MITCHAM FC HISTORY SERIES - Part 1: An Anzac Tribute to Paddy Gilchrist
Anzac Spirit - Paddy Gilchrist
Born: 1889, Died: 1970, Age: 81
Historians and researchers believe Paddy Gilchrist's achievements make him one of the most gifted sportspersons of all time to come out of the Eastern region of Melbourne and certainly one of the best to represent the Mitcham Football and Cricket Clubs. A Collingwood 1910 Premiership player, Paddy was also an Anzac and WW1 Veteran.
Bio: Mitcham FC
Played 14 years including 4 Premierships (Approx 215 games)
Started 1907 and finished in 1928
Captain Coach 5 years and retired aged 39
Other Premierships: Collingwood FC (1910) & Ferntree Gully (1913)
Cricket: Mitcham player who dominated at all levels. Also played for North Melbourne. A bowler who took approx 1,500 first XI wickets, 10 wickets x 3 and 5 wickets a staggering 155 times.
Mitcham boy: Paddy grew up in Mitcham and commenced with MFC in 1907 and by 1910 at 20 years of age captained the team and starred, attracting Collingwood FC scouts to pounce.
1910 Premiership player - Collingwood FC: In season 1910 he played and lost in Mitcham's Semi Final to Camberwell in July. Incredibly, he immediately found himself in the Collingwood FC Senior team going on to be a Pies Premiership player over Carlton in front of 42,790 spectators. He played 36 games and kicked 37 goals for Collingwood. The Argus newspaper described Paddy as "possessing an excellent footy brain, highly skilled with a great eye for a goal”.
Pictured above: Collingwood FC 1910 Premiership players, President & Committee. (Paddy is the very bottom player on the left side)
Ultimate irony: Later in 1913 he played for the Ferntree Gully Football Club, lured by their President with employment and cheap accommodation. This proved irresistible to a young man who was about to get married. Not surprisingly with Patty as their gun recruit, FTG won the 1913 premiership by 3 points at Morton Park. Ironically he defeated Mitcham and many of his mates. Paddy quickly learnt his lesson, and returned home to MFC with great success winning both the 1914 & 1915 Premierships.
Pictured above: 1921 Premiers & Captain Coach (Paddy centre)
Anzac Spirit - WWI trenches in France: Presenting as a very fit 26 year old he was the ideal solder who served three years overseas, mainly in France in the dreaded trenches. The aussies had a saying “you want to be in the trenches with him”, the highest compliment of the person you want to be next to when facing grave adversity. The enemy was brutal and it was life or death. Paddy was definitely one such person, a true Anzac in every respect.
Pictured above: 1919 Premiers & Captain Coach - After WW1 (Paddy seated centre)
1919 - Home coming & more Premierships: Mitcham residents and especially MFC players were most excited on Paddy`s return from the War in 1919. With the train pulling into the Mitcham railway Station, he was meet by a couple of players in Mr Walkers car ( the only car in town ) to take him directly to Walker Park, to play a match which had been held up for his arrival. His family caught up with him post match. A few matches later he played and won his 3rdMFC Premiership in 1919.
Pictured Above: Paddy Gilchrist named as a return soldier on the war memorial statue at Halliday Park, Mitcham (Fifth name from the top)
MFC Premierships - A Golden Era.
1914 Mitcham def Kew
1915 Mitcham def Blackburn
Recess: WW1 1916, 1917, & 1918
1919 Mitcham def Canterbury
1920 Mitcham Runner up (1 point loss to Canterbury)
1921 Mitcham def Burwood (Played at Walker Park)
Paddy`s love for footy and Mitcham: Paddy continued playing for or another 7 years, 5 as Captain Coach. He retired at the end of the 1928 season at the age of 39. A true Mitcham older statesman. A quality person that epitomises why he and many after him have ensured Mitcham FC had continued success and welfare.
Pictured above: 1928 - Paddy's last year, aged 39 (Paddy holding football)
Postscript: The all time great Bob Pratt - 150 VFL goals St Melb, 183 goals Coburg and AFL Hall of Fame & Legend status. Played his first senior game for Mitcham the year after Patty retired in 1929 as a 16 year football prodigy. Losing the 1929 Grand Final to Doncaster.
Author : Garry Wathen (MFC - Historian)