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Harry Powell

Career : 1901 - 1902
Debut : Round 6, 1901 vs Melbourne, aged 22 years, 314 days
Carlton Player No. 111
Games : 8
Goals : 0
Last Game : Round 2, 1902 vs South Melbourne, aged 23 years, 292 days
Height : 170 cm (5 ft. 7 in.)
Weight: 61.3 kg ( 9 stone, 9 lbs.)
DOB : 22 July, 1876


Although he played eight VFL matches, Henry ‘Harry’ Powell was the victim of misfortune in two important facets of his life; his football career at Carlton, and his military service during World War 1. Powell’s time at Princes Park coincided with Carlton’s worst-ever losing streak, which meant that he was denied the joy of victory in any of his eight games for the Blues. Then years later – while on his way to war - he was struck down by a tropical fever, and ended up spending the majority of his army service in hospital.

Powell was born in Malvern in 1876, and by his early twenties was enjoying weekly games of football with one of Melbourne’s many inner-suburban amateur clubs, Fitzroy Crescent. Early in 1901, he found his way to Princes Park, and was selected to play his first game for the struggling Navy Blues in round 6 of that quite miserable season, when Carlton took on Melbourne at the MCG.

Harry lined up on a half-back flank next to his captain, Ernie Walton, and they both saw plenty of the football that afternoon as the Fuchsias won by 15 points. Five more games for five more losses followed, before the ground-breaking appointment of ex-Fitzroy champion Jack Worrall as coach of the Blues in 1902 gave Carlton’s supporters some longed-for hope at last.

Powell played in Worrall’s historic debut match (a 38-point defeat by Geelong at Princes Park in round 1, 1902) and the following week’s ten-goal loss to South Melbourne. He was then either told, or realised himself that there would be very few more opportunities for him at senior level. Somewhat ironically, Carlton snapped their 14-match drought the week after Harry’s last game, with a narrow win over St Kilda at the Junction Oval.

More than a decade later, 39 year-old Harry Powell volunteered for active service at the height of World War 1. He was allocated to a draft of reinforcements for Australia’s iconic Light Horse Brigade, and sailed for the Middle East in March, 1918. But on arrival in Suez in April, he was rushed to hospital with a soaring temperature and a racing heartbeat that had all the signs of malaria.

He was months recovering, and had only returned to duty for a few weeks when he was struck down again – this time by pneumonia. He was still in hospital that second time when the war ended in November 1918, but Harry didn’t finally get back home to Melbourne until a good six months after that.

It’s quite likely that the rigours he suffered during his illness shortened Harry’s life, because he passed away at the very young age of 53 in June, 1930.

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Harry Powell | Powell's Blueseum Image Gallery

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