Almanac History – What happened on the twelfth of the twelfth?



I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with the twelfth of the twelfth, hardly surprising given that it’s my birthday. So in keeping with several recent posts on the Almanac, I thought I’d have a bit of a look back to see what happened on this date in both cricket and the arts.


Let’s start with cricket. Way back in 1884, Adelaide hosted a Test match for the very first time when Australia played England in the First Test of the 1884/5 Ashes series. Batting first, Australia made 243 of which opener Percy McDonnell scored 124 while William Bates took the bowling honours with 5/31 off 24 overs – tidy indeed! England replied with 369 with William Barnes contributing 134 and William Scotten 82. (Three Williams – Will, Bill and ?) George Palmer was the best of the bowlers with 5/81 off a marathon 73 overs – how’s that for economy? Batting a second time, the Aussies could muster only 191 with McDonnell carrying his bat for 83*. Robert Peel had the best figures of 5/51 for the Englishmen. Set only 66 to win, England got there with eight wickets to spare. You can see the full scorecard of the match by clicking here.


Moving ahead to 1930, Australia played host to the West Indies for the first time with the First Test played in Adelaide commencing on the twelfth of the twelfth. West Indies batted first and compiled 296 with Edward Bartlett scoring 84, Clifford Roach 56 and George Grant 53*. Clarrie Grimmett took the honours with the ball with a haul of 7/87. Australia replied with 376 on the back of Alan Kippax (146) and Stan McCabe (90). On their second visit to the crease, the Windies scored 249 with Grant (71*) and Lionel Birkett (64) leading the way. Grimmett and Alexander Hurwood each took four wickets. Chasing a target of 170, Bill Ponsford (92*) and Archie Jackson (70*) saw the home side to victory by 10 wickets. You can see the full scorecard by clicking here.


I spent my 13th birthday working on Dad’s farm. I think we may have been harvesting onions but I couldn’t be sure. We had a transistor radio with us as we urged young Kevin Douglas Walters towards a century on debut at the Gabba. He took forty minutes to negotiate the 90s but finally got there to our distant cheers and went on to score 155, sharing a 187 run partnership with Bill Lawry (166). With a day’s play lost, the match ended in a tame draw but a new batting hero was born who went on to be both a cult figure in Australian cricket as well as one of its most loved players of the era. Doug’s career figures can be seen here while the match scoreboard can be seen here.


I thought I’d go for a cross section of styles to highlight the importance of the twelfth of the twelfth in music and the arts. Frank Sinatra was born on this day back in 1915, Old Blues Eyes himself. Let’s just say that he had a ‘colourful’ life and created quite a stir on his visit to Australia in 1974, best known for the intervention of one RJL Hawke after Sinatra made a series of remarks in poor taste about the local ladies. Frank found out that he couldn’t always do it his way. I’ll leave it to you to check out the details.


Connie Francis was born in 1937 and went on to a career of great highs and terrible lows. She is best remembered for her hits “Who’s sorry now?”, “Lipstick on your collar” and, most importantly, “Where the boys are’. Sounds from my childhood. I can just about hear a few of the older Almanackers crooning along in the background!


I’ve long thought that Dionne Warwick (born in 1940) has one of the voices of popular music. “Walk on by” gives me the tingles, ‘Do you know the way to San Jose?”, “Alfie”, “Promises, promises”, and on it goes. Her beautiful interpretation of Burt Bacharach’s songs is a hallmark of her contribution to the music industry.



Tim Hauser was born in 1941 and went on to be a co-founder of  Manhattan Transfer. “Chanson D’Amour” was a classic of theirs and “Twilight Zone” was popular. Worth a visit to YouTube to see and hear them. A hugely underrated group!



Fast forward a decade or so and the twelfth of the twelfth in 1977 saw the premiere of the film “Saturday Night Fever“. Chest hair at five paces, bling and big, boofy hair everywhere, tight pants and vibrato falsetto. “Ah, ah, ah, ah staying’ alive, stayin’ alive…’ I always loved the Bee Gees and remember them as kids appearing on George Wallace’s Theatre Royal on Brisbane television in the early 60s – white T-shirts, white tennis shorts, short white socks and sand shoes, Barry’s guitar twice as big as him. But, boy, could they sing!


Sometimes a particular date stands out on the calendar. Seven years ago we had 12/12/12; it just happened to be my 60th birthday. A bloke’s got to do something about that. I retired! Best thing I ever did. Cheers!





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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Happy Birthday Ian. Thanks for this.

    Two of the songs that you mentioned were covered by a pair of unlikely acts. The Saints did a ripping version of “Lipstick On Your Collar”. Molly Meldrum referred to the Stranglers version of “Walk On By” as “an abortion”.

  2. Happy Birthday Ian. It’d be remiss not to mention the first time Australia played New Zealand in a test in Perth was on 12/12; 1980.

    This was at the WACA. The visitors batted first managing only 196, with home town here DK Lillee picking up best figures of 5-63 as the Australian pace bowlers did their job. In reply we were teetering at 5-68 when two old stagers Doug Walters, and another local here Rod Marsh, resurrected the innings. When Walters was out for 55 they had added 88 (1 more than the devils number). Marsh top scored with 91 and with Lenny Pascoe providing support the locals tallied 265. Leading the visitors attack were two famous names. Sir Richard Hadlee picked up 5-87, Lance Cairns also bowled well with a 4 for.

    In their second dig New Zealand managed only 121, with Jim Higgs getting the best figures with 4-25. Higgs wicketless in the first innings made up for it. Was he our best ‘leggie’ between Richie Benaud and Shane Warne? Australia knocked off the 55 required though not before another Westralian, Graeme Wood, completed a pair.

    Happy Birthday Ian, let’s hope the opening day of the test is a worthy one.


  3. Colin Ritchie says

    Happy birthday Ian, fellow Sagittarian! I follow you next week, same day as Keith Richards! One off seventy, bloody hell!

  4. Daryl Schramm says

    Happy birthday Ian for yesterday. Mine was last Saturday. Also retired in October this year. Monday is now my favorite day of the week.

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