Claude Henry St Leonard TOOVEY


Guernsey Number: 14, 16
Career: 1919 to 1922
NFC Games: 33
NFC Goals: 3
Debut: v Port Adelaide (Alberton) 16th August 1919
Finale: v West Adelaide (Adelaide) 30th September 1922

Premierships: 1922
Best & Fairest: 1922
VFL/AFL Clubs: Fitzroy


Claude Toovey was a talented and flamboyant character. Born on 24 November 1896, he lied about his age to sign up for World War 1 in 1914 and turned 18 on the ship en route to Gallipoli.  He was wounded, returned to Australia in 1915, and for the rest of the war used his talents as a very popular singer and eccentric comic to entertain troops in Australia.

Before the war he had shown great promise as a footballer with the North Adelaide Cadet team and was involved with the Glenelg Football Club.

In 1919 he became engaged to Mary (later his wife) and shortly afterwards played his first game for Norwood.  Toovey was a dashing wingman with a strong mark and accurate long, low stab pass. He reached the peak of his football career in 1922, the final year of his short stay at Norwood.

Norwood played West Adelaide in the 1922 Grand Final.  Norwood had demonstrated the  power and system of its forward lines throughout the season.  West Adelaide controlled the centre throughout the game, but Norwood attacked through Toovey's wing. Toovey was in magnificent form and proved to be an effective channel through to the forwards.  Norwood won the game, their first premiership since 1907, and Toovey received Norwood’s Best and Fairest award for that year.

He left Norwood to coach Ballarat in 1923 and continued coaching various Victorian country clubs and living, it appears, a very colourful life. In 1927 he played 15 games for the Fitzroy Football Club.

He returned to Adelaide in the 1940’s. His son Douglas won a DFC and Bar as a pilot in World War 2.

Claude Toovey died on 29 January 1978

R Crompton April 2013

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