Ulsterman Alexander McAloney played one game for Norwood in 1901, signed up for the Boer War in 1902 and completed his senior football career as a smart wingman with West Perth in 1906.
Alex was born at Knockbrackin, County Down, Northern Ireland on 20 November 1881. The family migrated to South Australia and the father, Robert, was school headmaster at Aldinga, Terowie, Willunga, Laura, Burra, Petersburg, Moonta and Marryatville.
Alex was one of the best players for the junior team College Town, which lost only two games out of 20 in the Adelaide and Suburban Football Association in 1899. It seems he helped make up the numbers in a weakened South Adelaide team which crashed to West Torrens at Jubilee Oval on 26 May 1900. He had better memories from his one game with Norwood, which thumped West Adelaide 8.12 to 4.9 before a big crowd at Norwood Oval on 1 June 1901.
From a British Loyalist family, Alex was keen to contribute to the Boer War effort and joined the A Contingent: 2nd Troop in Adelaide on 21 April 1902. His enlistment details say he was a Belfast-born British subject of 21 years and 6 months. An unmarried clerk, he was a Presbyterian, 5 ft 5 1/2in (166 cm), with dark blue eyes, dark hair, a sallow complexion, a 35-inch chest measurement and a scar on the right leg.
His next of kin is listed as his father, R. S. McAloney, who was still reeling from an incident at the Petersburg School the year before. The music teacher had sent the local publican's son to the headmaster because the boy said he could not sing. The boy ran away but was caught and McAloney beat him, bruising his legs. In return, the publican's wife struck McAloney a blow with a horsewhip and her husband said: "I'll pull your nose, Mac." It ended in court, with no winners or losers and costs shared all round.
On his return from South Africa, Alex McAloney was playing football in 1903 for Petersburg (later named Peterborough), then moved to WA. After an early blip - he was fined £5 for his role in a train carriage affray in 1905 - he played 10 games and kicked one goal for West Perth in 1906.
In 1912 he married Emily Jones of Gracemore House, Kojonup, the daughter of pioneer landowner William "Squatter" Jones. They moved to Perth and had daughters Dulcey and Jacqueline. After a career in banking. 'Mac' spent much of his later working life as an accountant with the Swan Brewery. He died at Nedlands, WA, on 26 September 1964
P Robins Oct 2018
* Picture kindly supplied by Geoff Jones, a great nephew of Alex McAloney