Almanac Obituary: Vale Twinkle Toes

Laurie Dwyer passed away last Monday. He was a gentleman, a family man, a champion VFL footballer and a loyal ‘Shinboner’.


Before joining North Melbourne in the 1954, he won the Victorian Amateur Ballroom dancing champion (in the News Limited photo archive, there is a great shot of Laurie – wearing his dinner suit – whirling his partner around a dance floor).  This achievement must have been known to Lou Richards – when commentating on a game, he gave Laurie the nickname ‘Twinkle Toes’.


The contemporaneous match footage highlights his graceful, elegant agility under extreme pressure.  He was twice runner-up in the Brownlow Medal count. He was twice the North Melbourne Best & Fairest. He represented Victoria; and he represented Australia in late 1967 in a game between Harry Beitzel’s ‘Galahs’ and the All-Ireland Gaelic Football premiers, County Meath.  He demonstrated his skill on “Croker”.


He was affably polite; he was humble; and he had a tremendously dry sense of humour. One cold, wet day at the Western Oval, a wag in the crowd asked Laurie to show off his dancing moves. In a humble, restrained way, Laurie obliged the Footscray supporter, to the obvious delight of the crowd. His teammates rated highly his enthusiasm and good humour.


After his retirement as a player, he continued to serve the North Melbourne Football Club. He was Ron Barassi’s runner for the 1975 premiership team. He assisted the Club well into the 1980s, 1990s and beyond.


Vale Laurie Dwyer – a gentleman.

About Rob Heath

Rob Heath is a barrister based in Melbourne. He enjoys watching the football at Kardinia Park with his father and son. In 1999, Rob, Adrian Anderson, Peter Cullen and Jim Main complied & edited a book titled “COACH! Inspiration & Perspiration” (Information Australia, Melbourne, 2000).


  1. Charlie wells says:

    RIP Laurie.

  2. Nice tribute Rob.
    A great fella.

    Knew his father, Leo, better.
    From Murchison.
    A Morrison medalist in 1936.
    Leo also played with North, starting in 1924 when it entered the VFL.
    He was third in the Brownlow in 1928.

    Laurie was very proud of his father; we used to talk about him when Laurie helped out the Swans with recruiting in the 90s when the Great RJ, Ron Joseph was in charge.

    Laurie’s sons, David and Anthony also played at North Melbourne.
    Three generations. Pretty unique.

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