|Ray Jerrems, Family Historian||
Who is Anita Veale, and what is "AFL"?
The answer to the first question is easy.
was Arthur Ernest Jerrems, who in turn was the
grandson of Robert Cane Jerrems, one of the family
who migrated to Australia in the 1850s. Her husband
is George Veale, and she is an avid reader of Jerrems
|Ray Jerrems, Intenet Sleuth||
Several years ago Anita sent me a newspaper article. The occasion giving rise to the newspaper article was the unveiling of an imposing plaque (commissioned by the Geelong Club) at the McShane family's gravesite at Eastern Cemetery, Geelong. Anita unveiled the plaque in 1998 in a ceremony attended by Club representatives, family and friends. The unveiling was followed by lunch at the Club.
The Chairman of the club's History Committee paid tribute to the McShane family at the ceremony:
"This family is unsurpassed as far as Geelong Football Club is concerned. No family has contributed more to this club in terms of players".
I would call that an understatement!
In 2004 Anita and her husband George were guests of honour of the Club at an official function held at the sumptuous Crown Palladium. The Club presented her with the medal awarded to her great uncle Joe in 1897.
Interestingly, none of the next generation of McShanes produced any Australian Rules players of the same calibre, although it was not due to a lack of offspring. Jim had 12 children, including Anita's mother Therese!
Pictured: Boys football team, circa 1860 - 1900.
The Chicago Cubs should be so Fortunate
At last, the Geelong Cats have won the Australian Football League premiership after a 44 year drought! Hurray!
After successfully testing their claws on the other teams during the 2007 season Geelong played an Adelaide team in the Grand Final on 29th September 2007. In front of almost 100,000 fans they produced a leonine performance and won by a record margin of 119 points, This was the first time in a century that a winning team has won by more than 100 points. The score was 163 to 44.
This was not a casual backyard cat spat, it was a mauling.
To add to this feat, one of the Cats players had been awarded the Brownlow Medal (the prestigious "best and fairest" award in the competition) and a record nine "All-Australian Team" selections were made from the team.
It was also fitting that the victory came less than a week after Anita and George had celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary.
I must admit that I only watched the first part of the match on television, I listened to the rest on a transistor radio at a riverside park because my grand daughter Jessica insisted that I should put my time to better use. I received some funny looks as I helped her build sand castles, with the transistor up to my ear!
Hopefully the friendly tone of this article will help remove a degree of frostiness (just joking) between Melbourne and Sydney readers. You see, in 2005 the Sydney Swans won the National Premiership for the first time in about 70 years. To add to this indignity they knocked out Anita's beloved Cats in a semi-final. I rang Anita when the Cats were knocked out and she generously offered to barrack for the Swans.
Family Sports Legend
Meanwhile, in the same era as his Uncle Robert was playing football in Australia and the McShanes were rewriting the record books, Alexander Nicholl Jerrems was marking his mark in American Football (known in Australia as "Gridiron" because the many lines in the field of play resemble a gridiron).
Alexander, a son of Robert's brother William George Jerrems, was born in Australia in 1874. He played for Yale University from 1893 to 1896 and achieved fame in Yale's sporting annals because he was carried off on a stretcher in the memorable 1896 annual grudge match against Harvard. In his opening season for Yale in 1893 he played right half back, but in later years he seems to have shifted to full back. He was a good strategic kicker, gaining valuable yards in his matches.
At one stage the New York Times reported that "Thorne, Jerrems, and De Vitt are, taken together, stronger in their offensive play than any other three backs playing to-day."
A measure of the senior level of the competition was that the New York Times covered the matches in detail.
Alexander was also a good baseball player. In April 1896 he played a match for Yale in which "Hazen and Jerrems did the best work for Yale. Jerrems caught five hard flies, and did the hardest hitting."
In 1896 and 1897 he was college football head coach for the University of Minnesota, coaching the Minnesota Golden Gophers. His football career then recedes from view in the annals of American Football history, probably because his father William George Jerrems told him that at the ripe old age of 23 his energy could be put to better use in the family's tailoring empire. One is left to surmise what he might have achieved if he had continued playing at the senior level.
Do any readers have other football stories to tell us?
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