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SHARLAND, Wallace Sutherland (1902-1967)

SHARLAND, Wallace Sutherland (1902-1967)

'Jumbo' Sharland (Football, 1919)

'Jumbo' Sharland (Football, 1919)

Wallace Sharland at Norman Morrison Hall Foundation Stone Ceremony, 1911.

Wallace Sharland at Norman Morrison Hall
Foundation Stone Ceremony, 1911.

Footballer and sportswriter, 'Jumbo' Sharland, as he was known, was notable for being, in 1923, the first radio commentator of a VFL football match on radio station 3AR. He was also the first broadcaster of a VFA football game in 1935 on radio station 3XY. 'Jumbo' Sharland however, was most popularly known as a sports writer on the newspaper, the Sporting Globe.

He played a central role in the foundation laying ceremony of Norman Morrison Memorial Hall on 6 October 1911. Pegasus recorded the moment: 'The youngest boy in the School, Wallace Sharland, then stepped on the platform and presented Dr McArthur with a silver trowel in a plush-lined case to carry out the ceremony. The presentation was made amidst hearty applause. The trowel, a fine specimen of the silversmith's art, was inscribed as under :—" Presented to Dr. A. Norman McArthur by the Old Geelong Collegians' Association on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of the Norman Morrison Hall. October 6th, 1911. Jubilee year.'

'Jumbo' Sharland was born on 11 October 1902 at Geelong to parents James Sutherland Sharland and Jane Armstrong nee Little and went to the Flinders School, Geelong before his enrolment at College from 1910 to 1919. He demonstrated his prowess as an outstanding sportsman at College playing in the 1st Cricket XI for five years from 1916 to 1918, the Athletics Team of 1919 and the 1st Football Teams of 1918 and 1919. The year after he left College he commenced a footbal career with the Geelong Football Club, playing 49 games for the Club from 1920 until his retirement in 1925. In January of 1921, as a cricketer, he scored a century against the visiting English Cricketing XI. In 1934, he married Ada Ritoriella Moore.

Wallace Sharland enlisted on 4 June 1941 and served with Ship's Transport Staff travelling to the Middle East on the ship Queen Elizabeth in 1941. He was at HQ New Guinea Force for a time, then transferred to 3 Aust Docks Control. His records state that he served in the Middle East, New Guinea and SWPA. He left the army on 5 October 1945.

He died at Richmond on 17 September 1967. His brother Dr James Leonard Woodroffe Sharland (1898-1964) was also educated at Geelong College.

In the May 1926 issue of Pegasus, 'Jumbo' Sharland wrote about the College of the early 1900s. The item entitled 'Memories' follows:

It is with feelings of distinct pride that my brother and I became Geelong Collegians in February 1910. I was only seven years of age at the time, but I can well recall the gloom which prevailed among College boys, friends of the school, and the community generally at the loss of the beloved ‘Skipper,’ Mr Norman Morrison. Mr W R Bayley, of Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, was the new head, and he had a difficult role to fill in taking up the ‘Skipper's’ position.

While I was at College, from 1910 until 1919, I saw many structural changes in the buildings, changes in the staff, the coming and going of many good fellows, and ups and downs in the sporting sphere.

As a youngster I was passionately fond of cricket and football, and nothing pleased me better than to have a game on dear old Teddie Rankin's sacred domain. What grand days they were! I must state, however, that assisting in the extraction of cape-weed from the oval did not give me such a thrill. On Public School cricket days, what was better than to loll on the buffalo grass, or sit under the old tree near the pavilion where Ted Rankin and a gang always watched whether the bowler was doing anything with the ball, and how the batsman was faring. Each ball was carefully analysed, and each stroke criticised. My cricket idols, as a youngster, were Jim Betheras (I thought no one could bowl so fast or hit so lustily) and Peter Campbell. What a charac¬ter Peter was! His slow bowling and pretty batting served the old school well, while he is still a source of power to the Brighton Sub-District team.

It was always my ambition to get into the first eleven, and I was a proud lad to win the honor at 13 years of age. Jack Hawkes was captain during most of my career, and he was a fine all-round player. In fact, Jack would probably have won fame later in cricket if it had not been for his tennis activities. Jack was one of the best left-hand medium pace bowlers in the school, keeping a good length, and using his head well. Then he was an attractive batsman, and a good skipper. One of the finest bowling feats I ever saw from a College boy was performed by Frank Apted, now in the legal profession at Geelong. If memory serves me right it was against Wesley College, in 1917. Wesley only needed some 130 odd runs to win, and with one of Ted Rankin's best wickets available, prospects looked good for the visitors. Apted, however, got on the job. Bowling with a new ball, keeping a splendid length, and making use of a breeze to swing the leather, he proved unplayable. He took 7 wickets for 27 runs, and won the game. It was a magnificent feat, and well he deserved being carried from the field, and the present of the ball.

The College fielding was generally keen, our boys often maintaining grand form from the start to finish of a match. Often, easy catches were missed, and these accounted for heavy scoring against us. Doubtless, strict attention is now paid to this important phase of the game.

‘Nil Desperandum’ was always the motto of every Collegian on the sporting field, and this fact has made the old school famous. Of the younger players at the College, ‘Cargie’ Greeves always impressed me. He possessed natural cricket and football ability, and was never disconcerted.

One of the proudest moments of my school days was in 1911, at the laying of the foundation stone of the Norman Morrison Memorial Hall. Being the youngest lad in the school, I had to present the silver trowel to Dr Norman McArthur for the laying of the stone. When the great moment arrived, I was so flustered that I presented my straw hat instead of the trowel, which nearly fell from the scaffolding. The construction of this hall involved the rooting-up of the old tennis court and a number of old trees. One day some stumps were blasted from the middle of the old cow-paddock. One stump flew to a great height, and chose old Room I for its landing place. The stump wedged half-way through the plaster, a lump of which fell and ripped the trousers of one of the Richardson brothers. A full class was present at the time.

Sources: Pegasus December 1911 p11; The Geelong College 1861-1961 p35. Pegasus May 1921 p55; Pegasus May 1926 pp47-49; 'Geelong Collegians' at the Second World War and Other Conflicts' compiled by James Affleck p473.
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