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John Birt (born 29 January 1937) is a former Australian rules footballer who played with Essendon in the VFL and West Torrens in the South Australian National Football League.

John Birt
Personal information
Date of birth (1937-01-29) 29 January 1937 (age 82)
Original team(s) Ballarat, Victoria
Height 174 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 69 kg (152 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1957–1967 Essendon 193 (303)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1971 Essendon 22 (4–17–1)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1967.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Birt was a rover and after being recruited to Essendon from Ballarat, he made his VFL debut in 1957. The following year he had one of his finest seasons, finishing 6th in the Brownlow Medal and topping Essendon's goalkicking charts with 31 goals. He was a premiership player in 1962 and 1965 as well as playing in two losing Grand Finals, and won the W. S. Crichton Medal for his club's Best and Fairest in 1961, 1965 and 1967.

Birt was playing coach for West Torrens in the SANFL from 1968 - 1970.

He returned to Victoria to coach Essendon in 1971.[1]

However, Essendon only won four games in the 1971 season. In 1972 he was replaced by Des Tuddenham.

Footscray then picked him up and he served as their assistant coach Between 1972 and 1976.

In 2002 an Essendon panel selected Birt as number twenty-one of the 25 Champions of Essendon.


  1. ^ He had beaten two other applicants for the vacant coaching position: Mal Pascoe and Bob Syme. (Mapleston, 1996, p.216).


  • Maplestone, M., Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872-1996, Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8

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