The search for the final six Magarey Medals

The SANFL History Committee, as one of its projects, has been trying to identify the whereabouts of all past Magarey medals. The first Magarey medal was awarded in 1898 and was won by Albie Green of Norwood and that is currently in the possession of Norwood.


Our efforts have located all but 6 Magarey medals. One unconfirmed story attributed to one of the non-located medals is that it’s winner was cremated and the medal went with him.


Last year we received the 3 medals won by each of Lindsay Head and Barrie Robran. Recently, we had another presentation when we hosted 4 grandsons of Dan Moriarty who handed over the medals won by their grandfather, Dan Moriarty, in 1919, 1920 and 1921. He remains the only SANFL player to ever win 3 medals in consecutive years. Dan Moriarty’s debut was delayed until 1919 because of WWI during which the competition was suspended. He was 24 years of age when he debuted for South Adelaide and he retired after 7 years when he was 30. He played a total of 97 games. During his career a minor round was either 12 games or 14 games. As you can see, he played nearly every game in each season. Also during his career he represented South Australia on 22 occasions.


Dan Moriarty was a centre half back who was reportedly a magnificent mark and a penetrating drop kick. Both Richmond and Carlton attempted to lure him across the border and he was offered £3 per game. He remained loyal to South Adelaide throughout his career. A contemporary of Dan Moriarty’s was Vic Richardson, himself a Magarey medal winner and the grandfather of the Chappell brothers. He described Dan Moriarty as “the greatest footballer he had ever seen”. A beautifully worded perspective on his career is provided by Jeff Pash, who again was a Magarey medal winner and a long time sports journalist in South Australia who said, “Just as he left no memories of a young footballer gradually acquiring skill, so there were none of an aging champion’s decline”.


At the function when we received the medals, the medals were on display and were each beautifully designed. Prior to 1991 each Magarey medal has a unique design and many of the medals which were struck around the war years take on an appearance of military medals. Invariably, when we have found or come across old Megarey medals they have been kept in perfect condition by descendants of the winner.


Dan Moriarty was an inaugural inductee into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and the South Australian Football Hall of Fame.


Magarey Medal presentation showing 4 grandsons of Dan Moriarty, one great-grandson, Dan’s daughter-in-law and Dion McCaffrie (second from the right).


  1. Could we have the date years of the missing medals as a clue?


    Stab punt Jim

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’ve just been asked to help with this. The names are

    S A Malin, 1899, Port Adelaide,
    W J Ashley, 1914, Port Adelaide?

    H V Cumberland, 1911, Sturt
    D Low (Lowe?), 1912, West Torrens
    F M Barry, 1915, South Adelaide
    R G L Barnes, 1922, West Adelaide

  3. Dave Brown says

    The newspapers of the time are split on the spelling of Low(e), weirdly, but most seem to go with Low. And, yes, Ashley was a follower for Port Adelaide

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