Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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BAKER, John (1863-1946)

BAKER, John (1863-1946)

John Baker was one of the outstanding footballers of his era and captained both the Geelong and Carlton Football Clubs.

Born on the family property ‘Karong’ on 11 May 1863 at Gheringhap to parents John Baker and Mary nee Hendra, he briefly attended both Geelong Grammar School and Geelong College in 1878 where he was enrolled on 11 February. Geelong Grammarians notes that 'he attended a state school for about 8 or 9 years before being admitted as a day-boy at GGS, 13 Feb, 1878. However the Admissions' Book notes 'declined owing to problems with his work' . He was Carlton Football Club Captain from 1883 to 1886 and Champion of the Colony in 1888. In 1889 he moved back to Geelong Football Club as Captain before retiring in 1891. In later years he was licensee of the Carlton Hotel (formerly Union Club Hotel).

He appears in several photographs taken at the College in the early 1900s on Old Boys’ Day during which a football match between the old boys’ and current students was a feature of the days’ activities. Several trophies won by Jack Baker are held by the College Archives. His son, John Edward Baker was also educated at the Geelong College and became a VFL Footballer.

The Pegasus obituary described him:
'John Baker, sen., who died on January 25 (1946) at Geelong, aged 82 years, displayed outstanding sporting ability at school and afterwards as a senior player in cricket and football, though he was an enthusiast for almost every branch of sport. He was at various times captain of Carlton and Geelong football teams; many of the older generation consider him the finest footballer and cricketer this district ever produced and emphasize that, whatever the sport, he enjoyed it only for the game's sake, in the truest sporting spirit. For a time he was in business in Geelong, but his lifelong interest was in farming pursuits at 'Karong', Gheringhap. His son, Jack (1909), perhaps equally famous in College and senior sporting annals, is farming at Kyneton.'

His sons, John Edward Baker (1891-1952) and Norman Arthur Baker (1902-1916) were also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Pegasus June 1946 p54; The Official Geelong Football Club Magazine. Mid-Season, 2005 p25; Geelong Grammarians Vol 1 p327.
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