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Cricketing tales of John Edgar, one-time Rushall Park resident

December 13, 2020

John Thomas Edgar may not be a familiar name to many Victorian cricket fans today but his place in the sport’s history was secured when he, together with several early settlers, helped to establish the first Aboriginal cricket team to tour England in 1866.

Closer to home, he also secured a place in OCAV’s history when he, his wife Margaret and sister-in-law Eliza, became residents at Rushall Park.

John Edgar’s OCAV connection was discovered by resident Heather Hodge while she was researching another project.

“There is no accounting for what you can find in the Association’s annual reports. They are a rich treasure trove of history,” Heather said.

Born in Double Corner in Portland in 1848, Edgar grew up with his siblings and cousins at the family property Pine HillStation, Harrow in the Western Districts.

His father, David Edgar, subsidised a private school at the estate for the use of his children and the children of other settlers. John attended that school before going on to Hamilton College and later was one of the first pupils at Scotch College in Melbourne.

After completing his schooling, John returned to Pine Hills to learn the finer points of running Merino sheep. This saw him go to on to become an expert breeder and judge of the popular Western Victorian breed.  He took over management of his father’s property Kandook Estate at Harrow and later the ownership. He married Margaret Swan and they raised a family of twelve children.

It was during his time at Pine Hills that he developed a passion for cricket and for many years was a member and captain of the Harrow Cricket Club, the movers and shakers behind the Aboriginal cricket team.

How John, Margaret and Eliza, his sister-in law came to Rushall Park is not yet known although Heather is on a mission to find out.

“What we do know is that Margaret, was living in the Clarke Cottage in 1939, and Eliza Jane Clapham Edgar is cited as the first resident in the Amelia Elizabeth Smythe Cottage in 1940,” Heather said.

As for John Edgar, there is still a mystery about his residency.

“Although the Mount Gambier Border Watch Obituary 15 July 1941 states that John Thomas Edgar ‘…had been living at the Old Colonists’ Homes, North Fitzroy…’, and his death Certificate lists his death at North Fitzroy, Edgar is not listed as a resident,” Heather said.

He died aged 93, and was survived by Margaret, six sons, and three daughters.

 

Keith White, who had heart surgery two years ago, reckons he’s better now than he has ever been. He puts his state of health and well-being down to the life he has found at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa.

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