The grave of Tom Wills’ cousin, H C A Harrison at Boroondara General Cemetery

Full name Henry Colden Antill Harrison
Date of birth 16 October 1836
Place of birth Jarvisfield, New South Wales
Date of death 2 September 1929 (aged 92)
Place of death Melbourne, Victoria




Add your knowledge of HCA Harrison and his roles in both early Australian football and cricket.



Check out the “Doggies Almanac 2016” – what it is, how to get one – here.


About John Holmes

Primary interests: Australian sports history and sporting memorabilia; Phar Lap, Don Bradman, Captain Matthew Webb, Stawell Gift, Emil Zatopek, the Birth of the Ashes, Bodyline Cricket, Tom Wills, Johnny Mullagh and Clive Churchill. Trophy collection management, Custom designed trophies and prestigious sporting presentation awards, trophy detailing, engraving and restoration, sandblasting and etching, trophy and memorabilia display case set-up, trophy and memorabilia cataloging.


  1. Good onya John. FYI ,I had a short article on HCA Harrison posted on the Almanac website back on 16/5/2016.


  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Excellent discovery JHH. Harrison’s grave looks like it needs a restoration also. At least he got to live to a ripe old age. Hope the authorities look after it considering his historical standing in the game and athletics. Cheers

  3. bring back the torp says:

    Good work, JHH.

    Unlike his cousin Tom Wills, Harrison was a teetotaller and non-smoker -a very rare combination in Australia in the 19 th century! He was also, apart from his great football prowess, one of Victoria’s best sprinters.

    Harrison wrote his autobiography (The Story Of An Athlete) in his 80’s, so was still very lucid , with a sharp mind. In it, he wrote how Tom Wills said we should ” have a game of our own”. This was despite, or because of, Wills attending the Rugby School, UK, in his youth, and being a very good rugby player. Many others from a similar background and social status would simply have preferred to propagate the British game, as the Mother Country was obviously “superior”, and the repository of all wisdom. Wills and Harrison were men of a more independant mindset.

    Harrison did write, however, he wanted the indigenous game to be “manly”, and it was not suitable for “milksops and manpoodles”. It is a pity the latter two nouns have gone out of favour!

    Harrison was tireless in always promoting football over 60 years, and was regarded widely as “The Father Of The Game”. In 1908, he was given a beautiful gold medal, with a map of the world on it, by the Australasian Football Council, recognising his long service to the game as a player and Administrator.
    He travelled to England, NZ, as well as Sydney to try and promote football -long trips then. NZ and the Sydney establishment preferred rugby, and wanted to retain strong sporting ties with Britain, so resisted his overtures. He wrote, after speaking to English rugby authorities, that the English considered it odd and inappropriate that a Colonial underling would have the temerity to suggest the Australian code was superior. Australian Football was probably one of the first, and very rare in the 19th century, examples of inceptive Australian nationalism.

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