World War I played a curious role in bringing Harry Gabriel to Norwood. Of Syrian heritage, he was only 17 when he played one game with West Adelaide in 1910. 'Kewpie', as he was popularly called, was playing football in Broken Hill before he returned to Adelaide to enlist in the original 10th Battalion in August 1914.
Driver Gabriel found himself in Cairo as a member of the 10th Battalion football team under the captaincy of Phil Robin, a short time before the Norwood champion's tragic death at Gallipoli. Harry himself was badly wounded in action and repatriated in June 1916.
In 1918 he played 14 home-and-away games and three finals in the last season of the SANFL Patriotic League. West Torrens defeated West Adelaide in the final, 5.13 to 3.11, with Norwood not involved that year.
Harry joined Norwood when normal football resumed in 1919. Despite his solid efforts, Norwood finished bottom for the fourth season in a row. His next appearance was for the 10th Battalion against the 27th Battalion in the first Anzac Day holiday match at Adelaide Oval, on 26 April 1920, along with four other survivors from Phil Robin's team, George Beames, Claude Toovey and Bob Rayney, of Norwood, and Broken Hill stalwart George Colley. (Rayney had played with the Norwood B team)
Norwood embarked on a youth policy in 1921. Harry was cleared back to West Adelaide, where, playing as a wingman, he retired after just one more season, having built his tally of games with the red-and blacks to 10, on top of his 12 games at Norwood.
Born in Adelaide on 4 November 1892 to Salem Gabriel Gabriel and Mary Antonia Gabriel, née Rash, Harry was educated at Christian Brothers' College, Wakefield Street. Originally a cabinetmaker, Harry joined the staff of the Parkside Mental Hospital after the war and worked there for nearly 25 years.
He was a member of the Holy Name Society and manifested a great interest in all Catholic social and charitable activities. One of his brothers, the Reverend Father Peter Gabriel, of Saint Columban's Mission Society, served the church in China for seven demanding years before his death in Adelaide in 1938 after a protracted illness.
Harry was an ardent follower of football and cricket. He died suddenly at his Joslin home on 25 September 1945, aged 52. He was survived by his widow, the former Olive Rice, of Goodwood, as well as his mother, sisters Mary, Teresa, Zarreefey and Lottieseey, and brothers Victor and Alex
P Robins July 2018