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BAKER, John Edward (1891-1952)

BAKER, John Edward (1891-1952)

J E Baker (Prefect 1909).

J E Baker (Prefect 1909).

John Baker, known as ‘Jack’, was a talented footballer and cricketer playing both for Geelong. He was the son of an equally outstanding sportsman, John Baker (1863-1946) and his wife, Emily nee Lockwood.

He attended the School from 1905 to 1909 becoming a School Prefect in 1909. He played in the School First Football Team in 1908 and 1909 and the First Cricket Team from 1906 to 1909, captaining it in 1908 and 1909. In the cricket match against Geelong Grammar School in 1909 he scored 113. A superb ruckman and ball kicker he played 55 games for the Geelong Football Club from 1913 to 1915 and 1917. Not just a sportsman, he also won the following awards at College:
1906, 1st History, Middle 4th Form.
1907, 2nd, History, Upper 4th Form.
1907, 2nd, Geometry, Middle 4th Form.
1907, 2nd, Scripture, Upper 4th Form.

'Jack' was born on 9 December 1891 and was living at Karong, Gheringhap at the time of his enrolment at Geelong College. He left Geelong College at the beginning of fourth term 1909, to enter a business career with Dalgety & Co.

His father, Jack Baker Sr, was an old-time Carlton champion footballer in the VFA, and Jack Baker Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps, although he made his name at Geelong, as a ruckman in the VFL, and was recognised as one of the best kicks in the competition, playing 55 games with Geelong between 1913-15, and 1917. He was also a champion cricketer, playing in the Victorian Country XI against the touring English cricketers. He enlisted (No 55107) in the AIF on 12 April 1918 in the Sportsmen’s One Thousand, and embarked with 8th Batallion, 5th General Service Reinforcements on RMS Orontes on 5 June, 1918 with the rank of Private.

Sport was always a feature of the periods spent ‘out of the line’ by the AIF and many competitions were held within its brigades and divisions. The 8th Battalion’s war diary for January, 1919 reveals a vigorous Australian Rules football competition being conducted within the 2nd Brigade in which the 8th Battalion maintained A, B and C grade teams.

During this month, 8th Battalion appears not to have lost a match, and seems to have won considerable acclaim, as the team was premier of the 1st Division competition for 1917 and 1918. However, 1919 proved to be their downfall.
The 8th Battalion War Diary on 25 February noted:
'In the afternoon, the Football Premiership of the 1st Division was decided, teams from 10th Battalion and 8th Battalion playing off for the final. The game was evenly contested for three quarters. Owing to exceptionally fine goal kicking, the 10th Battalion were leading when the bell rang at three-quarter time. In the last quarter, the superiority of the 10th Battalion asserted itself and they eventually won by 26 points. Final scores were 8 goals 5 behinds to 3 goals 9 behinds.'

Jack Baker returned to Australia on HMT Frankfurt, embarking on 23 July 1919. He later farmed at Gheringhap and Kyneton.

A Gold Medal presented to him as a member of the 8th Battalion football team when in Belgium in 1919 was donated by his daughter, Fay, along with other sporting memorabilia, to the Geelong Football Club History and Tradition Committee in 2003. Fay also presented to the Geelong College, a silver rose bowl won by Jack Baker at the 1906 College Sports and and a Jubilee Coffee Pot also won by Jack Baker.

John Edwar Baker (Cricket 1909)

John Edward Baker (Cricket 1909)

His brother, Norman Arthur Baker (1902-1916) was enrolled at the College from 10 February 1914 until his untimely death in April 1916. His father, John Baker (1863-1946) was also educated at Geelong College. Emily Lockwood’s father, John Lockwood Sr, of Lockwood Studios, Geelong, took the portrait of Baker in uniform.

Jack Baker’s cousin, Flight Lieutenant John McAllister Hardman Lockwood, No 1 Squadron, RAAF, was killed on active service at Palembang on 14 February 1942.

Jack Baker died on 18 January 1952.

Sources: Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. p134 (citing Baker Family Papers; Russell H T Stephens (Geelong Football Club History and Tradition Committee); Australian War Memorial; Pegasus; National Archive); The Official Geelong Football Club Magazine. Mid-Season, 2005 p25.
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