Sidney Bickford was a 14-year-old St Peter’s College boy when he played his first senior game for Norwood, against Gawler at Kensington Oval on 4 May 1889. It was a cold, bleak Saturday and there were few spectators. Norwood amassed 14.11 against the hapless visitors, who failed to score. The Advertiser reporter said: “The Norwoods were without Coombe and C. Woods, but Rowley, McCarthy, and Bickford sported the red-and-blue suit for the first time in an association contest. Rowley and McCarthy performed very creditably, but Bickford did not make much of an impression.”
There is no record that Sidney played for Norwood after that. A younger cousin, Harding William Bickford, appears to have played one senior game in 1894.
Born on 10 August 1874, Sidney was the second son of the first chemist in Hindley Street, William Bickford, and his wife Margaret, née Ferguson.
Seven weeks after Sidney’s Norwood debut, his older brother William, 17, was killed in a fall while riding with the Adelaide Hunt Club. Sidney’s younger siblings were Harold, Evalyn, Reginald, Norman and Leslie.
All the boys were educated at St Peter’s College. A tall, well-built lad, Sidney was a member of the St Peter’s team which lost to Prince Alfred College 8.13 to 2.6 in 1890. He was a member of the Adelaide Cycling club. His brother Harold was a champion cyclist and played football for South Adelaide, West Torrens and Sturt before serving the family company, A. M. Bickford & Sons, manufacturer of drugs and cordials, as managing director from 1908 to 1930.
Sidney moved to Western Australia in 1895 to open the company’s Perth branch. He married Maude Freer in St George’s Cathedral in Perth in 1903 and they had eight children, William, Sidney, Norman, Adelyn, Robert, Edwin, Mary and Rhonda. Maude died in 1931 and Sidney married Margaret Howard.
In later years Sidney selected land at Gutha in the WA mid-west and worked the property with sons Robert and Edwin, and then with Robert after Edwin moved to Kalgoorlie. Sidney died on 10 December 1938 and is interred in the Karrakatta Cemetery in suburban Perth.
P Robins, D Cox Nov 2020