Albert Thurgood

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Albert Thurgood
Personal information
Full name Albert John Thurgood
Date of birth (1874-01-11)11 January 1874
Place of birth North Melbourne, Victoria
Date of death 8 May 1927(1927-05-08) (aged 53)
Place of death Malvern, Victoria
Height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 76 kg (168 lb)
Position(s) Centre half-forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1892–1894 Essendon (VFA) 57 (183)
1895–1897 Fremantle (WAFA) 48 (128)
1899–1902, 1906 Essendon (VFL) 46 (89)
Total 151 (400)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1906.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Albert John "The Great" Thurgood (11 January 1874 – 8 May 1927) was an Australian rules footballer in the Victorian Football Association (VFA), Victorian Football League (VFL) and the Western Australian Football Association (WAFA).

He is considered one of the great champion players of the VFA and VFL, described as "an ideal footballer." He usually played at centre-half-forward, but his versatility enabled him to be switched to any position on the ground.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born on 11 January 1874 at Errol Street, North Melbourne, to John Thurgood, a builder and Amelia, née Buckland. After his education at Brighton Grammar School, he joined the Essendon Football Club in the Victorian Football Association (VFA).

Football career[edit]


Thurgood played for Essendon in the VFA (1892–94) and played in three of its four successive premierships (1891–94).

At six feet tall (183 cm) and twelve stone (76.2 kg), Thurgood possessed qualities that made him a versatile key position player: he was extraordinarily fast, a superb mark, and very nimble and agile.

His greatest asset was his kicking. Usually playing at centre half-forward, he could regularly kick distances up to 65-70 yards and beyond.[2][3]

Thurgood kicked 64 goals in 1893 and 63 in 1894, and in an 1893 game against Richmond scored twelve of Essendon's fourteen goals, extraordinary feats giving the low scoring of the era. He played 57 VFA games for Essendon and kicked 183 goals.[4]

Western Australia[edit]

In 1895 he left Essendon to seek work in Western Australia and played for the Fremantle Football Club (not connected to the current club of the same name) in the Western Australian Football Association (WAFA). During his stint there he topped the WAFA goal kicking list on three consecutive occasions between 1895 and 1897, helping the side lift premierships in the first two of those years.


He returned to Victoria in 1898 and sought to resume his career with Essendon in the newly formed Victorian Football League (VFL later AFL) but the VFL denied him a permit for residential reasons. Forced to sit out of football in 1898, he finally took the field for Essendon in 1899 and headed the club's goalkicking list in 1900 (25) and 1902 (33).[5] While contemporaries noted that Thurgood was slower, heavier and less keen, he produced his finest performance in the 1901 VFL Grand Final against Collingwood when he kicked three of the side's six goals and was a major contributor to Essendon's victory. The same year he supposedly won Essendon's Club Champion award.[5]

In 1902 there were widespread allegations that he had 'laid down' against Collingwood in the challenge final, which Essendon lost by the heavy margin for the time of 33 points. In disgust, Thurgood demanded, and was refused, a clearance to the Magpies, whereupon he decided to retire. He was tempted back to Essendon four years later, but after playing eight games he was forced to retire permanently when he sustained a serious ankle injury.

Personal life[edit]

Thurgood married Ida Alma Mary Thomas at Fairfield on 26 April 1899.

He was a better than average cricketer – managing three first XI matches for the North Melbourne Cricket Club during the 1890s[6] – and golfer. After his retirement from football Thurgood became active in horse-racing, for some years as a bookmaker and subsequently as an owner. He ran a number of successful horses, including Amazonia which won the Bagot Handicap in 1921 and was placed third in the Melbourne Cup that year.

Thurgood died in 1927 as the result of a car accident and was buried with Anglican rites in Brighton Cemetery. His wife and two daughters survived him.

In 1996 Thurgood was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. He was named in the Essendon Team of the Century which was selected in their VFL/AFL centenary year of 1997. In 2004 he was inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame.

He is also a relative of former Hawthorn player Josh Thurgood. Albert is Josh's great-great-uncle.


  1. ^ ""BEST ALL-ROUND FOOTBALLER".". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956). Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 11 July 1934. p. 15. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "SPORTING NEWS.". The Daily News. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 22 July 1895. p. 2 Edition: SECOND EDITION. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "FOOTBALL.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956). Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 2 September 1901. p. 7. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2004). The VFA. Australia. pp. 223–224. 
  5. ^ a b Lovett, Michael, ed. (2005). AFL Record Guide to Season 2005. Melbourne, Victoria: AFL Publishing. p. 111. ISBN 0-9580300-6-5. 
  6. ^ "VCA 1st XI Career records 1889-90 to 2014-15, S-Z" (PDF). Cricket Victoria. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 

External links[edit]