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Bill Downie

Career : 1927
Debut : Round 13, 1927 vs Fitzroy, aged 23 years, 110 days
Carlton Player No. 443
Games : 2
Goals : 0
Guernsey No. 4
Last Game: Round 14, 1927 vs Essendon, aged 23 years, 117 days
Height : 173 cm (5 ft. 8 in.)
Weight : 76 kg (12 stone, 4 lbs.)
DOB : April 3, 1904

In the period between 1927 and 1933, two young men named Bill Downie played VFL football – one with Carlton, and the other with Footscray and St Kilda. ‘Our’ Bill Downie was Thomas William Downie, who was recruited from local side Carlton District and wore guernsey number 4 as a follower-defender in rounds 13 and 14, 1927.

Bill’s debut match against Fitzroy ended in a thrilling six-point win at Princes Park. The following Saturday there was great joy when Carlton knocked over Essendon by 8 points at Windy Hill, to record the Blues’ first win at the Bombers’ new home. After that however, Downie played the rest of the season with the Reserves, and moved on at the end of the year.

In 1927 Carlton went to Sydney to play Geelong and a NSW representative team. Bill was included in the 28 man squad. The Sydney Football Record August 13th included a photo of the entire Carlton squad, and had this to say about Bill.
"No.4, W. DOWNIE: A local junior, and his first season of league football. He is a determined strong player at half back. He is a good mark and kick.
Height 5ft. 9ins weighs,. 11st. 9lb."

Sadly, Bill was fatally injured in a workplace accident on the 26th November, 1952, at the age of 48.

The other Bill Downie was a tough and determined ruckman who, after 69 games with Footscray and St Kilda, joined Northcote in the VFA and became one of the Brickfielders’ all-time greats. He was Northcote’s leading goal-kicker in 1936, and starred in their Grand Final victory over Prahran - before topping-off a dominant season by being named the joint winner (with Williamstown’s Arthur Cutting) of the competition’s Best and Fairest award; the Recorder Cup.

His life, too, ended in tragic circumstances. As a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, he was summarily executed for insubordination to an officer.

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Bill Downie | Downie's Blueseum Image Gallery

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