Charley Presgrave was an enthusiast. A brief fling with Norwood in 1885 was just one of his many engagements with sport, art and the community before he died at 33, leaving a grieving widow and son.
Charles was born in Unley on 16 December 1863, one of seven children of John Charles Presgrave and the former Catherine Ewen.
Charles played football with the Hotham juniors and North Adelaide before joining Norwood. He did not make an auspicious debut against Adelaide at Kensington Oval on 2 May 1885. In Norwood's first attack Presgrave "mulled an easy mark close up to the posts", The South Australian Register reported, with Norwood's "sixth behind coming through the agency of Presgrave, who was very selfish". Norwood nevertheless won 6.15 to 1.2.
When these teams met again on a muddy Adelaide Oval on 15 August, Norwood was without four regulars and played a man short until Presgrave made up the 20 approaching half-time. Norwood maintained its narrow lead after the break for a 4.6 to 3.5 victory which levelled the account with Adelaide that season. Adelaide, however, won its fifth and final encounter with Norwood to clinch its first and only premiership.
Charles dallied with athletics and kept score at first-class cricket matches, but found his niche as secretary of the South Australian Cyclists' Union, where his experience as a banker proved invaluable in building a strong financial base for the sport.
Art was another interest. He served as secretary of the Adelaide Easel Club and one of his paintings, 'A Tasmanian Scene', was selected to hang in the Kensington and Norwood Art Gallery at the Norwood Institute under the benefaction of Sir Edwin Smith.
Charles also was the first general secretary of the Wattle Day League, which began under the auspices of the SA chapter of the Australian Natives' Association in 1889. He wrote the lyrics for an anthem, 'Australia', which was sung on 18 March 1890 at a social for the Wattle Bloom League, formed to promote national patriotic sentiment among Australian women. He was a member of the Duke of Leinster Lodge and the Stonehenge Lodge, UAOD.
Charles married Elsie Maude Bleechmore in 1895 and they had one son, Kenneth Cave Presgrave. At his death on 28 February 1897, Charles was cashier of the Savings Bank of South Australia, which he had joined as a clerk in 1882. A brother-in-law, Frank Bleechmore, also worked at the bank and was a Norwood team-mate in 1885.
* Picture kindly provided by Anthony Presgrave, great nephew of Charles Presgrave
P Robins Sept 2018