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Samuel Boyd Gravenall (18 July 1885 – 8 March 1948),[1] variously known as "Sam Gravenall" and "Boyd Gravenall", was an Australian rules footballer who played with St Kilda in the Victorian Football League (VFL).

Sam Gravenall
Personal information
Full name Samuel Boyd Gravenall
Date of birth 18 July 1885
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria
Date of death 8 March 1948(1948-03-08) (aged 62)
Place of death Wandsworth, London, England
Original team(s) Wesley College, Melbourne
Position(s) Forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1903, 1906, 1910 St Kilda 30 (15)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1922 Essendon 12 (7–4–1)
1927 Subiaco 19 (10–9–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1927.
Sources: AFL Tables,



He entered Melbourne's Wesley College at the age of 14, having won a Government scholarship.[11]


From Wesley College, Melbourne,[12] Gravenall was a forward and had his first season at St Kilda in 1903. He didn't appear for the club again until 1906 and the following year went to Western Australia, who he represented at the inaugural Melbourne Carnival. After 41 games for North Fremantle he returned to Melbourne, where he was employed as a sports master at Wesley College. He played for St Kilda in 1910, and served as the team's captain.

Lawrence AdamsonEdit

Due to his strongly held views on the values inherent in amateur sport, and his disdain for the increasing professionalism of the Victorian Football League, Wesley's headmaster, Lawrence Adamson, who'd been educated at Rugby School in England, controversially refused to allow Gravenall to continue to play VFL football in 1911.[13][14][15]

As a consequence, Gravenell retired as a VFL footballer at the end of the 1910 season; however, he did continue to play football, playing with Collegians Football Club, the Wesley College Old Boy's team, in the Metropolitan Amateur Football Association (MAFA).[16]


He coached Essendon for 12 games in the 1922 VFL season, and for the 1927 season coached WAFL club Subiaco, who had played off in the previous three grand finals but only reached fourth.

He was the coach of the New South Wales team at the August 1933 Australian National Football Carnival, held in Sydney;[17] and "there is little doubt that had … Mr. S.B. Gravenall, himself an interstate player, … had the full team together for a longer period, its performance would have been even better than they have been".[18]

After footballEdit

A larger than life character, in 1928 he was sentenced to six months in jail for contracting a debt of £125 without reasonable or probable grounds of being able to pay it.[19]

In 1941, he was working in London as an Air Raid Warden.[20]


Gravenall died in London in 1948.[21][22]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sam Gravenall - Player Bio". Australian Football. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  2. ^ Deaths: Gravenall, The West Australian, (Thursday, 2 November 1945), p.1.
  3. ^ Marriages: Gravenall—Oats, The West Australian, (Saturday, 9 July 1910), p.1.
  4. ^ Deaths: Gravenall, The West Australian, (Tuesday, 17 September 1940), p.1
  5. ^ Births: Gravenall, The Argus, (Saturday, 27 September 1913), p.11.
  6. ^ Personal, The West Australian, (Saturday, 9 September 1939), p.12; News of Perth Pianist, The Western Mail, (Thursday, 16 September 1943), p.18.
  7. ^ Births: Gravenall, The Argus, (Saturday, 30 June 1917), p.13.
  8. ^ For Europe, The (Perth) Sunday Times, (Sunday, 6 March 1949), p.6; WA Man will Teach Sport to Migrants, The (Perth) Daily News, (Tuesday, 8 March 1949), p.11; W.A. Junior Lifesaving Team, The West Australian, (Monday, 2 April 1951), p.12; Distinction, The (Perth) Sunday Times, (Sunday, 2 March 1952), p.18.
  9. ^ Swim Stars Get "Tuned Up", The (Hobart) Mercury, (Friday, 9 December 1949), p.20: Photograph of Garrick Agnew (later Sir Robert David Garrick Agnew, CBE), Forbes Carlile, Rolf Harris, and Don Gravenall at the 1949 Australian National Swimming Championships, held in Sydney.
  10. ^ Births: Gravenall, The Western Mail, (Thursday, 20 October 1927), p.37.
  11. ^ Gravenall: An Eastern Pen Sketch, The (Perth) Call, (Friday, 30 JUne 1922), p.8.
  12. ^ 'Waler', "Star Schoolboy Athlete: S.B. Gravenall, of Wesley, Senior Footballer at 15", The Referee, (Wednesday, 8 November 1922), p.13.
  13. ^ Nielsen, Erik, Sport and the British World, 1900-1930: Amateurism and National Identity in Australasia and Beyond, Palgrave Macmillan, (Basingstoke), 2014, p.49.
  14. ^ Crawford, Ray, "Athleticism, Gentlemen and Empire in Australian Public Schools: L.A. Adamson and Wesley College, Melbourne", in Vamplew, Wray (ed.), Sport and Colonialism in 19th Century Australasia: ASSH Studies in Sports History: No. 1, Australian Society of Sports Historians, (Campbelltown), 1986, pp.42-64.
  15. ^ A Debasing Sport: How Football is Played, The Clarence and Richmond Examiner, (Thursday 11 May 1911), p.8; Is Football Demoralizing?; Schoolmaster's Views: Forbids Teacher to Play, The (Adelaide) Observer, (Saturday, 13 May 1911) p.15.
  16. ^ Metropolitan Association, The (Melbourne) Herald, (Friday, 11 August 1911), p.2.
  17. ^ Fine Team Has Been Chosen, The (Sydney) Sun, (Tuesday, 4 July 1933), p.3; Preparing for Big Carnival, The (Sydney) Labor Daily, (Thursday, 13 July 1933), p.3.
  18. ^ 'Carperry', "National Code's Splendid 'Show' Week: Game is Faster than Before: Weaker States Show Pleasing Development in Finer Points: Uniform Standard Being Attained", The Referee, (Thursday, 10 August 1933), p.1.
  19. ^ "THE BLASTED CAREER OF GRAVENALL". Truth (1280). Perth, Western Australia. 18 March 1928. p. 7.
  20. ^ Former W.A. Footballer Dodging Bombs, The (Perth) Sunday Times,, (Sunday, 13 April 1941), p.19.
  21. ^ Passing of S.B. Gravenall, The (Perth) Sunday Times, (Sunday, 14 March 1948), p.10.
  22. ^ "The Great Men of "Norths"". Western Mail. 66, (3, 748). Western Australia. 26 April 1951. p. 57.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)


  • Holmesby, Russell and Main, Jim (2007). The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers. 7th ed. Melbourne: Bas Publishing.

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