Ross Hutchinson

Sir Ross Hutchinson, DFC (10 September 1914 – 19 December 1999) was an Australian rules footballer, coach and politician. He played for and coached East Fremantle, West Perth and South Fremantle in the West Australian National Football League (WANFL) before spending 27 years as a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly.

Sir Ross Hutchinson

Ross Hutchinson.JPG
Hutchinson playing Australian rules football
Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for Cottesloe
In office
25 March 1950 – 19 February 1977
Preceded byNew creation
Succeeded byBill Hassell
Personal details
Born(1914-09-10)10 September 1914
Worsley, Western Australia
Died19 December 1999(1999-12-19) (aged 85)
North Cottesloe, Western Australia
Political partyLiberal and Country League
Liberal Party
ChildrenRoss, Gail
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Military service
Branch/serviceRoyal Australian Air Force
Years of service1942–46
RankFlight Lieutenant
Unit96 Squadron

Australian rules football career
Personal information
Position(s) Utility
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1935–39 East Fremantle 93 (14)
1946 West Perth 17 (28)
1947 South Fremantle 18 (5)
Total 128 (47)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1936–39 Western Australia 6 (0)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1937–39 East Fremantle 70 (48–19–3)
1941–42 1946 West Perth 41 (31–10–0)
1947–49 South Fremantle 62 (48–14–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1949.

Early lifeEdit

Hutchinson was born in Worsley in 1914. He was educated at Deanmill before attending Wesley College in Perth from the age of 14.[1]

Football careerEdit

Hutchinson was used in a variety of positions during his football career including centreman, half back and half forward. In his first two seasons he won the Lynn Medal as East Fremantle's fairest and best player. He captain-coached the club to a premiership in 1937, as a half back flanker. The following two seasons ended in grand final losses, both to Claremont. In 1939 he was captain-coach of the Western Australian interstate football team which took on Victoria.

Hutchinson sought a clearance to West Perth for the 1940 season but, because it wasn't granted by East Fremantle, he had to sit out the entire season. He was able to coach West Perth in 1941, and not only steered them to that year's premiership but also to the 1942 'under-age' premiership.

When he returned to coaching in 1946, following his war service, he had received the clearance he sought, which meant that he was able to take the field for West Perth and steer the club to a losing grand final.

He made the move to South Fremantle in 1947 and was captain-coach of their premiership team that year, kicking two goals in the Grand Final from the half forward flank. In 1948 he again coached the club to a premiership, but he had retired as a player and it was only in an off-field capacity. Hutchinson continued as non playing coach in 1949, his final season. South Fremantle finished in third position, the only time he failed to coach a WANFL club into the grand final.

Hutchinson is one of only two people to have coached three separate WA(N)FL clubs to premierships, with John Todd being the other. Perhaps most remarkably, he steered each of the clubs to premierships in his very first year. He coached 176 WANFL games in total, 72.4% of which were won.[2][3]

War serviceEdit

During the Second World War he fought with the Royal Australian Air Force in Europe as a pilot. Hutchinson was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944 after a bombing run on an oil refinery in Sterkrade was interrupted when his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He was able to return the aircraft to Britain, while managing to take valuable photographs of the intended target.[4][5][6]

Political careerEdit

In 1950 Hutchinson successfully ran for the newly-created seat of Cottesloe in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, representing the Liberal and Country League (later the Liberal Party), and held the seat until his retirement in 1977. After David Brand led the Liberals to victory in 1959, Hutchinson was named Chief Secretary, Minister for Health and Minister for Fisheries, posts he held in both the Brand-Watts and Brand-Nalder Ministries. From May 1974 to February 1977, Hutchinson was speaker of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly.


He was knighted for services to the state of Western Australia when he retired from politics.[1][7]

His contribution to Australian rules football was also honoured, in 2004, when he was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.[3]


  1. ^ a b "MP Biographical Register - Ross Hutchinson". Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Ross Hutchinson". WA Football Hall of Fame. West Australian Football Commission. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b "West Australian Football Hall of Fame - Playing Record of all Members @ March 2012". West Australian Football Commission. p. 2. Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Hutchinson, Ross". WWII Nominal Rolls. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Distinguished Flying Cross (Imperial) (DFC) entry for Hutchinson, Ross". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 28 November 1944. Retrieved 1 January 2019. For service during a daylight attack on an oil refinery at Sterkrade in October 1944.
  6. ^ "No. 36816". The London Gazette (5th supplement). 28 November 1944. p. 5466.
  7. ^ "Knight Bachelor (Imperial) entry for Hutchinson, Ross". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 1 January 2019. For service as Speaker of the WA Legislative Assembly.

External linksEdit

Western Australian Legislative Assembly
New seat Member for Cottesloe
Succeeded by
Bill Hassell
Preceded by
Daniel Norton
Speaker of the
Western Australian Legislative Assembly

Succeeded by
Ian Thompson