Friday 1 November 2013

The One-Legged Tennis Player

The library was  recently made aware of a remarkable photograph of a local man playing in a tennis tournament in 1935... using one leg! The man was Fred Morgan from Campbelltown. The tennis tournament was the Lawn Tennis Country Carnival at Rushcutter's Bay.

Fred would play using a crutch which he used under his left armpit. When serving he discarded the crutch altogether. The newspaper reports described his poise as "superb, and he possessed a service which many players would envy. He hops into the court after his delivery, and effects many fine half-volleys and volleys. Needless to say, his balance is materially affected when his crutch is discarded, and this interferes with his volleying". Apparently his strength was his forehand drive.

Fred Morgan was the son of George and Amy Morgan. It was this family that Morgan's Gate was named after (see an earlier blog post on Morgan's Gate). Not much is known about the rest of Fred's life other than he was born in 1910 in Campbelltown, lived in Chamberlain Street and later moved to Manly where he died in 1952 at the young age of 42. In 1936, he was listed as a hairdresser in Campbelltown.

Thank you to Michael Veness for alerting us to the photograph.

Photograph is from the State Library of New South Wales picture collection.

Written by Andrew Allen

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