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Charles John Eady (1870–1945)

by Barbara Valentine

This article was published:

Charles John Eady (1870-1945), by J. W. Beattie, 1895

Charles John Eady (1870-1945), by J. W. Beattie, 1895

La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria, IAN01/03/95/20 [detail]

Charles John Eady (1870-1945), sportsman, lawyer and politician, was born on 29 October 1870 in Hobart, son of George Eady, butcher, and his wife Jane Sarah, née Williams. Educated at F. W. Norman's Derwent School, Eady left at 13; next year his cricketing career commenced when he played in the junior team of the Lefroy Club; in 1890 he joined the Break O'Day Club. Playing for Tasmania against Victoria in Hobart in early 1895 he became the first Australian to make a century in each innings of a first-class match—116 and 112 not out. This feat attracted great attention, but it was as a fast bowler that he was selected for inclusion in the Australian team which went to England in 1896 under G. H. S Trott.

Known as the 'genial giant', Eady was over six feet (183 cm) tall, with a magnificent physique; but on the tour he suffered at times from a heavy cold and minor injuries and did not find good form. However, he still received offers, which he did not pursue, from several English county teams. He played in the fifth Test in the 1901-02 series in Australia. He won the Tasmanian Cricket Association bowling average several times, twice taking ten wickets in a match; his 1902 score of 566 for Break O'Day Club v. Wellington still stands as a record in any grade of Australian cricket and is listed in Wisden. In 1908 he retired from first-class cricket. He had been involved with the administration of the game from 1890 and was elected president of the Tasmanian Cricket Association in 1926, holding the position until his death.

Eady was an all-round athlete, was president of the Amateur Sports Federation of Tasmania in 1910-33 and, for shorter periods, of the Tasmanian Amateur Boxing Association and the Tasmanian branch of the Royal Life Saving Society. A one-time member of Derwent Rowing Club he was also involved with racing, as secretary to the Tasmanian Amateur Jockey Club (1917-27), and judge for the Tasmanian Racing Club, Brighton Jockey Club and Hobart Turf Club. A first-rate footballer, renowned for his high marking, Eady captained the Holbrook Club in 1890, and represented southern Tasmania against Victorian teams several times. He held various positions in the Tasmanian Australian National Football League including the presidency in 1900-08 and 1925-41.

In 1890 Eady became an articled clerk in the firm of Finlay and Watchorn, and was admitted to the Supreme Court of Tasmania five years later. After two short-lived partnerships, he became the senior partner in the firm of Eady and Bradford in 1913. For several years from 1912 he was chairman of various wages boards. Associated with the Civic Club from its inception in 1911 he was president in 1927-45.

Running as a member of a team of three Liberal League candidates, Eady failed in the 1914 Denison by-election for the House of Assembly. Nine years later he again lost, as an Independent, in a bid for the seat of Hobart in the Legislative Council, but won it in a 1925 by-election and held it until his death. While in the council he initiated several bills, none of which became law, served as one of the government representatives on the Hobart Public Hospitals Board, and was a member of the parliamentary standing committee on public works and chairman of committees (1937-44). In May 1944 he was elected president of the council.

Eady died on 20 December 1945 and was cremated after a state funeral. He was survived by his daughter; his wife, Florence Isobel, née Guesdon, whom he had married on 22 October 1903 at St George's Anglican Church, Battery Point, had predeceased him by nine months. A sociable man with a wide circle of friends, Eady was well liked, and respected for his sense of fair play and his integrity. There is a bronze tablet in memory of him and his wife in All Saints Church of England, South Hobart, and the C. J. Eady memorial cup has been competed for annually since 1947 by the country cricket associations of Tasmania.

Select Bibliography

  • R. Page, A History of Tasmanian Cricket (Hob, 1957)
  • R. K. Pinchin, A Century of Tasmanian Football, 1879-1979 (Hob, 1979)
  • Mercury (Hobart), 9 Jan 1914, 9 May 1923, 24 June 1925, 21 Dec 1945
  • World (Hobart), 2 Aug 1919
  • Examiner (Launceston), 21 Dec 1945.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Barbara Valentine, 'Eady, Charles John (1870–1945)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 26 May 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

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