Edward Herbert Farmer
- 107Wallaby Number
‘Brickey’ Farmer proved that he was one of the best loose forwards in Australia in his time by winning Test selection against the All Blacks from Mt Morgan in central Queensland. Edward Herbert Farmer was born in 1890 in London and came to Australia in 1892. Big and strong, he developed his muscles as a miner in Mt Morgan and, along with Tom ‘Rusty’ Richards, made the Queensland Country team in 1908 that thrashed Brisbane 16-3. When New South Wales visited Brisbane that year, Farmer was selected at No. 8 to form one of Queensland’s strongest back rows along with Richards and Peter Flanagan.
By the end of the series, Richards and Flanagan had been chosen for the Wallabies and therefore missed the matches against the Anglo-Welsh team that arrived just in time to farewell the Wallabies. Farmer was unable to get away from Mt Morgan for the matches against the tourists but he had established himself as a first choice loose forward for Queensland in his initial season. In 1909, Farmer played all four interstate matches in a very weak Queensland team that met a confident New South Wales team chock full of Wallabies. Despite his team’s failures, he played outstanding football and was at the height of his powers. Farmer moved to the side of the scrum, tackling with devastating effect. At the end of the 1909 season, 14 Wallabies defected to rugby league. In order to retain public interest, the authorities invited the All Black and Maori teams to tour Australia and this gave Farmer a stage to strut his wares. In June, he played for Queensland against the Maori and a week later the first of two matches against the All Blacks.
After splendid displays in these three matches played in 11 days, Farmer was chosen for the First Test against the All Blacks three days later. Unfortunately, he suffered a bad knee injury that ruled him out of the remaining Test matches as well as the complete interstate series. Fit again the following year, Farmer was unable to obtain leave from Mt Morgan for the interstate matches in Brisbane but had the satisfaction of leading Central Queensland to a sensational 9-6 win after New South Wales had just beaten Queensland 18-12. Farmer, Bill Marston and Fred Pill were outstanding for the locals but it was five-eighth Tucker’s brilliant performance that clinched the historic win. Available again for the southern tour, Farmer capped his career by leading Queensland on the southern tour. Work and family commitments would permit no further representative football. In all, Farmer played 13 matches for Queensland and scored two tries, although he narrowly missed a third in his last match for Queensland when he dropped the ball over the line. Brickey Farmer will be remembered as the Mt Morgan miner who defied the city bias against country players to become one of the best loose forwards of his era.