Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Hardwick, Arthur Ernest (1906–1976)

by Peter Corris

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Arthur Ernest Hardwick (1906-1976), boxer known as Jack Carroll, was born on 3 February 1906 at Kensington, Melbourne, seventh child of Thomas Hardwick and his wife Elizabeth, née Boland, both Victorian-born. His father was a lorry driver, Kensington was a working class suburb and the boy received a basic state school education. He was at work in the local abattoir in his early teens.

In the 1920s West Melbourne Stadium operated two fight programmes a week throughout the year. 'Jack Carroll' was the real name of a friend who fought as 'Charlie Ring' and Hardwick assumed it to mislead his father who disapproved of fighting. As a youth he was simply a walk-up, tough slugger trained by Billy McWilliams of Carlton who was no devotee of style. Carroll transferred to Bill O'Brien of Flemington who completely changed his approach. 'Red' Carroll, who became known as 'the red fox', emerged as an unorthodox, perplexing fighter who baffled his opponents with his speed and variety of punches. Flicking, slapping, evasive and aggressive by turns, Carroll put together a series of long winning streaks. He won the Australian welterweight title from Al Burke in Sydney in March 1928 and, although this title was claimed by others after Carroll lost a non-title bout to Charley Purdy in December, he remained the effective champion until he 'regained' the title in 1933. Carroll's loss to Fred Henneberry by thirteen-round knock-out in February 1932 was the last defeat he suffered. He beat Henneberry twice subsequently and many leading welterweights and middleweights, winning thirty of his last thirty-three fights (one draw, two no contests).

Abstemious and always fit, Carroll was undoubtedly a world-class fighter. In 1934 he beat Billy Townsend who claimed the world junior welterweight title and he defeated world-ranked welterweights Bep Val Klaveran (twice), Jimmy Leto (three times) and Izzy Jannazzo to become the number one contender for the world title held by Barney Ross. Whether Carroll could have beaten Ross is still debated. A match between them was seriously mooted but promotional difficulties prevented it. In the later stages of his career Carroll had difficulty in making the welterweight limit of 10 stone 7 pounds (67 kg) and his punching technique would have been penalized in America. Carroll himself did not think an all-out pursuit of the title worthwhile: 'I'm such a bad traveller that I'm sick from the time I start travelling to the time I finish'.

Carroll retired in 1938 with a house, a car and savings—one of the few Australian boxers to achieve financial stability through the sport. He returned to manual work on the Melbourne wharves, trained fighters without notable success and was a skilled referee. He had married Doreen Mary Thomas on 9 June 1931 and had two daughters and a son. He died of hypertensive cardiac disease on 14 September 1976, and was cremated.

Homely in appearance, reserved by temperament and not a knock-out puncher, Jack Carroll nevertheless became a legendary figure in Australian boxing, probably because he symbolized the virtues of the 'battler' in an era of limited opportunities.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Pollard, The Ampol Book of Australian Sporting Records (Syd, 1968)
  • P. Corris, Lords of the Ring (Syd, 1980)
  • People (Sydney), 22 Apr 1953
  • Sporting Globe, 11 Apr 1928
  • private information.

Citation details

Peter Corris, 'Hardwick, Arthur Ernest (1906–1976)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hardwick-arthur-ernest-6560/text11279, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 16 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2018

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Jack Carroll
  • Carroll, Jack
Birth

3 February 1906
Kensington, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Death

14 September 1976

Occupation