'Solly' Hill was born into one of South Australia's most famous sporting families. An older brother, Clem, is remembered as the great left-hand opening batsman who captained Australia and also shone at football with South Adelaide.
'Solly' was the youngest of five brothers who played football for Norwood, following in the footsteps of Percy, Arthur, Frank and Roy. He also was the youngest of the six Hill siblings who played cricket for South Australia, debuting after Arthur, Clem, Percy, Harry and Roy.
'Solly' was born in Adelaide on 22 August 1885 into the staunch Methodist household of Henry John Hill and his wife Rebecca Eliza, née Saunders. All the boys - there were eight sons and eight daughters - were educated at Prince Alfred College.
A bright football career beckoned for 'Solly' when he finished equal third in Norwood goalkicking with a tally of 15 in 1904, but he missed out on the premiership team that year. He also failed to make the 1907 premiership team despite showing flair during the season.
The Gadfly ran the following amusing report in its issue of 26 June 1907: "Having walloped North Adelaide decisively, West Torrens thought that Norwood, with L. Chamberlain, Gibbons and Bahr temporarily on the repair shelf, would be victims to their prowess, and a large crowd from the bricky suburb did a pilgrimage to the eastern oval on Saturday, with hope swelling their sanguine hearts. They returned with the feeling of having parted with their tramfares under false expectations. The red-and-blues gave a brilliant exhibition, and there was more blue than gold about West Torrens' players and supporters after the first quarter. At no stage of the game had they the least hope, and Norwood won, full of going, by 11 goals 2 to 2 goals 6. Solly Hill came out of his shell, and kicked 6 goals for the winners, who all played well."
'Solly' started brilliantly in a preseason trial against the Norwood seconds in 1909, kicking two goals before again spraining a dicky knee and effectively ending his career.
He played cricket with East Torrens and represented SA in 11 matches between 1908 and 1912, with a top score of 62. He also appeared with North Sydney and NSW, and played club cricket in England. A long-hitting though somewhat wayward golfer, he was runner-up for the SA amateur championship in 1924 and was the Oxhey Golf Club champion in England in 1927.
He moved to London as a partner of the Adelaide merchants Matthew Goode & Co. He and his Victorian wife had a daughter, Judy. He died at Englefield, England, on 10 May 1970
P Robins July 2018