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IVERSON, John Bryan (1915-1973)

IVERSON, John 'Jack' Bryan (1915-1973

Chambers, Hassett, Warnock and 'Jack' Iverson at Geelong College, 1952.

Chambers, Hassett, Warnock and 'Jack' Iverson at Geelong College, 1952.

Australian test cricketer and a remarkable bowler, 'Jack' Iverson was born at St Kilda, Melbourne, the second child of parents, Henry William Iverson, an accountant and estate agent from New South Wales, and the Victorian born Edith Joyce, née White.

He attended Queen’s College, St Kilda before moving to Geelong College as a boarder from 1926 to 1933. A member of Morrison House, he won House Colours in 1934 for cricket as a member of the 2nd Cricket XI. It was noted in September Pegasus of 1933 that ‘Iverson did well with the bat’ scoring 31 against Scotch College and ‘also did well as a bowler’ taking 3 for 26 in the same match. Despite this apparent skill he was never selected in a College 1st Team. After leaving school Iverson developed an interest in golf, winning the Maldon club championship in 1936. He initially worked as a jackaroo but eventually joined his father's real estate agency. During World War II he enlisted in May, 1940 joining the 2nd/4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment in January, 1942. He served in the Middle East until 1943 and in New Guinea until 1944 and it is alleged that it was in New Guinea that he developed his unorthodox method of spinning a cricket ball. He was discharged in September, 1945. After his New Guinea service he married Dorothy Jean de Tracy in July, 1944

After World War II, he recommenced playing cricket with the Brighton Club rapidly rising to the Victorian Team in 1949. During his initial season as a first class cricketer with Victoria he took 46 wickets gaining a reputation as an outstanding spin bowler. After touring New Zealand and taking 75 wickets for an average 7 runs each he was selected in the Australian Test team to play England in 1950/51. The team was captained by fellow Collegian Lindsay Hassett. In the second innings of the Third Test at Sydney, Iverson took 6 wickets for 27 runs in an outstanding performance however, after that series, he declined to play Test cricket again although he did later tour India with a Commonwealth Team.

After his brief cricketing career, Jack Iverson became a cricket commentator for the ABC and continued his real estate business which he eventually sold in 1972. Debilitating illness contributed to recurrent mental depression and he committed suicide by gunshot in 1973.

Sources: Peter Pierce, 'Iverson, John Brian (1915 - 1973)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, Melbourne University Press, 1996, p 541;
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