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Iredale, Francis Adams (1867–1926)

by G. P. Walsh

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

Francis Adams Iredale (1867-1926), by unknown photographer

Francis Adams Iredale (1867-1926), by unknown photographer

La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria, IAN01/04/95/14

Francis Adams Iredale (1867-1926), cricketer and writer, was born on 19 June 1867 at Surry Hills, Sydney, son of Thomas Richardson Iredale, English-born ironmonger, and his Irish wife Margaret, née Adams. Like many great Sydney cricketers Iredale learned the game in the Domain, where after practice his stepfather would throw oranges to improve his catching: dropped oranges could not be eaten! The highlight of his successful junior career was his inclusion in a junior eighteen which played the English XI in 1884-85. As a batsman and medium-pace bowler he played for Balmain in 1885-86, the Oxford Club, Inverell, in 1887, the Albert and Belvedere clubs, and on the introduction of district cricket for Balmain again. He described himself as a surveyor and draughtsman when he married Edith Rebecca Brade on 24 February 1896 at Leichhardt.

In his début for New South Wales in 1888 Iredale played against the Australian XI and made 66 not out against a Queensland fifteen, but did not really shine as a batsman until the first Test against Stoddart's England XI at Sydney in 1894-95 when he made 81; in the third Test at Adelaide he hit a magnificent 140, finishing the series with 337 runs at 37.44. Iredale toured England in 1896 and 1899 and passed 1000 runs on both visits. After failing in the early part of the 1896 tour, he suddenly struck form, scoring 94 not out, 114, 106, 171, and 108 in the Test at Old Trafford: his tour batting average was 27.32. On the 1899 tour he scored 1039 runs at 29.68. In Tests against England he made 807 runs at an average of 36.68; in Sheffield Shield matches 2466 at 38.53 and in all first-class matches 6795 at 32.67.

On retiring from big cricket in 1902, Iredale devoted himself to administration and writing. He was a New South Wales delegate to the Australian Board of Control for International Cricket Matches and a State and Australian selector; in the latter capacity in 1912 he witnessed the famous fight between P. McAlister and Clem Hill. He wrote for the London Sportsman and in 1920 published 33 Years of Cricket, illustrated by Arthur Mailey. In February 1922 Iredale's testimonial match in Sydney brought him £1740.

In 1914-26 he was secretary of the New South Wales Cricket Association. Ill health led to his resignation and he died of acute miliary tuberculosis on 15 April 1926 at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, North Sydney. Survived by his wife, son and daughter, he was buried in the Anglican section of Northern Suburbs cemetery.

Tall and lean, 'Noss' Iredale was a stylish and attractive right-hand batsman. Although a bad starter, once settled he played all types of bowling with equal facility, being particularly brilliant behind the wicket where he cut to perfection, often with his left foot across. He combined sound defence with good hitting; a free and elegant forward player, he drove brilliantly on the off. He was also an excellent outfielder and fine slip.

Select Bibliography

  • C. B. Fry, Book of Cricket (Lond, nd)
  • A. G. Moyes, Australian Batsmen (Syd, 1954)
  • R. Robinson, On Top Down Under (Syd, 1981)
  • C. Martin-Jenkins, The Complete Who's Who of Test Cricketers (Adel, 1980)
  • Lone Hand, Nov, Dec 1913
  • Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1927
  • Town and Country Journal, 8 Feb 1890
  • Sportsman (London), 13 Mar 1906
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Feb 1922, 17 Feb, 16, 19 Apr 1926
  • Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 17 Apr 1926.

Citation details

G. P. Walsh, 'Iredale, Francis Adams (1867–1926)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/iredale-francis-adams-6796/text11755, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 21 April 2018.

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

View the front pages for Volume 9

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