Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

History Revisited - Resting Place of Australia's first world champ

AN EARLY FAVOURITE: Rowing was extremely popular in Australia's early days. Edward Trickett was an avid rower and Australia's first world champion. 
Uralla residents will know the old Trickett’s store with its impressive Victorian Italianate decorative parapet. Local business man C.E. Solomons built the corner portion with its parapet. In 1920, the building was purchased by local retailer Fred Trickett and extended further along Bridge Street to create Uralla’s main emporium. .

Four years before, in November 1916, Fred’s father Edward (Ned, “The Slab”) Trickett had been visiting Uralla to see his son. In addition to the general store, Fred was mining gold. His father was helping Fred in the mine when the shaft walls collapsed, severely injuring Edward.

On 28 November 1916, Edward died at his son’s home. The death was a major story, for Edward Trickett had been Australia’s first sporting world champion.

Edward Trickett was born on 12 September 1851 at Greenwich on Sydney’s Lane Cove River, son of boot maker and former convict George Trickett and his wife Mary. He grew into a tall (6 ft 4 ins or193 cm) well built man who worked initially as a quarryman.

Rowing had long been a popular sport in the colony.. By 1837 when the first Anniversary Regatta was held in Sydney,. both rowing and sailing were well established sports.

Trickett was ten when took part in his first race, finishing second in the under 16 maiden skulls at the Anniversary Day Regatta. At fourteen, he won the 12-foot dinghy title. He went on to defeat most of the State's professional scullers to become Australian Professional Sculling Champion.

In 1876, Sydney innkeeper and former sculler James Punch took Trickett to England to challenge for the world championship. On 27 June 1876 Trickett defeated reigning Champion James H. Sadler on the Thames’ Putney-Mortlake course, becoming the first Australian to win a world championship in any sport. On his return to Australia, 25,000 people gathered to give him a hero’s welcome.

Trickett became licensee of Trickett's Hotel and then proprietor of the International Hotel, both in Sydney. He continued competitive sculling. However, a rolling beer keg crushed one hand, leading to the loss of fingers. This affected his stroke.

In June 1880 Trickett went to England to defend his world title against Canadian Ned Hanlan, but on 15 November was defeated on the Thames course. In May 1882, he tried again against Hanlan, this time suffering a humiliating defeat

In May1884, Trickett moved to Rockhampton as a publican but was forced to return to Sydney in dire straits following losses in a mining venture. .Now teetotal and a strong advocate for the Salvation Army, his Church connections helped him obtain a position with the customs service.

Trickett retired from the service on 11 September 1916, just six weeks before his death.

Trickett was an immensely popular man, a sporting celebrity. In all, he won over 150 trophies, feats celebrated in ballad and verse and on cigarette cards.

In 1918, public subscriptions funded a memorial to him in Uralla. He is buried in the Uralla cemetery. Uralla's McCrossin's Mill Museum has a display on Edward Trickett including the memorial.. 
Note to readers: This post appeared as a column in the Armidale Express Extra on 17 February 2016. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015, here for 2016.

1 comment:

Crissouli said...

I have listed this post on That Moment in Time, under Interesting Blogs