Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Tazewell, Evelyn Ruth (1893–1983)

by Lorna M. Jolly

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

Evelyn Ruth Tazewell (1893-1983), sportswoman, was born on 19 August 1893 at New Town, Hobart, only daughter of George Webber Tazewell, shopkeeper and champion cyclist, and his wife Florence, née Hawkins, both English born. In 1914 the family moved to Adelaide where Eva embarked on a career in hockey, playing in both the full-back and goalkeeper positions. She joined the Aroha (now Adelaide) Hockey Club and the South Australian Women's Hockey Association. Having captained the State team against Western Australia in Adelaide in 1918, she remained its captain from 1920 to 1936. During a career that spanned four decades to the 1960s, she was a member of the South Australian executive, selection and umpires committees.

President of the All-Australian Women's Hockey Association in 1920 and State delegate in 1920-65, Miss Tazewell was selected in the Australian team in 1925, 1928, 1929 and in 1930-36. In 1930 the team entered the Empire Tournament in South Africa, and toured Britain and Europe; in 1935 she captained the side against New Zealand in Melbourne. Next year she was vice-captain when Australia played at the International Federation of Women's Hockey Associations tournament in the United States of America. After World War II she helped to convert an almond and orange orchard into the Women's Memorial Playing Fields at St Mary's, Adelaide; the grounds were dedicated to Australian nurses who had perished in Banka Strait, off Sumatra, in 1942.

A lean, long-limbed woman, with a tanned complexion, she dressed in tweed sports-clothes. She was independent and reticent, with high standards, but her brief words of praise meant much to her fellows. After the death of her parents, from the late 1930s she shared her family's Forestville home for thirty years with another hockey player Agnes Magarey. Miss Tazewell's interests included stamp collecting, handicrafts, gardening and bridge. She retired from playing hockey in 1940, but continued coaching Aroha, Woodlands Church of England Girls' Grammar School (who became champions under her guidance), Adelaide Girls' High School and the South Australian team (1946-51). In retirement she and Agnes visited their hockey contacts throughout the world.

'Taz' was a delegate to the International Federation of Women's Hockey Associations in 1953 and 1959. In 1972 she retired as an umpire and spent her last years in a unit, cared for by her close friend Lyndall Morris. Evelyn Tazewell died on 29 December 1983 and was cremated. Her Australian blazer and hockey stick are to be displayed at The Pines, the State hockey centre in Adelaide, and her name is inscribed in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Melbourne.

Select Bibliography

  • Cyclopaedia of Tasmania, vol 1 (Hob, 1900)
  • Woodlands Magazine, 1984
  • Observer (Adelaide), 21 Aug 1920
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 30 Dec 1983
  • records of South Australian Women's Hockey Association and Australian Women's Hockey Association, compiled by author, Adelaide
  • private information.

Citation details

Lorna M. Jolly, 'Tazewell, Evelyn Ruth (1893–1983)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/tazewell-evelyn-ruth-8767/text15367, published in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 20 September 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

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