Book Launch: ‘George Giffen – a biography’ by Bernard Whimpress


Bernard Whimpress book launch

New function room, Norwood Oval

6-8pm, Tuesday 8 December



You won’t be getting free grog and you’ll be lucky to get a cheese cracker but you will be fascinated to hear Roger Wills and Bernard discuss the life of an all-time great Australian sportsman. This 100,000-word biography comes in a fabulous hardback edition so make sure you’re prepared to spend $65 on the night.


George Giffen kicked the first-ever goal for Norwood in the first senior game of Australian Rules football played on the Adelaide Oval in 1878; aged 19 he was (according to some judges) the best player in the colony that year; and in six seasons he played in five premierships for the Redlegs. He also appeared in several intercolonial matches.


George lived and worked his entire life in the central business district of Adelaide but he was a powerful Norwood identity as aside from his football he played in no less than 14 premierships for the Norwood Cricket Club which preceded the East Torrens District Cricket Club.


Cricket certainly took precedence over football, causing him to miss the 1882 and 1884 seasons while touring England. In all, George toured England with five Australian teams and his achievements in the summer game were spectacular:


  • the first all-rounder in the world to reach the Test double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets,
  • the first South Australian Test cricketer,
  • member of the Australian team that won the inaugural ‘Ashes’ match in 1882,
  • the first SA player to captain the national team.


Possessing enormous stamina and an indomitable will, George produced the greatest all-round performance in history when scoring 271 runs in a single innings before taking 16 wickets for 166 runs for SA against Victoria in 1891. And in the 1894-95 Test series he scored 475 runs and took 34 wickets, an unparalleled feat at the highest level of the game.


Numerous outstanding cricket exploits for clubs, colony/state and nation led to George Giffen’s sporting greatness being widely acknowledged during his life and within six months of his death in 1927 the members’ pavilion at Adelaide Oval was named in his honour. A statue at the rear of the new stands was erected in 2014.


Norwood’s 1878 premiership team. George Giffen is pictured centre in middle row in front of
captain Joe Osborn (holding ball) whose left hand is placed upon George’s shoulder.



To check out more details of Bernard’s biography on George Giffen, click HERE.


To read more from Bernard, click HERE.


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published early in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE



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  1. Kevin Densley says

    Sounds like a great read, Bernard! I’d heard of Giffen, and knew a little about him, but the detail of a biography such as this is certainly very welcome!

  2. Bernard Whimpress says

    Thanks Kevin
    If you’re not in SA I’d suggest purchasing through Roger Page Cricket Books at [email protected] or Ken Piesse at

  3. Kevin Densley says

    I’m in Victoria, so thanks for the information.

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