John Augustine (Jack) COONAN


Guernsey Number:
Career: 1883
NFC Games:
NFC Goals:

Premierships: 1883
NFC Life Member


Jack Coonan played with Norwood in 1883 - the last of its initial six successive premiership years - and also celebrated a flag with Adelaide in 1886.
Jack, a younger brother of the more famous Dick Coonan, came to Norwood from the junior club North Park.  In his senior debut in August 1883, Jack took part in a 5.17 to 0.2 demolition of South Park, which had beaten Norwood in two previous encounters that season. 'Follower' commented in The South Australian Chronicle: "In the winning team were three new players, J. Coonan, McGrath, and Wilson, who rendered good service, and were a decided improvement on the players whose places they filled."

One of the fastest followers of his day, Jack was a team-mate of Dick at North Park in 1884 and at Adelaide in 1885. One of the Coonans, with team-mate Fred Sharland, caused confusion by wearing red and blue instead of Adelaide's red and black in two matches against Norwood in 1885. They changed their dress at half-time when Norwood protested the first time it happened, but refused to do so on the second occasion.  This led to a directive from the SA Football Association that all players must wear the colours of their club.

Jack Coonan played eight matches for Adelaide in its amazing 1886 premiership year and kicked 10 goals (two against Geelong).

He spent many years in Western Australia, where he had an interest in gold mining, but returned to Adelaide and became publisher of The Mail newspaper.
A pioneer of SA rowing, he was a member of the Adelaide Rowing Club and before that captain and stroke of the Norwood Boating Club.  He was a prominent runner in his day and was a member of the Adelaide Oval Bowling Club for 30 years.

Jack Coonan died at Fitzroy on 3 November 1934 in his 71st year.  He was survived by his widow Mary and daughters Mrs D. Linnett of Mount Barker and Miss Rita Coonan, a well-known singer.

P Robins Dec 2017

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