Big Bill ‘Humpy’ Slattery was one that got away. After one game with Norwood in 1908, he slipped over to West Adelaide where he celebrated two premierships, a Championship of Australia and state selection.
Born at Kapunda on 12 January 1880 to William Slattery and his wife Johanna, née Murphy, Bill had four brothers and three sisters. The family moved to Waterloo in 1890. Bill developed into a champion country footballer and athlete after he and his brother Dan returned from Christian Brothers’ College in Adelaide around the turn of the century.
Bill was an experienced Manoora captain in 1908 when he made his league debut with Norwood against West Torrens. Inaccuracy plagued both sides, but Bill’s clever snapshot goal earned plaudits as Norwood ran out the winner, 5.10 to 2.14.
In 1909 there was a report that Bill would move to West Adelaide but, according to The Express and Telegraph of 1 May, “it was found that he was not eligible to play for that club. It is now decided that both he and his brother Dan will wear the red-and-blue for Norwood. In all probability they will not play the first few games, but will be pressed into service later on”.
That did not happen. In 1910 both brothers joined West Adelaide, where Bill played 51 games and kicked 11 goals in four seasons. Dan played just three league games.
Bill was a talented ruckman/follower who helped West win premierships in 1911 and 1912. In 1911 West went on to defeat Essendon 8.9 to 7.12 for the Championship of Australia, Bill kicking a decisive goal. In 1913 Bill was named in the best players as South Australia came back strongly against Victoria at Adelaide Oval before losing by 12 points, 10.9 to 7.15.
Bill and Dan Slattery were the best players for Manoora when it won the Mid-North premiership by defeating Clare 6.11 to 3.3 in 1911. Bill also was a member of the 1904 Manoora premiership team. He played for Manoora from 1903 to 1921 and was captain from 1905-07 and in 1912. He captained the Mid-North association in 1912.
Bill, a farmer and worthy citizen, was a resident of Waterloo for 63 years. He married Katherine Horgan at Norwood in 1913 and they had five children, William, Thomas, Joseph, Mother M. Carmel and Sister Frances Slattery. A justice of the peace, Bill represented Waterloo Ward in the Saddleworth Council, and was chairman of the Waterloo Soldiers’ Memorial Committee, a committee member of the local Fathers’ Association and chairman of the Waterloo Patriotic Sports.
Predeceased by his wife, Bill Slattery died at Riverton on 18 September 1953 and is buried at the Manoora Catholic Cemetery.
P. Robins, A. Griffin, D. Cox March 2020