Jim Bonella

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Jim Bonella
Personal information
Full name James Henry Bonella
Date of birth 17 December 1884
Place of birth Maldon, Victoria
Date of death 24 May 1918(1918-05-24) (aged 33)
Place of death France
Original team(s) Pembroke
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1908 Melbourne 1 (0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1908.
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

James Henry "Jim" Bonella (17 December 1884 – 24 May 1918) was an Australian rules footballer who played with Melbourne in the Victorian Football League (VFL), under the name of Jim Bonelli.[1]

He died of the wounds he received whilst on active service in France in World War I.


The son of Pietro and Margaret Bonelli, née Williams, Jim Bonella was born at Maldon, Victoria on 17 December 1884. He married Eliza Puncher (1885–1968) in 1912; they had one son, James Avenel Bonella (1913–2002). Eliza's brother, Jim's brother in law, Private Joseph Samuel Puncher (also known as James Samuel Puncher) was killed in action in France on 21 November 1916.[2]


Recruited from Pembroke, he played one senior match for the Melbourne Football Club, in the last match of the season, on a very muddy ground, against Fitzroy, at the Brunswick Street Oval on 5 September 1908 (There had been a two week break between rounds 17 and 18 due to the 1908 Melbourne Carnival. Melbourne's Dick Fowler, recruited from Caulfield Grammar School, and Fitzroy's Tom Norton, recruited from Hawthorn, also played their first and only senior VFL matches on that day.[3][4] He returned to Pembroke, and played for them in 1909.[5]

First World War[edit]

Working as a picture-framer, he enlisted in the First AIF on 18 January 1915. He served as a private in the 2nd Battalion, Australian Machine Gun Corps.

He was seriously wounded in his left thigh, in action with the 21st Battalion, A Company, on 20 May 1918, and died of his wounds on 24 May 1918. He is buried at the Étaples Military Cemetery in northwest France.[6]

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