Fred Thatcher (senior) and the Thatcher Family
Fred and his wife moved to Tunstall from Bacchus Marsh in 1927. Fred was 47 at the time and he had already played a full career of cricket. In his earlier years he played in a country league with Bill Woodfull. The family moved into the gatehouse adjoining the Tunstall Railway Station where Fred worked on the line and his wife operated the gates, opening and shutting them as the trains rolled through.
Fred called the inaugural meeting of Tunstall Cricket Club in 1927 and Tunstall first played in season 1927-28.
Fred played in the first ever premiership team, the C Grade team of 1931-32. It was about this time that Fred Thatcher junior made his debut at Nunawading. Fred junior, whose pastimes included playing the squeezebox, was described by Ted Aumann as the best batsman he had seen after Don Bradman and he made the first ever Tunstall/Nunawading century, which was made on the Silver Grove ground. Fred scored 101 for Tunstall in B Grade against Eastern Dairies on November 4, 1934. Gary Walker says that his father, Life Member Arthur, offered that Fred Junior was the best batsman he had ever seen.
He opened the batting for the Club as well as for the Association in representative games and won the Association A Grade batting average in 1936. He was the Club’s wicketkeeper as well.
The Club used Woodfull bats and the distributors offered players who made a century a new Woodfull bat which Fred was duly awarded. He was also an excellent wicket-keeper, standing up to fast bowlers. At the insistence of his wife, young Fred concentrated on tennis soon after and, although he did play for Nunawading after the war, he had lost his pre-war passion for the game.
Fred Junior moved to East Burwood for a time where incentives were offered by Jim Tainton (who was from one of the district’s pioneering families) offered players 5 shillings if they made 50 runs. This was a considerable sum and Fred made five 50’s in a row. Fred was a powerful batsman who would sometimes be seen square cutting the ball over the boundary for 6. He also played a game at Melbourne with Bill Ponsford and was once awarded a bat in recognition of his scoring that was signed by Don Bradman and Bill Woodfull.
Fred Senior had two more sons, Bob who captained the 53-54 D grade premiership team and George who first played for Tunstall in 1936. Bob and George played in a game against Box Hill Footballers. Footballers need to win outright to make the finals and Nunawading only had 8 players. We were dismissed for 60 and Footballers made over 200 on Day 1. Nuna had to bat out day two to avoid the outright. George batted all day for 22 n.o. denying the outright and a spot in the finals to the Footballers. Joe Kiker, who went on to play many games for Nunawading, was playing for the Footballers and, as an opening bowler, threatened to throw the ball at George in order to get him out.
Fred Senior played his last game for Tunstall in 36-37 at age 55 and only stopped playing because his legs gave him trouble. He made a 50 in this game. Fred died in 1966 at the age of 86.
George was awarded Life Membership in 1956 and Fred Senior in 1957. George was presented his medallion in his home by President Ted Aumann and Junior Vice President Tom Reeves.
The Thatcher family are the first known Nunawading Cricket Club family. It is with the significant contributions from people such as the Thatcher family that the club grew to a position of strength.