John, Clegg and Paddy

I was fascinated to read John Carmody’s account of War and Brotherhood in The Australian on 23 April.

He wrote about two remarkable men, Clegg Kelly and Paddy Moran and their paths to Gallipoli.

John notes that:

The men never met — other aspects of their lives made that unlikely — but their stories are endlessly fascinating and, when set side by side, have much to tell us about their times.

He adds that:

They were born in Sydney within a few years of each other, were astonishingly accomplished sportsmen — Moran captained the first Wallabies team to tour Britain — and were highly creative personalities. Kelly played the piano superbly, composed music and was a vivid diarist; Moran wrote a book, Viewless Winds, about his war experiences. In very different ways, both found themselves at the 1908 Olympics in London.

It was a treat to hear John Carmody discuss this story at length with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live a few days after John’s account appeared in The Australian. As Phillip Adams points out this is a story that trumps Chariots of Fire.

Clegg was educated at Sydney Grammar School, Eton and Oxford. He was “an accomplished pianist and a brilliant oarsman” and won the renowned Diamond Sculls at Henley in 1902, 1903 and 1905. His time in 1905 stood as a record until 1938.

Paddy was educated at Darlington Public School,  St Aloysius’ College and, St Joseph’s. He studied medicine at Sydney University, graduating in 1907 and later acquiring a master’s degree in surgery. He played virtually no football at school “and began seriously only when he was shamed into it for being “slack” when a third-year medical student.” Within a few years he was captain of the first Wallabies team to tour Britain.

Clegg and Paddy competed at the 1908 Olympic Games. Both of them fought at Gallipoli … and survived. Clegg was wounded there and was awarded the DSC.

John reports that:

Kelly was repatriated to Alexandria where, during his recuperation, he completed a beautiful piece for string orchestra, Elegy: In Memoriam Rupert Brooke, which he had begun during the fighting. By March 1916 he was back in London on leave but was serving in France in May. He was still revising that Elegy when he was killed at the very end of the Somme campaign in France on November 13, 1916. Moran returned to Britain after six months in the Dardanelles and was promptly posted to Mesopotamia. He survived the war and had a distinguished career in Sydney as a surgeon and pioneer cancer radiotherapist only to succumb to melanoma in England in 1945 after service throughout World War II as a lieutenant-colonel.

In 2011 Clegg’s music will be played at the Canberra Music Festival. This post on the Festival website provides much more detail about his musical career. His Elegy for String Orchestra was composed in memory of Rupert Brooke, his close friend and fellow naval officer, who died in Kelly’s presence on the island of Skyros in 1915. (BBC Radio 3 played the Elegy immediately after the coverage of the 2010 Remembrance Service in London.) John Carmody (1983) has written Clegg’s biographical entry in The Australian Dictionary of Biography. Clegg’s papers are held at the National Library of Australia and they include his diaries from 1906 to 1916.

G P Walsh (1986) has written Paddy Moran’s entry in The Australian Dictionary of Biography. The entry observes that “Moran had a notable surgical career; his great interest lay in cancer research and the then new use of gamma irradiation through the medium of metallic radium. In this he was far ahead of his time and he travelled widely, published in journals and studied and lectured in many parts of the world.” This is a reference to the Herbert Moran Memorial Lectures.

John Carmody holds Paddy’s literary works in high esteem. These works include Viewless Winds (London, 1939), Beyond the Hill Lies China (Sydney, 1945) and In My Fashion (London, 1946).

The Late Night Live discussion of Clegg and Paddy’s lives is a wonderful exploration of a social world of connections forged by two remarkable people. Listening to the interview and reading the article so close to the ANZAC Day was a particularly powerful and memorable experience for me.

Photo Credits

Awaiting Orders

Man in a Rowing Boat


In discussing this post with Bruce Coe he alerted me to Race against time: the diaries of F.S. Kelly By Frederick Septimus Kelly written by Thérèse Radic, and published by the National Library of Australia (2004). (There is a review of this book by Neville Cohn.)

Bruce has pointed out too that Paddy Moran did not play in the Olympic match (there was one match in the Tournament) due to injury.

Engines Started: Responses to David Crawford's Review of Australian Sport

The publication of the Independent Panel’s Review of Australian Sport has stimulated enormous discussion. Yesterday I linked to the publication of the report. This post looks at some of the responses in the last twenty-four hours.

This was the Google News graphic at 7.00 p.m. EST on 19 November.

John Coates argued the case for funding Olympic sports in an article in The Australian. This was a report of his initial response to the Crawford Report and this an ABC report of his response (the ABC report includes video and audio items). The Australian Olympic Committee has appointed a study group to examine the Crawford Report.

Sally Robbins argues strongly for Olympic funding. The Canberra Times cites Cadel Evans, Anna Mears an Ken Wallace as supporters of Government funding for Olympic sports. This is an article in The Age expressing Cycling Australia’s concerns. This ABC post notes Archery Australia’s concerns. Wally Mason observes that “Clearly federal funding does not come out of a bottomless pit and every Olympic medal comes at a cost. It is a cost most of us are prepared to pay.” Andrew Southcott‘s response to the Report indicates that a Top 10 Olympics’ finish is not good enough.

Simon Crean was reported as observing that Australia’s sporting success was “a fundamental part of the Australian brand”. Jacquelin Magnay discussed the Report’s recommendation about the format of the Australian Sports Commission’s Board. In an earlier article she argued that the “sport panel has totally misread the nation’s love of the Olympics and the pride of beating bigger countries on the international stage.” Her first article summarises the Report’s main recommendations. This a video segment from athletes supporting funding for elite sport. This ABC post explores the ‘contentious nature’ of the Report. This ABC post reports the publication of the Crawford Report. This is the Canberra Times’ report of the publication under the headline ‘A sporting nation divided’.

Nicole Jeffrey notes that not all of the Crawford Report have been challenged. She notes that the Olympic sports have welcomed the recommendation that “the national sports federations should have primary responsibility for development of their own high-performance programs”. The sports have welcome statements about physical education in the national curriculum and the provision of funds to build sporting facilities. An ABC post noted that ‘Big Codes welcome Crawford Report‘. John Alexander argues that the “key to our health care costs which are crippling is preventative medicine in the form of physical activity. Australia needs a renaissance of our lost culture of the fun and exhilaration we enjoyed through active participation in sports.” Mike Hurst notes the importance of fitness in schools.

An editorial in The Age suggests that:

Australians will celebrate any gold medal won in 2012, even if it is in a sport they never think of between Olympics and even if it is won by someone they have not previously heard of and might never hear of again. Nor can anyone begrudge individual athletes their success. But, as the report notes, the present system funds such success at the rate of $15 million per gold medal. The nation’s self-esteem is surely neither so low nor so brittle as to require this level of investment, and it is money that in some instances could be more wisely spent. A shift to funding high-participation sports at grassroots levels might not result in the same surge of collective euphoria every four years, but it would contribute in a more sustained fashion to national wellbeing.

In the same paper, Greg Baum posits “Here is the nub. The Crawford report implies what we will say outright, that it would be poor reflection of our maturity as a nation if we continued to live and die exclusively by our Olympic medal tally.”

Richard Hinds argues that the AOC gravy train plan doesn’t have wheels. He concludes that when the Federal cabinet meets to discuss the response to the Report “In their hands will be a document that has the potential to prompt much- needed change in the impact sports funding has on the everyday lives of Australians – not just for those 16 chest-beating days every four years.” In an earlier article Richard Hinds observes that “It remains to be seen if the Crawford Report will be successful in its laudable intentions: to ensure government spending leads to increased grassroots participation, greater inclusiveness, the restoration of physical education in schools, a positive impact on public health and to improve and empower poorly administered sports.” Dan Silkstone explores the Report’s focus on participation sports and in another article discusses the gold medal stoush.

Ruth Brown, Charlie Happell and Trevor Cook provided a Crikey view of the Crawford report.

There have been some interesting comments in response to web based articles. As of 7.30 p.m. (EST) on 19 November, for example, there were 25 comments on John Coates’ article. One of these poses a question about the impact of investment in elite sport: “Has the advent of the funding of elite sport in Australia improved the health of young Australians over what it would have been without this funding? If so, it is money well spent. If not, then monies should be focused on participation rather than excellence. Before 100 million is given, this should be answered unemotionally and convincingly.”


Some links from 20 November via Peter Logue: a Sydney Morning Herald post by Malcolm Maiden and an interview with David Crawford on Radio National.

Australia Talks (Radio National) discussed the Crawford report 19 November