Harry Blinman was a premiership player with his older brother, Tom, in Norwood’s first two years and then went on to make a name for himself in cricket and government administration.
Harry was aged just sixteen and a half when he played in the Norwood second twenty match against North Park on 6 July 1878 and was named among the better players. A fortnight later he kicked two goals for the second twenty against Kensington and continued good form led to his selection in the last game of the 1878 season for the first team against Victorian at Montefiore Hill. Norwood completed its debut season undefeated with a 1.7 to 0.2 victory that day
Harry was born on 30 December 1861 at Flinders Street, Adelaide, to William Blinman and his wife Mary, née Pearce. He was the third child, after Martha and Tom. Later came Agnes, William and Mary. Harry attended the Rev. W. Moore’s Pulteney Street School.
Harry was a football and cricket associate of the Giffen brothers. When George Giffen took a cricket team to play Mount Gambier at Frew Park in 1885, Harry made 101 and George 176. Walter Giffen married Tom’s youngest sister, Mary, in 1904.
Harry had a long and distinguished cricket career. As a hard-hitting batsman he appeared in 15 premierships with the Norwood Cricket Club. He was a regular selection for South Australia from 1880 to 1896, making 663 runs in 40 innings at an average of 20.09 with a top score of 73 not out. He then went on to play a prominent role in cricket administration as chairman of the Australian Board of Control from 1914 to 1919 (there were no meetings because of World War I), a long-time member of the SA Cricket Association’s Ground and Finance Committee, and SACA president from 1940 until his death at 88 on 23 July 1950.
Harry also was a notable lawn lawn bowler, winning the SA championship in 1925-26.
As a public servant he rose through the ranks to become Under Secretary, Premier’s secretary and Clerk of the Executive Council from 1916 to 1931, when he retired. He was state organiser for the visits of the Prince of Wales in 1920 and the Duke and Duchess of York in 1927. In 1920 he was made a Member of the Victorian Order for personal services rendered to King George V.
Reference: Whimpress, B 1878; Norwood’s first year, by B Whimpress, research by M Coligan. Norwood, Norwood Football Club History Group, 2013
P. Robins, D. Cox July 2021