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Jimmy Smith (Australian footballer)

James Smith (4 January 1877 – 18 August 1948)[1] was an Australian rules footballer who played with and coached St Kilda in the VFL during the early 1900s.[2]

Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith 1905.jpg
Cigarette card of Smith in 1905
Personal information
Full name James Smith
Date of birth (1877-01-04)4 January 1877
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria
Date of death 18 August 1948(1948-08-18) (aged 71)
Place of death West Melbourne, Victoria
Original team(s) West Melbourne
Height 178 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 76 kg (168 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1894–1898 West Melbourne
1899–1906, 1908–1909 St Kilda 130 (22)
1911 Ballarat
1912 Brighton (VFA) 018 0(6)
1913 Melbourne City (VFA) 012 0(0)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1909, 1915, 1918 St Kilda 49 (16–33–0)
Umpiring career
Years League Role Games
1907–8; 1910
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1913.
Sources: AFL Tables,

Personal lifeEdit

The son of George Smith and Ellen Smith (1849–1896), née O'Neil, James Smith was born in Melbourne on 4 January 1877. He was the youngest of their three sons and was known by the name “Jimmy” or “Jim”.

In early 1894, Smith married Mary Hayes (1874–1945) and they had five children together – Mary Kathleen (1894–1979), Ruby Myrtle (1895–1967), Margaret Smith (1898–1904), Ellen (1899–1966) and James Michael (1905–1911).[3]

Football careerEdit

Smith’s football career commenced in 1894 at age 17 with his inclusion in the West Melbourne team and he played with them for several years before moving to St Kilda.[4]

Smith was St Kilda's ruckman for ten seasons, beginning in 1899.[5] After his first year at St Kilda, Smith applied for a permit to return to West Melbourne but his application was refused.[6][7] He continued with St Kilda and captained the club for the first time in 1901 and was also captain in 1903, 1904 and 1906. In 1900 and 1901 he represented Victoria at interstate football.

When he took the field for St Kilda in Round three of the 1905 season against Collingwood at Junction Oval Smith became the first St Kilda player to make 100 VFL appearances.

Smith spent the 1907 season as an umpire and although he returned to St Kilda in early 1908 he only played in the first two more rounds before returning to umpiring. In 1909 Smith was appointed as coach of St Kilda and he played his final game for them in Round 5 of that season. He again returning to the umpire ranks for the 1910 season.[8]

As a VFL player, he never got to contest finals football, with St Kilda winning only 19 of the 130 games that he played in. He did however steer the club to the finals as coach in 1918.

In 1911 Smith was appointed as captain and coach of Ballarat and then in 1912 he was appointed as playing coach of Brighton in the Victorian Football Association (VFA).[9]

In 1913, Smith captained and coached the Melbourne City Football Club in the Victorian Football Association.[10]

In 1914, Smith devoted his time to a project to establish a World Tour for Australian Rules Football[11] but this endeavour ultimately had to be abandoned with the commencement of World War I.

In 1915 Smith was re-appointed as coach of St Kilda, a post he resumed in 1918 after St Kilda’s two-year break from competition ended.

Other sportsEdit

Smith was a noted boxer in his youth, and in later years had some success as a boxing trainer.

In addition, Smith coached and captained the Carlton Brewery tug-of-war team[12] which went through its career undefeated, including wins in the heavyweight championship of Victoria was won in 1911, the All-Comers' Championship of Australasia, and The International Tug-of-War Championship of the World (representing Victoria in 1912). In total the team won 36 gold medals and 13 sashes.[13]

Union officialEdit

Jim Smith was for many years a member of the Liquor Trades Union and was one of the chief organisers of relief in times of industrial depression and major strikes, arranging for relief for the wives and families of wharf laborers and others. [14]


James Smith died at his West Melbourne home in August 1948.[3]


  1. ^ "Jimmy Smith - Player Bio". Australian Football. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  2. ^ Holmesby, Russell; Main, Jim (2014). The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers: every AFL/VFL player since 1897 (10th ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Bas Publishing. p. 828. ISBN 978-1-921496-32-5.
  3. ^ a b "Family Notices". The Herald (22, 229). Victoria, Australia. 19 August 1948. p. 6.
  4. ^ "Football". Winner (143). Victoria, Australia. 18 April 1917. p. 7.
  5. ^ "ST. KILDA". The Herald (5858). Victoria, Australia. 28 April 1899. p. 3.
  6. ^ "Football". North Melbourne Gazette. V, (40). Victoria, Australia. 27 April 1900. p. 5.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  7. ^ "FOOTBALL". The Argus (16, 804). Victoria, Australia. 17 May 1900. p. 9.
  8. ^ "Player-Umpires". AFL Umpires Association.
  9. ^ "BRIGHTON". The Herald (11, 381). Victoria, Australia. 26 April 1912. p. 2.
  10. ^ Old Boy (19 May 1913). "FOOTBALL". The Argus (20, 847). Victoria, Australia. p. 10.
  11. ^ "FOOTBALL GOSSIP". Leader (3054). Victoria, Australia. 18 July 1914. p. 20.
  12. ^ "The Week". Table Talk (1420). Victoria, Australia. 10 October 1912. p. 4.
  13. ^ "Champion Athletes at Carlton Brewery". Sporting Globe (797). Victoria, Australia. 15 March 1930. p. 5.
  14. ^ "INDUSTRIAL NEWS". The Herald (19, 949). Victoria, Australia. 18 April 1925. p. 22.

External linksEdit