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Hutcheon, John Silvester (1882–1957)

by P. J. Mullins

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

John Silvester Hutcheon (1882-1957), cricketer and barrister, was born on 5 April 1882 at Warwick, Queensland, eldest of four children of John McIntosh Hutcheon, a schoolteacher from Scotland, and his Sydney-born wife Elizabeth Sarah, née Silvester. Jack was educated at the local state school and at Toowoomba Grammar School where, in his final year, he made over 1000 runs (average 42) at cricket. On 27 November 1900 he was employed by the Department of Agriculture. He played first-grade matches for the Brisbane, North Brisbane and Toowong clubs, and was selected for the State in 1905. During the 1907-08 season he represented Queensland against an English touring team. At St Mary's Anglican Church, Kangaroo Point, on 17 December 1907 he married Mabel Mary Wilkinson.

A free and vigorous batsman, Hutcheon obtained most of his runs in front of the wicket and, once thoroughly set, scored at a rare pace. He was also a brilliant fieldsman. In 1908-09—his best season—he amassed 1539 runs (average 67) in club and intra-State games, notching six centuries and the highest score made by a Queenslander (259 not out, for Brisbane against Richmond River): he hit 26 off one over, scoring so fast that Brisbane's last 328 runs came up in 126 minutes. In 1910-11 he captained Queensland and played against a South African side that included G. A. Faulkner and C. B. Llewellyn. He turned out for the Rest of Australia against New South Wales in C. T. B. Turner's testimonial match (1910) and top scored in the first innings with 36 on a bad wicket. Unable to obtain leave of absence, he declined an invitation to join the Australian team chosen to tour New Zealand.

From 1911 Hutcheon was a clerk in the Queensland Agent-General's Office, London; on 26 January 1914 he was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn. He returned to Brisbane, entered the Crown Solicitor's Office on 26 November and was admitted to the Queensland Bar on 14 March 1916. Next year he was appointed assistant crown solicitor, but resigned in 1922 to take up private practice. Much of his work was for the Queensland Canegrowers' Council, for which he appeared frequently before the Central Sugar-cane Prices Board. He was appointed K.C. on 27 July 1944 and was president of the Queensland Bar Association in 1952-57.

Best remembered for his hard work as a cricket administrator, Hutcheon represented Queensland on the Australian Board of Control for International Cricket from 1919 to 1957. A 'snobbish, dictatorial wowser . . . [he] helped give it the reputation for riding roughshod over the wishes of cricketers'. He was also a life member (1923) and president (1926-57) of the Queensland Cricket Association, and chairman (1920-57) of its executive. Queensland was admitted to the Sheffield Shield Competition in 1926, and Hutcheon and Roger Hartigan were credited with securing Brisbane its first Test in 1928. According to Hartigan, 'Hutcheon kept Queensland very much in the limelight'. In 1928-29 Hutcheon was an Australian selector and in 1933 helped the governor Sir Leslie Wilson to form the local Wanderers' Cricket Club, a social club which regularly toured Queensland country areas and interstate.

Hutcheon had also excelled in tennis, rowing and table tennis, but in later years was always more keen to talk about his exploits in lacrosse. In 1907 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground he played for a victorious national side against a touring Canadian team and he later competed in interstate carnivals; he was president of the Queensland Lacrosse Association (1925-49) and of the Australian Lacrosse Council (1939-46). In 1956 he was appointed C.B.E. Survived by his wife and one of his two sons, Hutcheon died on 19 June 1957 in his home at Albion Heights and was cremated. His brother Ernest also played cricket for the State and wrote A History of Queensland Cricket (1946).

Select Bibliography

  • J. Pollard, Australian Cricket (Syd, 1982)
  • B. Green (compiler), The Wisden Book of Obituaries (Lond, 1986)
  • Cricket, A Weekly Record of the Game, 7 Oct 1911
  • Producers' Review, July 1957
  • Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1958
  • Brisbane Standard, 21 Sept 1929
  • Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 31 May 1956.

Citation details

P. J. Mullins, 'Hutcheon, John Silvester (1882–1957)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hutcheon-john-silvester-10581/text18795, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 22 July 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

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