Ernest Joseph Dixon
- 58Wallaby Number
Born in 1885, Joe Dixon was unrelated to the much older Les Dixon, known as “Bluey”, a contemporary of Bob McCowan and Poley Evans. Joe Dixon entered the Brisbane Grammar School in 1899 and was only 19 –years- old when he commenced playing senior football for the South Brisbane club in 1904 as a prop forward. Phil Carmichael was also playing for Souths but as a three-quarter. It was not until the following year that Carmichael was drafted into the fullback position. In a big year when Bedell-Sivright’s British team was touring Australasia, Dixon showed impressive early form and had a lucky break when Allen (“Butcher”) Oxlade was suspended for kicking Fred Cleeve in a club match. The selectors moved “Edgie” Dore to hooker in Oxlade’s place and introduced Dixon into the front row with Frank Nicholson, firstly in a State trial match, and then in the Queensland team that travelled to Sydney to take on New South Wales. Dixon played in both matches, which proved tight affairs. Queensland won the return match 11-7 and, after the inglorious displays by New South Wales against the tourists, seven Queenslanders were included in the Australian Test team. While the Test was being played, Dixon returned home and played for Brisbane against Country, when Jack Meibusch and George Holmes were his opposing props.
When the British team arrived to play Queensland, Dixon retained his place. With Frank Nicholson unavailable, Rockhampton’s George Holmes replaced him and formed the front row with Dixon and Dore. Queensland was badly beaten 24 points to nil. In the midweek fixture against Brisbane, Dixon was partnered in the front row with Voy Oxenham and Oxlade. This team put up a creditable performance, going down 17-3 after trailing 7-3 at halftime. Oxenham and Oxlade were retained for the return match against the tourists but Dixon had taken a pummelling in his two matches and was replaced by Holmes. Queensland’s fine performance in challenging the British to come from behind to win 18-7 earned Test caps for seven Queenslanders. However, any hopes Australia had of winning, disappeared when Alec Burdon broke his collarbone. There was a strange situation after the match. At the time, there were six Australian selectors – three from each State. Unfortunately, Jim Henderson, one of the New South Wales selectors, returned to Sydney before the team for the third Test match was chosen in Brisbane, leaving Queensland with a 3-2 majority and they named eight Queenslanders in the team. Dixon and Jack Meibusch replaced Oxenham and the injured Burdon in the front row. For Dixon, it capped off a meteoric rise – to have played for Queensland and Australia in his first season of senior football.
Nevertheless, there was no fairy tale ending for him and Australia lost 16-0. Next season, Dixon continued with Souths who now boasted three internationals – Dixon, Phil Carmichael and Doug McLean - and was again chosen for Queensland in both games in Brisbane. The Australian team to tour New Zealand was selected after the Brisbane matches. Although Dixon acquitted himself well, the selectors elected to choose only three regular front rowers in Burdon, Oxlade and Jimmy Clarken. This necessitated all three forming the front row in every tour match save for the third match in Christchurch when Clarken rested and Ben Lucas played prop. For Joe Dixon, the Brisbane matches signalled the end of his representative career and he elected to pursue his profession as a schoolmaster. He died in 1944.