George Coulthard

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George Coulthard
Personal information
Date of birth (1856-08-01)1 August 1856
Date of death 22 October 1883(1883-10-22) (aged 27)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1876–1882 Carlton
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1882 season.
Career highlights
  • Carlton premiership (VFA) 1877
  • VFA's leading goal kicker 3 times

George Coulthard (1 August 1856 in Boroondara, Victoria – 22 October 1883 in Carlton, Victoria) was a star Australian rules footballer who played for Carlton. He was also a notable cricketer who played for the Melbourne Cricket Club and briefly for Australia. As a cricketer he played only six first-class matches, five for Victoria and a Test match for Australia. Coulthard played in the first match between Victoria and South Australia, taking 3 wickets for 29. He was also a prominent umpire of the time, standing in two Tests, and played an integral role in the Sydney Riot of 1879.

Off the field, Coulthard was a shopkeeper. He died at Lygon Street in 1883, at the age of 27 years, of tuberculosis after an illness of 16 months. He was married with a baby daughter.

Football career[edit]

Coulthard running with the ball in a match against Geelong

Coulthard commenced playing with the Carlton club in 1876. He was a crucial member of the Carlton team that won the premiership in the inaugural Victorian Football Association (VFA) season in 1877. During a short seven-season career he became one of the Association's outstanding players.

He was said to have speed, grace and near-perfect balance. 'He is the grandest player of the day. It is doubtful if, for general excellence, his equal has ever been seen.' said The Australasian newspaper of the day. In his retrospective list, football historian C. C. Mullins considered Coulthard to be the Champion of the Colony in 1876, 1877 and 1879.[1]

On 1 July 1880 Coulthard was the umpire for an inter-colonial match between Melbourne and the Norwood Football Club from South Australia. He chose to wear all white and is thus football's first "man in white" (the traditional colour of umpires attire in Australian rules football).

Coulthard was vice-captain of Carlton in 1882 when events conspired to finish his career. He clashed with Joey Tankard of Hotham, and both men were suspended for four matches. When they next played they came to blows again, causing the crowd to invade the field, and causing a ten minute delay of the match. The VFA suspended both men for the remainder of the season, but Tankard's suspension was lifted after three matches. It was to be his last game for Carlton.

In 1990 Coulthard was inducted to the Carlton Football Club Hall of Fame and in 1996 Coulthard was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Cricket career[edit]

George Coulthard
Cricket information
Batting style Right-handed batsman (RHB)
Bowling style Right arm medium (RM)
International information
National side
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Matches 1 6
Runs scored 6 92
Batting average N/A 11.50
100s/50s 0/0 0/0
Top score 6* 31
Balls bowled 0 332
Wickets 0 5
Bowling average n/a 25.00
5 wickets in innings 0 0
10 wickets in match 0 0
Best bowling n/a 3/29
Catches/stumpings 0/0 3c
Source: [1]



Australian colony[edit]

Pre State-based competition, which preceded Federation of Australia in 1901.

Victorian club[edit]



Coulthard played in the first first-class match between the colonies, representing Victoria against South Australia in November 1880.


Only Test: vs England, Sydney, 1881–1882

  • His only Test batting score of 6 not out was made in this match. Although selected as a bowler, he did not bowl in the match.


At the age of 22 Coulthard umpired the third Test cricket match played between Australia and England in Melbourne on 2 January to 4 January 1879. Coulthard is the only one of two cricketers to have umpired a Test match before playing in one.[2] The match, won by Australia by 10 wickets, was notable for the first Test match hat-trick, achieved by Fred Spofforth of Australia. Coulthard's colleague was P. Coady.

As an umpire he was at the centre of an ugly incident that turned into a riot in Sydney in 1879 when he was officiating in a match between Lord Harris's England side and New South Wales at the Association Ground in Sydney. On the second day of the match, he called star NSW batsman Billy Murdoch run out. Independent witnesses said the decision was "close but fair", and was supported by the other umpire Edmund Barton, later to become Australia's first Prime Minister. However, NSW captain Dave Gregory demanded his replacement, claiming he was incompetent. The crowd subsequently invaded the pitch and play was suspended for the remainder of the day. When it resumed the following Monday – with the rioters back at work – Coulthard remained as umpire.

In 1882 Coulthard umpired his second Test match, a drawn match in Melbourne, noted mainly for George Ulyett scoring England's first Test hundred in Australia. His colleague in this match was James Lillywhite who had captained England in the first ever Test match in 1877.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Australian Football League (Australia)". Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Christen, p. 39.


  • Christen, R. "George Coulthard: Test Umpire, Victoria and Australia", The Cricket Statistician, No. 150, Summer 2010. Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians: West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire.
  • Pollard, Jack, "Australian Cricket: 1803–1893, The Formative Years". Sydney, The Book Company, 1995. (ISBN 0-207-15490-2)
  • Ross, John (1999). The Australian Football Hall of Fame. Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 54. ISBN 0-7322-6426-X. 
  • AFL: Hall of Fame