in the Legislative Assembly as a Liberal-Nationalist. Chairman of committees in 1919-20, he was an excellent debater and was regarded as an authority in constitutional law. In later years he concentrated increasingly on his legal practice with George King, his partner from 1912. He retired in 1934.

For many years he played district tennis for Mosman and Middle Harbour and later socially. He was an ardent cricket lover, enjoyed surfing and often had century breaks at billiards. In his quieter moments he loved growing flowers and was a skilled carpenter. He was a trustee of Taronga Zoological Park.

Survived by a son and a daughter, Colquhoun died of cerebro-vascular disease at his Mosman home on 23 October 1936 and was cremated with Anglican rites. His estate was valued for probate at £424. He was one of the finest all-round athletes to have represented New South Wales. Few have been more popular –he was remembered as much for his charm, old-world courtesy and affability.


Archive statistics 1888 - 1909

Tournament wins 1897 - Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships (Amateur)

Tournaments New South Wales Championships - 1909 Australian Open - 1908 Victorian Championships - 1908 New South Wales Championships - 1908 Queensland Championships - 1908 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1908 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1900 New South Wales Championships - 1899 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1899 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1898 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1897 Victorian Championships - 1896 New South Wales Championships - 1896 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1896 New South Wales Championships - 1895 New South Wales Championships - 1894 Victorian Championships - 1893 New South Wales Championships - 1893 New South Wales Championships - 1892 New South Wales Championships - 1891 New South Wales Championships - 1890 New South Wales Championships - 1889 New South Wales Championships - 1888

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