Harry Shaw was a wingman of sizzling pace in his eight premierships years with Fremantle, earning him the nickname ‘Carbine’ after the legendary winner of the 1890 Melbourne Cup.
Harry had Adelaide roots and seems to have squeezed the odd Norwood appearance into his 70 or so senior games over 10 seasons. He was 17 when he began his senior football career in 1888 with Unions, renamed Fremantle in 1890, and was a member of flag winning squads in 1888, 1889, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895 and 1896. Fremantle dominated Western Australian football in those days because it was able to sign up classy players from other colonies as they stepped off the ship.
Harry was born at Port Adelaide on 3 April 1871, but came to Fremantle as a child. His father, Captain Thomas Shaw, spent half a century in WA after moving there with his wife Phoebe, née Ramsay. Harry was the third of seven brothers and he had three sisters. An older brother, Arthur, and the younger siblings were born in Fremantle. Three brothers played for Fremantle – Arthur, Harry and Ned, who went on to South Fremantle and West Perth.
Harry most likely was the “H. Shaw of West Australia” who was named among Norwood recruits by The Advertiser of 1 May 1896. He was in Norwood’s senior squad at the start of the season. Though not mentioned in newspaper match reports, he is credited with one goal in Onlooker’s end-of-season review published in The Advertiser on 14 September 1896. He was back playing matches with Fremantle in July that year.
Harry’s visit to Adelaide may well have been related to his marriage to Mary Ann O’Brien in Melbourne in 1896. He returned to Adelaide in 1897 and again was a member of Norwood’s early-season squad. The South Australian Register (but not The Advertiser) named him in the team which thrashed West Torrens 10.12 to nil at Kensington Oval on 8 May. As in 1896, he was back playing with Fremantle in July.
A hotel proprietor, Harry was known for his interest in racehorses. He was a part-owner of Moonlight in the early 1900s and Bondi carried his colours to victory several times in later years. Harry and Mary had a daughter, Mollie Evelyn, born in 1899. Mary was 48 when she died at the Hotel Australia, Fremantle, in 1921. Harry was in ill health for some weeks before his death in Fremantle on 14 April 1935.
P. Robins, G. Wardell-Johnson, D. Cox, G. Adams June 2021