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SACUSA HISTORY - THE EARLY YEARS As far as is known, no records from the formation of the Association

survive. However, newspaper reports in November 1912 from The

Advertiser and The Register indicate that the South Australian Cricket

Umpires Association (SACUA), as it was then known, was formed the year

previously “for social purposes, and for discussion of points of the game.”1 Meetings were held at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Angas Street, Adelaide. This pub no longer exists, as it was on the site where the federal court

building now stands.2 The publican at the time was Jock Richardson and

it seems that for the first eight years at least, he supplied a meeting room to the Association free of charge. As a staunch supporter of cricket, and sport in general, Jock recognized the value of umpires to sport’s development and sustainability and significantly contributed to the Association’s viability (as well as realizing it was good for business). The first Chairman of SACUA was Fred Thomas, and it is assumed that the

committee was staffed by the same members for the first couple of years at least. At the Annual Meeting of 1912, Fred was re-elected as Chairman, with Archibald McIntyre filling the role of Vice-Chairman, Fred Adams as Secretary and Treasurer, Thomas Ward and John Harley being members of the A Grade Committee, while John Bruce and Edward Reilley were members of the B Grade Committee. Subject matter at the first annual

meeting was the topic of SACA agreeing to meet with them as a delegation. At the time of the formation of SACUA not all states had their own umpires associations. State cricket associations held sway over the competitions that were held in their respective areas, in conjunction with the Australian 1

The Register, 2 Nov 1912, p.13. JMA Cramond, former Chief Magistrate, “Magistrates Court History” available at www.courts.sa.gov.au/courts/magistrates/history.htm 2


Board of Control (currently known as Cricket Australia), and that included selection of umpires. It was reported that as SACUA raised the discussion of choosing umpires for international and interstate matches - perhaps testing the waters to see if they might be granted some input into

decision-making - SACA pointed out that the visiting captain had the right to choose one of the umpires and so was only able to make the choice of the other. This was not disputed by SACUA, demonstrating a spirit of co-operation that is held by SACUSA to this day. The earliest reference to SACUA that has been found so far is in The Sydney

Morning Herald in 1911.3 It reports that one of the first projects undertaken by the Association was to carry a resolution, as follows:

“That umpires for all international and interstate matches shall be selected from the Umpires’ Association in that State where the match is being played.” The resolution was then forwarded to the Australian and English captains, Clem Hill and Pelham Warner. It was hoped that by doing so umpires from all over the country could be given an opportunity to umpire “big cricket” during touring series. In 1910, about a year before the Association was formed, a well-meaning individual wrote to The Register to illuminate the public on how little

thanks cricket umpires received for their dedication.4 At the time, they were paid one shilling per day to cover their public transport costs and

given a SACA membership along with two ladies tickets. Granted, they were not umpiring for as long as is required now - matches were scheduled from 2.30pm to 6.30pm on summer Saturday afternoons - but it was basically a labour of love. It is likely fees paid were much the same in 3 4

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Dec 1911, p.12. “Full Member”, The Register, 8 Sep 1910, p.5.


1911 when the Association formation finally occurred, so it is fortunate that the pay structure has evolved a long way during the course of a century. Unfortunately, the advent of World War One was to challenge the Association within three years of its formation. Secretary/treasurer Fred Adams resigned in 1914, being a stalwart contributor to not only cricket in South Australia, but to other sports as well. Inaugural Chairman, Fred Thomas, at this point Secretary and Treasurer, resigned in 1917 in order to travel back to his native Britain to contribute to the war effort via

employment in a munitions factory. The fact that his son was based there in the armed forces may also have had something to do with his decision. However, with the arrival of peace in 1918, Fred rejoined SACUA and continued his contribution. Little is known of the activities of the Association during WW1, with little being reported about it in the press during this period. This is understandable as the community had so much else to deal with. However, it appears that members were still interested

enough to continue its work - and maintain some level of normality - as an article was published in 1917 stating that meeting attendance was fairly reasonable and those unable to attend were still considerate enough to offer apologies. It was this dedication that provided the strong foundation on which the South Australian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association continues to build an ever-evolving advocacy service for cricket officials across the state.

Š Kristen Thomas 2012


SACUSA Early History