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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Trott, George Henry Stevens (1866–1917)

by Peter Pierce

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

This is a shared entry with Albert Edwin Trott

George Henry Stevens Trott (1866-1917), by unknown photographer, 1895

George Henry Stevens Trott (1866-1917), by unknown photographer, 1895

La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria, IAN01/04/95/13

George Henry Stevens Trott (1866-1917) and Albert Edwin Trott (1873-1914), cricketers, were born on 5 August 1866 and 6 February 1873 at Collingwood, Melbourne, sons of Adolphus Henry Trott, West Indies-born accountant, and his English wife Mary Ann, née Stephens. Both boys began with the local Capulet junior club.

Harry, a postman, first played for Victoria in 1885-86 and captained his colony intermittently from the mid-1890s. An elegant right-hand batsman, a useful leg-break bowler and a fine fieldsman at point, he was selected for Australia's tours of England in 1888, 1890 and 1893. The brothers first played together for Australia in the Adelaide Test of the 1894-95 series when Albert made a remarkable début: twice not out (38 and 72), he took 8 wickets for 43 runs in the second innings and 'hounded England to abject defeat'. In his three Tests for Australia he averaged 102.5 runs.

Soon the brothers' careers diverged. Harry captained the 1896 team to England and presided over such a renaissance of Australia's cricketing fortunes that the home Tests of 1897-98 would see a four-to-one triumph. Albert had been perplexingly omitted from the 1896 tour, but sailed in the same ship as his brother to further his career in England. While Harry made his highest Test score of 143 at Lord's, Albert had begun work with its ground staff as he waited to qualify for Middlesex.

'Alberto's' county career began in 1898. At once he blossomed as an all-rounder. In 1899 he made 1175 runs and took 239 wickets; next year he again completed the double with 1337 runs and 211 wickets. He bowled with a low delivery, imparting vigorous spin, but commanded a fine variety of pace, including a quick yorker. Jack Pollard wrote that his batting was 'sprinkled with blows that remain part of cricket legend'. Albert is the only man known to have hit a ball over the pavilion at Lord's, a feat accomplished in 1899 off the bowling of M. A. Noble. Albert developed a taste for slogging, to the detriment of his batsmanship. In two Tests for England (1898-99) in South Africa he made 23 runs at 5.75 and took 17 wickets at 11.64. Although his county career declined as he put on weight, he had one great bowling spell left: in his benefit game in 1907 he destroyed Somerset's second innings with four wickets in four balls and then took another hat-trick, an unprecedented feat which shortened the match and, in his words, bowled him 'into the workhouse'.

Retiring as a county player in 1910, Albert became an umpire. A tall, heavily-moustached man with huge hands, he had earlier been a convivial spirit. Melancholic and suffering from dropsy, he shot himself in his lodgings in north-west London on 30 July 1914, leaving his landlady £4 and his wardrobe.

The career of the imperturbable, good-humoured Harry was less spectacular, but few Australian captains have been better liked and respected. He played twenty-four Tests, scoring 921 runs at 21.92 and taking 29 wickets. After the 1897-98 victories he suffered a breakdown and was committed to a mental institution. When he recovered he played for Victoria until 1907. He died of Hodgkin's disease at his Albert Park home on 9 November 1917 and was buried in Brighton cemetery. His wife Violet Priscilla, née Hodson, whom he had married at Fitzroy on 17 February 1890, and their son survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • A. G. Moyes, Australian Cricket (Syd, 1959)
  • C. Martin-Jenkins, The Complete Who's Who of Test Cricketers (Adel, 1980)
  • J. Pollard, Australian Cricket (Syd, 1982)
  • Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1915, 1918
  • Australasian, 8 Aug 1914, 17 Nov 1917.

Citation details

Peter Pierce, 'Trott, George Henry Stevens (1866–1917)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 25 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2020

George Henry Stevens Trott (1866-1917), by unknown photographer, 1895

George Henry Stevens Trott (1866-1917), by unknown photographer, 1895

La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria, IAN01/04/95/13