Research The mystery of Jimmy Nolan

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Thread starter #1
Official AFL stats show a Jimmy Nolan playing for Melbourne in Round 5, 1911
http://stats.afl.com.au/public/stat...und/1911/11/player_roundbyround_11_1911.shtml

However Jimmy Nolan doesn't show up in the Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers, and in the match report of the game (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/10905711/366194) the three other Melbourne debutantes are mentioned by name but there is no mention of a Jimmy Nolan (or anybody named Nolan for that matter).

Could this be an error in official league records, or could Bernie Nolan (http://demonwiki.org/tiki-index.php?page=Bernie Nolan) who is shown as playing every year from 1904 to 1912 except 1911 have played under a different name?

To complicate the matters an old edition of the MFC magazine which had a list of related players showed him as Bernie's cousin. However there are no other mentions of him anywhere that I can find.

I'm interested in solving this mystery as it would have an effect on the MFC heritage numbers, but also wondering how many other 'one game players' were actually mistaken names or other players appearing under false names. There are certainly some suggestions in MFC match reports of the late 1890's and early 1900's that players were playing under assumed names.
 

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#2
This (rather strange) comment is from The Argus the following Friday, referring to Melbourne "The Committee tried an unbroken colt last week, but he was too fond of wandering, and, though it looked so simple from outside the fence, he has decided to quit the game."

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/366309?zoomLevel=4

Hickey, Edgar and Rush (all mentioned in the match report from the previous week as having debuted) continued to play, so could Jimmy Nolan be the "unbroken colt" who quit the game after making his debut?
 

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#3

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Thread starter #5
Also this:- "Kennedy, of Blackburn, took the vacancy in the Melbourne team caused by the absence of J. Nolan." This is from The Age, Monday June 5 1911, in a report on the rd. 6 game between Collingwood and Melbourne.

http://news.google.com.au/newspapers?nid=MDQ-9Oe3GGUC&dat=19110603&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Page 16/16 (actual page 10).
Thanks very much for that, it looks like it might solve the mystery. Unfortunately at the moment the Monday paper after his debut is missing from Google News, so I can't see if they mentioned him. Looking forward to Trove adding The Age so a) hopefully there are no gaps like this and b) searching for things won't be so painful.
 
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#6
Official AFL stats show a Jimmy Nolan playing for Melbourne in Round 5, 1911
http://stats.afl.com.au/public/stat...und/1911/11/player_roundbyround_11_1911.shtml

However Jimmy Nolan doesn't show up in the Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers, and in the match report of the game (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/10905711/366194) the three other Melbourne debutantes are mentioned by name but there is no mention of a Jimmy Nolan (or anybody named Nolan for that matter).

Could this be an error in official league records, or could Bernie Nolan (http://demonwiki.org/tiki-index.php?page=Bernie Nolan) who is shown as playing every year from 1904 to 1912 except 1911 have played under a different name?

To complicate the matters an old edition of the MFC magazine which had a list of related players showed him as Bernie's cousin. However there are no other mentions of him anywhere that I can find.

I'm interested in solving this mystery as it would have an effect on the MFC heritage numbers, but also wondering how many other 'one game players' were actually mistaken names or other players appearing under false names. There are certainly some suggestions in MFC match reports of the late 1890's and early 1900's that players were playing under assumed names.
Firstly as someone who has looked into this before a few cautionary matters.

Do you know the fellow was called Jimmy Nolan. If his initial was "J", it could have been James or John Nolan. Further Jimmy might have been a nickname or a second name and his name may have been Arthur James Nolan.

Secondly, the game was just prior to World War 1 and in my experience a lot of those blokes went to World War 1 and some did not return and because they played only 1 game were forgotten.

So what is your source for saying the initial was J or the name was , in fact, Jimmy.
Now assuming you're tracking James "Jimmy" Nolan and assuming he was on Melbourne's list he may have needed a transfer or permit out, were he to play elsewhere.

Now a little bit of out of the box thinkig- there is a Jimmy Nolan who was playing in country football in 1911 who it was said in a paper would be unavailable for selection for a few games in 1911. Given that Nolan's replacement came from Blackburn, Nolan could easily have been playing a one off game in Melbourne.
 

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Thread starter #7
Firstly as someone who has looked into this before a few cautionary matters.

Do you know the fellow was called Jimmy Nolan. If his initial was "J", it could have been James or John Nolan. Further Jimmy might have been a nickname or a second name and his name may have been Arthur James Nolan.

Secondly, the game was just prior to World War 1 and in my experience a lot of those blokes went to World War 1 and some did not return and because they played only 1 game were forgotten.

So what is your source for saying the initial was J or the name was , in fact, Jimmy.
Now assuming you're tracking James "Jimmy" Nolan and assuming he was on Melbourne's list he may have needed a transfer or permit out, were he to play elsewhere.

Now a little bit of out of the box thinkig- there is a Jimmy Nolan who was playing in country football in 1911 who it was said in a paper would be unavailable for selection for a few games in 1911. Given that Nolan's replacement came from Blackburn, Nolan could easily have been playing a one off game in Melbourne.
Thanks for the tips, will go through the 1911 permit reports in the papers at some point and see if there's an indication of where he came from/went to. The MFC heritage numbers list and the list in a club newsletter of 'family' players both show him as Jimmy. Of course he wouldn't be the first player of that era to adopt an alternative first name and use a middle name or completely different first name to play under.

The finds of 35Daicos seem to indicate he was tried in that one game then decided he wasn't up to it. The mention of him being an 'unbroken colt' also fits in to the fact that he would have been 17-years-old at the time.
 
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#8
Thanks for the tips, will go through the 1911 permit reports in the papers at some point and see if there's an indication of where he came from/went to. The MFC heritage numbers list and the list in a club newsletter of 'family' players both show him as Jimmy. Of course he wouldn't be the first player of that era to adopt an alternative first name and use a middle name or completely different first name to play under.

The finds of 35Daicos seem to indicate he was tried in that one game then decided he wasn't up to it. The mention of him being an 'unbroken colt' also fits in to the fact that he would have been 17-years-old at the time.
The reference to the country kid in 1911 in Trove is interesting because timewise it matched.
 
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#9
I love me a good footy history mystery! Looks like you've potentially opened a can of worms with this one, Supermercado.

Could effect MFC heritage numbers, Encyclopedia of VFL-AFL Players and turn up other one gamers or players under assumed names... great stuff ;)
 

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Thread starter #10
Will drop into the State Library and see what other newspapers they've got from around that time that haven't been digitised yet and which might shed some light on this. Any excuse to get RSI using one of those shonky microfilm machines from 1992.
 
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#11
The article is from the Riverine Herald of 6 May 1911 at page 2 where it is said:

"J Nolan(of Echuca in the same league as Kyabram) will not be available for a few weeks"
 

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#12
The article is from the Riverine Herald of 6 May 1911 at page 2 where it is said:

"J Nolan(of Echuca in the same league as Kyabram) will not be available for a few weeks"
There's plenty of mention of Jack Nolan playing for Echuca in the previous couple of seasons to be found, he appears to have been one of the stars of the team. Almost certainly this is the same J. Nolan who played for Echuca in 1911.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?l-title=311&q=Jack+Nolan+echuca&sortby=dateAsc&s=360

Trivia time!

I was intrigued to see there was a W. H. Proudfoot playing at the time for Echuca, and thought it almost certainly had to be the early Collingwood superstar (Bill Proudfoot). When searching for the answer to this I came upon a BigFooty thread not far from this one!:- http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threads/history-of-echuca-football-help-wanted.1066236/

Back at that time there was a Frank Mueller playing for Echuca, and I had wondered while checking through if he might be connected to Jack Mueller, the (future) Melbourne great. Indeed he did play for that club so it may even have been his father.

As well as playing for Echuca, Bert Cowley also had 2 games for Carlton in 1911.
 
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#13
There's plenty of mention of Jack Nolan playing for Echuca in the previous couple of seasons to be found, he appears to have been one of the stars of the team. Almost certainly this is the same J. Nolan who played for Echuca in 1911.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?l-title=311&q=Jack Nolan echuca&sortby=dateAsc&s=360

Trivia time!

I was intrigued to see there was a W. H. Proudfoot playing at the time for Echuca, and thought it almost certainly had to be the early Collingwood superstar (Bill Proudfoot). When searching for the answer to this I came upon a BigFooty thread not far from this one!:- http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threads/history-of-echuca-football-help-wanted.1066236/

Back at that time there was a Frank Mueller playing for Echuca, and I had wondered while checking through if he might be connected to Jack Mueller, the (future) Melbourne great. Indeed he did play for that club so it may even have been his father.

As well as playing for Echuca, Bert Cowley also had 2 games for Carlton in 1911.
The problem with early 19th century names was that there was in a lot of instances, no such name as "Jack" on its own.

Jack was often John, sometimes Jimmy or it might have been a second name.

What alerted me to the reference is that the excerpt for J Nolan was a couple of weeks before the Melbourne player played his first- and last- game.
 
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#14
Back at that time there was a Frank Mueller playing for Echuca, and I had wondered while checking through if he might be connected to Jack Mueller, the (future) Melbourne great. Indeed he did play for that club so it may even have been his father.
Francis Carl 'Frank' Mueller was indeed the father of jack

ref - ECHUCA SOLICITOR DIES IN STREET. (1945, November 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 3. Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12154562
 
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#15
Jack Nolan (Echuca)'s timeline also fits for 1911
Firstly in early May...
"J. Nolan will not be available for a few weeks, and there is a doubt as to Frank Mueller again donning the colors."
Riverine Herald 1911, May 6 p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114920664

And later in June....
"Nolan made his first appearance for the season, and although not playing in his usual position did very effective work on the back line."
Riverine Herald 1911, June 22 p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114922685


Also..... At an emergency meeting in early June 1911, Bill Proudfoot was accused of inducing local players to play with metropolitan clubs. Bert Cowley had been one tryout in 1911, but I could not find any others....Nolan could be another case?
 
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#16
While on the subject of mysteries from that era....

I've come across references to "Caldwell" playing for Fitzroy against Carlton in Rd 4 1907.
The Argus http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10636372
The Age http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=l-RhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=L5EDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6351,1397820 (middle of last paragraph - apparently was wearing a red cap)

This Caldwell is not either Arthur Caldwell (who played for St Kilda in 1909) or Jim Caldwell (played for South Melb 1909-19) as both of these are referred to as playing for Williamstown on the same day (see The Age reference above or The Australasian).

It is not unknown for players to use pseudonyms but I get no hint of this from the articles. I haven't been able to find any other references to help identify who this Caldwell may be.

I'm posing this so the wiser heads than me who inhabit the forum may offer suggestions about how to better identify this player... any suggestions?
 

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#17
While on the subject of mysteries from that era....

I've come across references to "Caldwell" playing for Fitzroy against Carlton in Rd 4 1907.
From Williamstown Chronicle 13 April 1907:- http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/69698498

"while young Caldwell is said to be likely to hang on to the strings of Fitzroy." also "and in addition there is Matthews, booked for St. Kilda, and Caldwell for Fitzroy. What talent to be deprived of.!" This certainly seems to refer to Caldwell of Williamstown playing for Fitzroy that year.

Excellent spotting, and an impressive first post! Here's who was supposed to be playing that day:- http://afltables.com/afl/stats/games/1907/030619070518.html

And the list of those who played for Fitzroy that season from the old AFL Historical Statistics site:- http://stats.afl.com.au/public/statistics/playerseasonlist/7/1907/playerseasonlist_7_1907.shtml

Well worth looking in to.
 
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Thread starter #18
Went to SLV and had a look at the various daily and weekly sporting papers from the week before and after the game. Nolan doesn't get a mention - but the Herald on 10/05 shows that the team would be selected from the following 24 players. I've bolded the 16 named players who did eventually take part in the game. Nolan and Stan Fairbairn are the two players who came in from outside the 'squad'. I can't work out why Fairbairn wouldn't be in the list considering he played Round 1-4.

Hickey, Edgar, Ferguson, Allen, Rush, Brereton, Coutie, Fontaine, Flintoft, Geggie, Harris, Hendine (presumably Hendrie misspelt), Henderson, Irwin, Moore, McKenzie, Naismith, Odgers, Pearce, Robertson, Sykes, Smith, Sheppard, Tomkins

Ferguson is probably Arthur Ferguson who missed 1911 between playing for Fitzroy and Melbourne. Fontaine goes down as an unknown player.

So assuming that Nolan was a late replacement how did he manage to jump over eight others to get a game? Recommendation by his cousin?
 

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#19
Great thread guys! I remember hearing a story that Essendon's legendary Albert Thurgood played a game under the pseudonym 'Goodthur' circa 1905, may have happened a fair bit
 
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#20
Went to SLV and had a look at the various daily and weekly sporting papers from the week before and after the game. Nolan doesn't get a mention - but the Herald on 10/05 shows that the team would be selected from the following 24 players. I've bolded the 16 named players who did eventually take part in the game. Nolan and Stan Fairbairn are the two players who came in from outside the 'squad'. I can't work out why Fairbairn wouldn't be in the list considering he played Round 1-4.

Hickey, Edgar, Ferguson, Allen, Rush, Brereton, Coutie, Fontaine, Flintoft, Geggie, Harris, Hendine (presumably Hendrie misspelt), Henderson, Irwin, Moore, McKenzie, Naismith, Odgers, Pearce, Robertson, Sykes, Smith, Sheppard, Tomkins

Ferguson is probably Arthur Ferguson who missed 1911 between playing for Fitzroy and Melbourne. Fontaine goes down as an unknown player.

So assuming that Nolan was a late replacement how did he manage to jump over eight others to get a game? Recommendation by his cousin?
How's this for a reference. In the Australasian of 15 april 1911 at page 57, there is an advertisement for Doan's Back Ache Kidney Pills with a testimonial from a male called Mr F E Fontaine of 555 Station Street Carlton which says " I am a cyclist and footballer and should do a lot of training but this backache prevented me from doing it.............After a time I was cured"

Comical but easily verified by looking at an electoral roll.

A Fontaine was listed as playing for Fitzroy in a match report in the Australasian of 10 August 1907 at page 23. There are numerous other mentions of him in 1907.

Then was a reference to a F Fontaine as also being a cricketer in the Referee of 8 April 1908 at page 8 where it was said he was a "famous Fitzroy Footballer".

Then in 1909 there is a reference in a cycling report of a prize being given by Fred Fontaine, the well known Fitzroy footballer of the Tartan Cycle Works (17 May 1909 Argus at page 4).

Fred Fontaine the fitzroy Footballer was 36 in 1911 so in all likelihood was probably training with Melbourne and they probably went with younger players.

As for Ferguson, there was a Ferguson who played for Williamstown( 3 June 1911 - Williamstown Chronicle page 3 and 24 June 1911 edition at page 3 and 17 June 1911 edition at page 3 and 10 June 1911 at page 3 and 1 July 1911 at page 3 and 27 May 1911 at page 3 and others).

The Ferguson is probably Arthur Ferguson as there is an A Ferguson listed as being a Fitzroy Footballer who attended a meeting referred to in 24 March 1911 in the Argus at page 4 but then again that meeting was apparently about how Fitzroy were in turmoil and A Ferguson may have elected to leave. This appears to be confirmed by the Argus of 29 April 1911 at page 17 where (and this is why I say it appears so) that A Ferguson was given a permit to leave Fitzroy and play for M.....( the writing is indistinct but appears to be Melbourne).
 
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#21
There's plenty of mention of Jack Nolan playing for Echuca in the previous couple of seasons to be found, he appears to have been one of the stars of the team. Almost certainly this is the same J. Nolan who played for Echuca in 1911.
I found a reference to this same player in 1910 listed as "Jack" not Jack, the difference possibly meaning that he preferred the name Jack to his real name.
 

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#22
I posted a message to your attention in Football Statistics\Stats questions (#3640) a few days back regarding the DOB of a couple of past Melbourne players. I'm thinking perhaps you somehow missed it, but if you can come up with an answer I'd say quite a few people would be interested to read it.
 
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#23
Went to SLV and had a look at the various daily and weekly sporting papers from the week before and after the game. Nolan doesn't get a mention - but the Herald on 10/05 shows that the team would be selected from the following 24 players. I've bolded the 16 named players who did eventually take part in the game. Nolan and Stan Fairbairn are the two players who came in from outside the 'squad'. I can't work out why Fairbairn wouldn't be in the list considering he played Round 1-4.

Hickey, Edgar, Ferguson, Allen, Rush, Brereton, Coutie, Fontaine, Flintoft, Geggie, Harris, Hendine (presumably Hendrie misspelt), Henderson, Irwin, Moore, McKenzie, Naismith, Odgers, Pearce, Robertson, Sykes, Smith, Sheppard, Tomkins

Ferguson is probably Arthur Ferguson who missed 1911 between playing for Fitzroy and Melbourne. Fontaine goes down as an unknown player.

So assuming that Nolan was a late replacement how did he manage to jump over eight others to get a game? Recommendation by his cousin?
I think I have the answer.

In the Argus of 26 May 1911 ( 2 days before the Jimmy Nolan game) at page 4, there was a reference to Cowley being at Carlton and being from Echuca but Cowley was a telegraph operator and he wanted a transfer to Melbourne. Maybe that could not be arranged.

But in the same article, there is a reference as follows: "Some of Melbourne's players have been afflicted with similar trouble to those at St Kilda and may be given a spell to see if a rest will give them more vigour. What a number of players lack is that little bit of "natural wickedness" to which Mr Geoff Moriarty refers.

It seems that "spell" was given.

Further a lot of the blokes who were then subbed into the VFL sides at that point in time came from country as against the VFA( that article is quite instructive).
 

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#24
Went to SLV and had a look at the various daily and weekly sporting papers from the week before and after the game. Nolan doesn't get a mention - but the Herald on 10/05 shows that the team would be selected from the following 24 players. I've bolded the 16 named players who did eventually take part in the game. Nolan and Stan Fairbairn are the two players who came in from outside the 'squad'. I can't work out why Fairbairn wouldn't be in the list considering he played Round 1-4.

Hickey, Edgar, Ferguson, Allen, Rush, Brereton, Coutie, Fontaine, Flintoft, Geggie, Harris, Hendine (presumably Hendrie misspelt), Henderson, Irwin, Moore, McKenzie, Naismith, Odgers, Pearce, Robertson, Sykes, Smith, Sheppard, Tomkins
From The Argus the following Friday (same article that had the unbroken colt reference)"Fairbairn's hand is still bad, and he is a doubtful starter". Obviously he did manage to recover in time!

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/366309?zoomLevel=4
 

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Thread starter #25
I posted a message to your attention in Football Statistics\Stats questions (#3640) a few days back regarding the DOB of a couple of past Melbourne players. I'm thinking perhaps you somehow missed it, but if you can come up with an answer I'd say quite a few people would be interested to read it.
Done, apologies for missing the original post.
 
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