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Albert (Tibby) Cotter (1883–1917)

by G. P. Walsh

This article was published:

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Albert Cotter, by A. Chevallier Tayler, 1903

Albert Cotter, by A. Chevallier Tayler, 1903

Newcastle Region Library, 54636

Albert (Tibby) Cotter (1883-1917), cricketer, was born on 3 December 1883 at 132 Phillip Street, Sydney, sixth and youngest son of English-born John Henry Cotter, butcher, and his Scottish wife Margaret Hay, née Pattison. When he was 6 his family moved to Glebe. He was educated at the Forest Lodge Public School, where fellow-pupils included the cricketers Charles Kellaway and Warren Bardsley, and at Sydney Grammar School in 1899-1900. In the annual matches between the Sydney and Melbourne Grammar schools in Melbourne in 1899 he took 6 for 53, including the wicket of S. M. (Viscount) Bruce twice, and next year in Sydney took 7 for 57.

Known as 'Tibby', he joined the Glebe District Cricket Club in 1900 and established himself as a fine pace bowler and hard-hitting batsman. Successful for New South Wales against the English tourists in 1903-04, he enjoyed moderate success in the fourth and fifth Tests; he toured England with Joe Darling's team in 1905 where in all matches he took 124 wickets at 19.83 apiece, including 12 for 34 against Worcestershire. His tour batting average was 17.6. On the 1909 tour of England he obtained 64 wickets at 24.09 runs each, including 5 for 38 and 6 for 95 in the third and fifth Tests respectively. He took 22 wickets at 28.77 against the touring South Africans in 1910-11 but his Test career ended when he, Victor Trumper, M. A. Noble and others split with the Board of Control in 1911.

In 21 Tests Cotter took 89 wickets, seven times taking five in an innings, at an average of 28.64 each, and in all first-class matches 440 wickets for 24 apiece and 2450 runs at an average of 16. In the Sheffield Shield he took 123 wickets at 23.45 each. Among his best performances for Glebe were 4 wickets in 4 balls and his highest score of 156 which included 16 sixes. He was also a very fine Rugby three-quarter for Glebe, the 'Dirty Reds', in his younger days.

Cotter was employed as a bookkeeper by the Riverstone Meat Co. when in April 1915 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He served at Gallipoli with the 1st Light Horse; with the 12th Light Horse from February 1916, he was promoted lance corporal in May next year but soon reverted to trooper at his own request. While acting as a mounted stretcher-bearer he was killed on 31 October 1917 at the third Battle of Gaza. Cotter had just taken part in the most famous mounted action of the war, the Light Horse charge to capture the wells at Beersheba; he was dismounting when shot dead at close range by a Turk. Cotter, who was unmarried, was buried two miles south-east of Beersheba.

'Tibby' Cotter was strikingly handsome and beautifully proportioned; always cheerful and modest, he was generous in his praise of others. Very fast, but often erratic, he had a slinging action and could make the ball lift high from a good length on the plumbest of wickets without recourse to bumping; he could keep his feet on a wet pitch (important in those days), bowl for long spells and was a good fieldsman. His happy nature and comportment on the field endeared him to all lovers of the game.

Select Bibliography

  • F. Laver, An Australian Cricketer on Tour (Lond, 1905)
  • A. G. Moyes, Australian Bowlers: From Spofforth to Lindwall (Syd, 1953)
  • D. Frith, The Fast Men (Lond, 1975)
  • Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1919, 1978
  • Cricket (London), 4 May 1905
  • Arrow (Sydney), 24 Feb 1906
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Nov 1917
  • Referee (Sydney), 21 Nov 1917
  • Town and Country Journal, 28 Nov 1917.

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Citation details

G. P. Walsh, 'Cotter, Albert (Tibby) (1883–1917)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 16 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (Melbourne University Press), 1981

View the front pages for Volume 8

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Albert Cotter, by A. Chevallier Tayler, 1903

Albert Cotter, by A. Chevallier Tayler, 1903

Newcastle Region Library, 54636

Life Summary [details]


3 December, 1883
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


31 October, 1917 (aged 33)
Gaza, Palestine

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