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Alan Falconer Kippax (1897–1972)

by B. G. Andrews

This article was published:

Alan Falconer Kippax (1897-1972), by unknown artist, 1934

Alan Falconer Kippax (1897-1972), by unknown artist, 1934

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an24669835 [detail]

Alan Falconer Kippax (1897-1972), cricketer, was born on 25 May 1897 at Paddington, Sydney, third son of Arthur Percival Howell Kippax, cashier, and his wife Sophie Estelle, née Craigie, both born in Sydney. Educated at Bondi and Cleveland Street Public schools, he began playing at 14 with Waverley District Cricket Club and by 1914-15 was an established first-grade batsman. When the Sheffield Shield competition was resumed in 1918-19 he was twice chosen to play for New South Wales; the return to Australia, however, of H. L. Collins's Australian Imperial Force side restricted his opportunities until 1922-23, when he topped the Australian averages with 491 runs at 98. Next season he toured New Zealand with a State team and in 1924-25 played in the last Test against England.

The omission of Kippax from the 1926 Australian team to England, despite a Sheffield Shield average of 112 in 1925-26, is a celebrated blunder in Australian cricket history. After scoring heavily for New South Wales in 1927-28, including one innings of 315 not out, Kippax returned to the Australian side next season; he remained a Test regular until 1932, playing all five Tests against England in 1928-29, on the 1930 tour of England, and against the West Indies in 1930-31. A head injury in 1931, which caused him to miss one of the Tests against South Africa, made him susceptible to 'bodyline'; dropped after the first Test in 1932, he broadcast accounts of later matches for the British Broadcasting Corporation, and with E. P. Barbour wrote the polemical Anti Bodyline (Sydney, 1933). He made a second tour of England in 1934 when, although hampered by illness, he played in the final Test. In 22 Test matches, he scored 1192 runs at 36, with two centuries.

A right-hand, impeccably correct and elegant batsman, Kippax had an upright, easy stance at the wicket; like his schoolboy idol Victor Trumper, he rolled his sleeves between wrist and elbow and excelled with the late cut. Captain of New South Wales in 1926-34, 'Kip' welded with wit, kindness and some practical joking a raw team into a formidable unit, nurturing such youngsters as Archie Jackson, Stan McCabe and (Sir) Donald Bradman; through him the Trumper style passed to Jackson. Kippax's 6096 runs at 70 for New South Wales in Sheffield Shield competition has remained a record since his retirement in 1935. His most famous innings was at Christmas 1928, when he made 260 not out against the traditional enemy Victoria, sharing a world record last-wicket partnership of 307 with H. L. Hooker. In first-class matches Kippax scored some 12,750 runs at 58, with 43 centuries; for Waverley he made over 7000 runs at 53. Elected a life member of the New South Wales Cricket Association in 1943-44, he shared a benefit with Bert Oldfield in 1949 which realized almost £6100.

In 1926 Kippax, then a clerk, had opened a sports store at Martin Place which he built into a successful business. A prominent lawn bowler after his retirement from cricket, he died of heart disease at his home at Bellevue Hill on 5 September 1972, survived by his wife Mabel Charlotte, née Catts, whom he had married at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church on 20 April 1928. His estate was sworn for probate at $302,160. The Kippax Centre in the Canberra suburb of Holt is named after him.

Select Bibliography

  • G. Tebbutt, With the 1930 Australians (Lond, 1930)
  • A. G. Moyes, A Century of Cricketers (Syd, 1950)
  • R. Barker and I. Rosenwater, England v Australia: A Compendium of Test Cricket Between the Countries 1877-1968 (Melb, 1969)
  • D. Frith, The Archie Jackson Story (Ashhurst, Eng, 1974)
  • New South Wales Cricket Association, Annual Report and Year Book, 1913-14 to 1936-37, 1941-42, 1948-49
  • Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1919, 1925, 1927, 1973
  • Parade, no 140 (Mar 1964)
  • Australian Cricket, Oct 1972
  • Waverley District Cricket Club, Annual Report, 1980-81
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Jan 1926, 23 Dec 1932, 11, 12 July 1934, 30 Dec 1941, 25 Sept 1963, 6 Sept 1972, 27 Feb 1973
  • Sunday Herald, 20 Feb 1949.

Citation details

B. G. Andrews, 'Kippax, Alan Falconer (1897–1972)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 27 February 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

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