John Albert "Alby" Bahr was one of Norwood's finest players of the early 1900's. He made his League debut in Round 3, 1902, Norwood losing to South Adelaide 4.4 to 6.10. He was named Norwood's best junior in 1902 (tying for the award with Harold Miller) and progressed quickly to become a prominent footballer at both club and State level.
Alby was a versatile and skilful footballer, capable of playing as a follower and at either end of the ground. He was noted for his coolness under pressure and was highly rated by his peers.
The 1904 Grand Final will go down as one of Norwood's greatest victories and Bahr played a major part in the result. He was named as a follower, changing on a half-back flank. Down by 35 points at the last break, Norwood ran all over Port Adelaide to win by four points , 9.8 to 8.10. Late in the game, with Norwood still trailing by a couple of goals, Port Adelaide player Selby was injured in a collision with Bahr. The Magpie had to be carried off the ground and Port was forced to play out the rest of the game with 17 men. Bahr was high in Norwood's best players. He also had the honour of being named best and fairest in Norwood's premiership year, tying with Lionel "Slogger" Hill for the award.
He gained State selection for the first time in 1905 and went on to play eight games between 1905 and 1908.
1907 was to be a memorable season for Bahr and the Norwood Football Club. Bahr represented South Australia against Victoria in Melbourne in June 1907. In a heart-stopping finish, South Australia won the game by one point. Bahr had marked a kick from fellow Norwood team-mate Tommy Gibbons, when the siren sounded in the last quarter with Victoria five points up. Bahr calmly went back and converted the place-kick from a long way out, thereby snatching the victory for SA
He was named Norwood captain in 1907 and proved to be a strong leader. He kicked two goals in that year's Grand Final and was again listed in the best players. Not only did Norwood win the flag , again defeating Port Adelaide in the decider, but the club was also crowned Champions of Australia after defeating VFL premiers Carlton at the end of the season, 13.12 to 8.10.
Bahr shared the best and fairest award with Lionel Hill for a second time in 1908.
Named captain of the South Australian team for the 1908 Australian Jubilee Football Carnival held in Melbourne, Bahr played impressively
in what was the inaugural interstate series.
He was appointed Norwood's first ever playing coach in 1911, and then captain-coach in 1912. Bahr only played eight games in each of the two seasons and the side finished in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Bahr was also a prominent cricketer for the Rose Park and the Norwood Footballer's cricket teams and in 1920 he served on the Norwood Football Club management committee.
He was inducted into the South Australian Hall of Fame in 2002, and named in a back-pocket in the Norwood Team of the Century.
R Cialini August 2017