Australian Test Cricketer

1st Class Cricket Career, 1878 - 1896.
Matches - 133.
Wickets - 594.
Runs - 1055.
5 wickets in an innings - 54 times.
10 wickets in an innings - 16 times.
Career best - 8 wickets for 48 runs.

George Eugene 'Joey' Palmer

palmer150 (22K)

Test Cricketer George Eugene 'Joey' Palmer

George was born on 22 February 1860, at Mulwala, New South Wales, the eldest child of David Brainard Palmer (New York, United States of America) and Mary Barry, (Encastle West, Limerick, Ireland.)

John - born at Baddaginnie in 1863 and Ellen - born 1880, completed the family.

Shortly before George's birth, David Palmer had bought a hotel, known as the 'Hit and Miss' at Baddaginnie, Victoria. This hotel was also known as the 'Coach and Horses'. David Palmer was later to buy more land in the Baddaginnie and Warrenbayne areas and was involved in community activities.

George attended a private school conducted by a Miss Simpson in Nunn Street, Benalla - approximately at the current site of Cecily Court. George later attended McGregor's School in Emerald Hill, Melbourne.

George was 'discovered' by A. E. Wheatley, a well known player of the day, who reported back to his match committee at South Melbourne, 'that a boy playing on the rough wickets of Albert Park, showed a lot of ability as a bowler'.George joined the "Young Victoria" cricket club and through his bowling ability, was invited to play with the South Melbourne Cricket Club.

1878. George played for 'the 15 of Victoria' against Australia at the East Melbourne ground.

1879 played his first Test Match - against Lord Harris's English touring team - in Melbourne. His bowling figures for the match were:- 6 wickets for 64 runs and 3 wickets for 30 runs.

1880. George played in the Australian Test team that toured England. In 'eleven a side' matches, Palmer bowled 711.3 overs, 342 maidens for 890 runs and captured 80 wickets - clean bowling 54 of the 80.

1881. George captured 4 wickets for 53 runs and 7 wickets for 46 runs against England at the M.C.G.

1882. The English Tour, remembered as the tour when 'The Ashes' originated, George Palmer captured 138 wickets on the tour at 12.75 runs per wicket. In Australia, Palmer made 100 runs for the 10th wicket with W. H. Cooper against NSW. In 'Scores and Biographies Volume XV' it notes re Palmer that "In December of that year, the South Melbourne Club presented him with a handsome diamond locket in recognition of the good cricket he showed in England during the year"

1883. George scored the highest number of runs of his career - 204 against Williamstown.

1884. A match,The Smokers v The Nonsmokers,was played at Lords on September 15th and 16th. This match was played for the benefit of the Cricketer's Friendly Society Fund and contary to the anticipation of many, proved to be one of the most attractive contests of the season, though it only occupied two days. No less a sum than 561 pounds was handed in.

Included in the score was -
W.G. Grace, caught and bowled G. Palmer - 10 runs.
Match score - Smokers 111. Nonsmokers 250.

1887. In May, George was staying with his parents at Baddaginnie and whilst out shooting, slipped and suffered a traverse fracture of the knee-cap.

1888. On the 5th February, George married Lucinda Blackham, sister of the renowned 'Prince of Wicketkeepers', Jack - a Victorian and Australian captain. George moved to the East Melbourne Club and held the post of paid secretary of the club until the end of December of that year.

1890. Until this time, George played cricket with St Kilda, Brighton and again with South Melbourne. George gained a position as coach and caretaker at the Launceston ground.George represented Tasmania during this time. Unfortunately, Lucinda passed away in her sleep of heart disease. She was a gifted and accomplished vocalist, being trained by Madame Lucy Chambers. There were no children of this marriage. George stayed in Launceston for a time before returning to Baddaginnie in 1896.

Tommy Horan, who figured prominently at that time, as both a great player and a writer of cricket, indicated Palmer had a good- natured , humerous side. He was a well built man of about twelve stone weight, when he was in his cricket prime. He was a genial fellow, with admirable nerve and, winning or losing, he never varied, being apparently just as cheery in defeat as in victory.

George Palmer's death occured on Monday, August 22nd, 1910 at Nurse Warren's Private Hospital, Benalla, having been brought in from his home at Baddaginnie the previous Saturday, when he had developed pneumonia.

On Sunday, February 14th, 1999 the restored and rehallowed grave of George Eugene Palmer was unveiled by Keith Sherwill who has beeen involved in Victorian cricket for over 60 years.

The Benalla and District Family History Group, along with a number of Sporting, Service, Community organisations and interested individuals, was actively involved in the restoration of the Palmer Family Grave and the site is now included in the Benalla Cemetery Walk.

Further information about George Palmer, including copies of the magazine 'CRICKET' No 18, Vol. 1, September 7th 1882 and No 852, Vol XX1X, August 25th 1910 can be viewed at the Group's clubrooms in Benalla.