Jim Cardwell

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James Hector "Jim" Cardwell (2 February 1916 – 23 December 1996) was an Australian rules football player, who served in Australian Army in World War II, but became most well known for his administrative work for the Melbourne Football Club, where he served as secretary for 25 years and was made a life member and inducted into the Melbourne Football Club Hall of Fame.

Contents

Early life

Cardwell was born in Port Melbourne on 2 February 1916.[1] Cardwell was a keen debater in his youth, winning the Victorian Solo Debating Championship twice in 1934 and 1935.[2]

Playing career

Cardwell began his playing career with the North Brunswick CYMS and won their best and fairest award.[2] He was subsequently recruited by the Melbourne Football Club, who played in the Victorian Football League (VFL), then the premier Australian rules football competition. Cardwell, however, never broke into Melbourne's senior team and played regularly in the reserves. In his first season with the Demons he was a member of Melbourne's VFL reserves 1939 premiership team.[2] During his time playing in the reserves, Cardwell began to show an interest in the administrative side of the game, becoming a delegate to the VFL for the Demons' reserves side.

World War II

Cardwell enlisted to the Australian Army on 23 December 1941,[1] only two days before Christmas, in Caufield,[1] to fight in World War II. Cardwell served in Darwin and New Guinea.[2] At one point during his service, when he was on leave, Cardwell was given an opportunity to make his VFL debut for the Demons, but he instead decided to take a honeymoon with his wife, Mavis. This was to be Cardwell's only opportunity to play VFL football and he retired having never played a match in the VFL. Cardwell was discharged from the Army after the conclusion of World War II, on 22 November 1945.[1] At the time of his discharge, Cardwell was serving as a sergeant with the 2/1 Australian Mechanical Equipment Company.[1]

"The Prince of Secretaries"

When the war finished, Cardwell became an assistant engineer with the Forest Commission and in 1948 he opened his own engineering business in Melbourne.[3] He also began to increase his work with Melbourne, becoming a selector of the Melbourne reserves team. He then became secretary of the reserves in 1949 and secretary of the of the seniors in 1951,[3][4][5] taking over from A. S. Thompson.[6] Cardwell, along with Albert Chadwick, who became president in 1950,[6] Norm Smith, who became coach in 1952,[6] Ivor Warne-Smith, who was the chairman of selectors, and former coach Frank 'Checker' Hughes, who was in charge of what would now be labelled the football department, became what has been described by one historian as Melbourne's "backbone of steel".[7] In 1956, Cardwell had a breakdown, due to working two jobs, which required a long recuperation.[3] The club subsequently offered to pay Cardwell and for him to become a full-time secretary.[3] Cardwell, saying he was "hooked on football",[3] accepted the job and gave up his engineering business,[3] in the process becoming the first full-time secretary in the VFL.

Cardwell's full-time appointment proved to be very successful, with Melbourne winning six premierships[3] in just 14 years,[6] in what has been called Melbourne's "age of greatness". Although Cardwell often clashed with Smith, who Cardwell had recruited from Fitzroy[3] and who went on to become the AFL Coach of the Century, they were close friends and both men always had Melbourne's best interests at heart.[2] Cardwell was secretary in the days before country zoning and in his role of secretary, Cardwell was also in charge of the recruiting and he had what has been described as a "relentless desire"[8] to search for the very best country football players. Due to his talent for convincing players to sign with Melbourne rather than other rival teams, Cardwell was called "The Prince of Secretaries"[3] and "The Doyen of Secretaries",[3] as he was considered the greatest Australian rules football talent scout of his era, with the success that Melbourne had during his employment being testament to his recruiting prowess, as it was he who assembled those Grand Final winning teams.[9]

Cardwell retired from his role of secretary at the end of the 1975 season,[3][6] having served as secretary for 25 years,[4][5] and serving the club in other roles for over 35 years. He was succeeded in the post by Ivan Moore.[6] Cardwell retained an active passion for the club until his death on 23 December 1996 after a long illness.[10]

Legacy

Cardwell recruited many of Melbourne's premiership greats, including Laurie Mithen, John Beckwith, Frank Adams, Brian Dixon, Athol Webb, Tassie Johnson, Ian Ridley, Bob Johnson and Hassa Mann.[3][11] He was one of the inaugural inductees in Melbourne Football Club Hall of Fame in 2001.[12] Cardwell was also made a life member of the Melbourne Football Club in 1960.[13] Ron Barassi named Cardwell as one of his "Top five MFC heroes" in 2008.[14]

References

Footnotes
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "CARDWELL, JAMES HECTOR". WW2 Nominal Roll. http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/script/veteran.asp?ServiceID=A&VeteranID=474001. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Hobbs, p. 158.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Hobbs, p. 159.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ward, Janelle (14 March 2008). "Melbourne Football Club The Milestones And The Highlights". The Age. http://www.checker.com.au/checker-articles/2008/3/14/melbourne-football-club-the-milestones-and-the-highlights/. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Chronology: A year by year summary of our history". Official AFL Website of the Melbourne Football Club. 4 October 2006. http://www.melbournefc.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/7415/newsid/2454/default.aspx. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "Melbourne FC Honour Roll". Official AFL Website of the Melbourne Football Club. 17 August 2005. http://www.melbournefc.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/7415/newsid/2573/default.aspx. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  7. Baum, Greg (20 July 2007). "Norm Smith & The Curse Of The Demons". The Age. http://www.curse.com.au/curse-articles/2007/7/20/norm-smith-the-curse-of-the-demons/. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  8. Hobbs, p. 26.
  9. Sheahan, Mike (14 November 2008). "Demons lose legend Ian Ridley". Herald Sun. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/dees-lose-a-legend/story-e6frf9mf-1111118030567. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  10. "Legendary Demon chief Cardwell dies". The Age. 24 December 1996. http://newsstore.fairfax.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac?page=1&sy=age&kw=jim+cardwell&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=entire&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=0&clsPage=1&docID=news961224_0135_2091. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  11. Piesse, Ken (26 June 2010). "Favourite Sons of Sunraysia". Sunraysia Football and Netball League. http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=0-4606-0-103369-0&sID=184540. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  12. "MFC Hall of Fame Inductees". Official AFL Website of the Melbourne Football Club. 17 August 2005. http://www.melbournefc.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/7415/newsid/2548/default.aspx. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  13. "Demons for Life". Official AFL Website of the Melbourne Football Club. 17 August 2005. http://www.melbournefc.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/7415/newsid/2551/default.aspx. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  14. Ward, Janelle (14 March 2008). "Selection committee". The Age. http://newsstore.fairfax.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac;jsessionid=0380665D736D355CAFAA30E203F7B2AB?page=1&sy=age&kw=jim+cardwell&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=entire&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=0&clsPage=1&docID=AGE080314OU4AJ7JS29F. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
Sources
  • Hobbs, Greg (1984). 125 yrs of the Melbourne Demons. Melbourne: Progress Press Group. ISBN 0959069402. 

External links


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