Career : 1897
Debut and Only Game : Round 2, 1897 vs South Melbourne, aged 16 years, 321 days
Carlton Player No. 22
Goals : 0
Height : ?
Weight : ?
DOB : June 28, 1880
When Harry Gyles played his first and only game for Carlton against South Melbourne in round 2, 1897, he set a record that endured for more than 30 years. At 16 years, 321 days old, he was the youngest player to wear the navy blue until Ted Pollock (16 years, 200 days) made his debut in round 9, 1930.
Born in Carlton, Gyles had joined the Blues in 1896 from Richmond Juniors. It was Carlton’s last season in the VFA, prior to the formation of the breakaway VFL. But when the new competition got underway, Harry had to wait for his opportunity until round 2, when he was included in Carlton’s four-man following division for the match against the Bloods at the Lake Oval.
On that Saturday afternoon, Carlton came from 25 points down at three-quarter time, to be beaten by 4 points in one of their better performances of the season. Gyles was rarely sighted however, and was omitted for the following week.
Harry never did make it back into Carlton’s seniors. He moved on at the end of that year, and little was known of his life from that point on, apart from the fact that he passed away on the 2nd February, 1959, aged 79. Until, in January 2012, a fascinating story on Gyles life was made on the Carlton website... and reproduced below for the Blueseum. It tells the story of a remarkable man.
FootnoteThere was a player named Giles who was named in most team squads in 1895-1896. Carlton played Fitzroy on June 22 1895. For this game, Gyles was named in the team by two different newspapers. Most likely this was a spelling mistake on the team sheet and was actually Giles.
If it had been Harry Gyles he would have been only 14 years & 359 days old.
However, new information as of September 2016;
H. Gyles ex Hawthorn and Richmond Juniors played 14 games in 1895 and 1 game for the Blues in 1896. (Origins of Australian Football Vol 4)
LinksArticles: Gyles: Carlton and Community
Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Harry Gyles | Pre VFL Players | Gyles' Blueseum Image Gallery