Norwood dual premiership player Alex Frayne cut his teeth at Carlton with his brothers Nathaniel and Richard, who was the Navy Blues’ captain in 1883.
Alex came to Norwood by way of the old Victorians club, which he joined on his arrival in South Australia in 1879. The South Australian Register summed up his first season in Adelaide thus: “A. Frayne has . . . much improved and is the fleetest runner with the ball in the team. He plays back, and in that position has few equals, being a sure mark, excellent kick, and very strong.”
Alex four times represented South Australia with distinction. Victoria was untroubled to win all four games – 5.13 to 2.7 and 3.21 to 0.6 in Adelaide in 1880, 8.24 to 1.8 and 4.14 to 1.5 in Melbourne in 1881 – but Alex was always mentioned favorably in newspaper reports. After his intercolonial debut, ‘Goalpost’ in the Register said: “Frayne played a fine game, his dashes forward being very brilliant in spite of the fact that he had the fastest man in the Victorian team pitted against him.” Commenting on the two Melbourne games, The Age said “Frayne nearly always beat his man” and “A. Frayne played a grand game all day”.
Although still with Victorians, where he served on the committee and match committee, Alex was a guest member of the Norwood squad which visited Melbourne for games against the leading clubs in 1880. On 26 June he played against his old team on an East Melbourne mudheap. Norwood scored 1.5 to Carlton’s 1.6 for an honourable draw (behinds not counting).
In 1882, Alex finally switched to Norwood, which had recruited well to cover the loss of a number of key players. Among the newcomers who enjoyed Norwood’s fifth successive premiership celebrations that year were Alex and his old Victorians clubmate John Brophy, ‘Jammie’ Watson from Melbourne and the erstwhile South Adelaide pair Tom Maloney and Tom Lindsay. All except Maloney tasted premiership success again in 1883.
Alex’s brother Nathaniel joined Port Adelaide in 1881. He was Port captain in 1882 and also represented South Australia.
Alex Frayne was born in Melbourne about 1852 to John Frayne and his wife Mary, née McGoogin. After leaving South Australia he was employed for many years by the Metropolitan Gas Works, Perth, before taking up land at Balbarrup, Manjimup Shire. He died of paralysis on 3 May 1917 and was survived by his widow, Margaret, daughter May (Mrs Albert Mayor of Randwick, NSW) and sons John and Reg. Margaret Frayne died at 81 in 1938.
P. Robins, P. Thornton Feb 2020
See also: Blueseum website Alex Frayne