Bill Albress

Bill Albress

Date of Birth: 13 October 1897
Height: 180 cm ( 5-11 )
Weight: 83 kg ( 13-0 )
Debut: 21/07/1917 , Round 11 , Collingwood
Last Game: 8/6/1918 , Round 5 , Geelong

Seasons: 1917-18
Total Games: 8
Total Goals: 6

Total Games:
Total Goals:


Born in Tootgarook, he was of Cape Verde descent (an archipelago of the coast of Africa) his father Anton was a labourer and a noted pioneer in the Mornington Peninsula and the family (mother Maria) lived at one stage at 28 Tanner Street Richmond. William was one of ten children.

William played on the forward line in his debut against Collingwood in Rd 11 1917 and kicked two goals, both place kicks. He is a heft young fellow and, properly coached, will reach to higher things.

After his second game it was written that Bill had the makings of a smart and nippy forward

He spent most of his working life as a wharf labourer.

Professor Robert Pascoe wrote about Bill Albress in a speech on April 24, 2009 on “Australian football and disputes over the Anzac legend”, a talk given in Richmond.

''I spent my adolescence a few streets south of here, within earshot of the roar of the MCG crowd.
One of my domestic jobs was to carry the slops of an elderly man, a retired waterside worker of West Indian* descent, down to the backyard privy behind the mulberry tree.

I can still remember the press of his chocolate-skinned hand as he gave me a two shilling coin as a
thank-you. When he died I was bequeathed his upstairs bedroom. His name was Billy Albress.
He played eight senior games in the last two years of the war, 1917 and 1918. Only Richmond and three other clubs, Carlton, Collingwood and Fitzroy, played on during the war.

Billy Albress was a typical Richmond player. He was born locally*, but of distinctly non-white background, and sport was his only means of earning some social mobility. He remained a waterside worker his entire life*, and died in his late sixties.
He was “a Richmond six footer” (to borrow a phrase from Victoria Park), standing just five foot eleven inches, wiry and athletic. His brothers and sisters lived locally also, and he was part of a tight
kinship group, he is described in the genealogical records as a “labourer.''

(*Note- William wasn't from West India but rather Cape Verde. His birth registration
states he was born at Tootgarook.)

Lennox Juniors 1914 ; South Richmond 1915 ; Richmond Districts 1916-17
Richmond Juniors 1917

Prahran 1919 ; Port Melbourne 1920 ; Castlemaine 1921 , Games 10 ; Minyip 1924 , Games 8

Further reading:
Family research thread here.

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