John Armstrong Hindmarsh
- 48Wallaby Number
Jack Hindmarsh was a fine winger who appeared out of position as a centre in his sole Test match against the star-studded British backline full of those “Welsh Wizards”, Teddy Morgan, Rhys Gabe and Willie Llewellyn, in the first Test in 1904. Originally from Queensland, where he attended Scots College, Hindmarsh came to notice playing for Newtown in the Sydney Junior competition in 1899. At the end of the year, he left Sydney for Rockhampton in Queensland, then moved to Brisbane and linked up with the great Lonnie Spragg who had also moved north after his sterling performances in each of the four Tests played against the Reverend Mullineaux’s team.
Both Hindmarsh and Spragg joined the City club that boasted no fewer than five other internationals in ‘Doeey’ Tanner, Alec Henry, ‘Paddy’ Carew, Tom Ward and ‘Ginger’ Colton. Naturally, the City team won the premiership that year. Hindmarsh’s superb form brought him to the attention of the State selector, Fred Lea, and Hindmarsh accompanied the team to Sydney. In the opening match, Hindmarsh had an exciting debut on the wing. He seemed certain to score in the first half and it took a magnificent covering tackle by Charlie White who came from the other wing to stop him. Queensland enjoyed a 5-3 lead at halftime and this soon stretched to 10-3 after Hindmarsh scored a sensational try that shocked the SCG faithful.
The New South Wales backs began a movement only for Hindmarsh to take the ball from Harry Blaney’s grasp and evade Kelly’s tackle to score between the posts. Although Queensland eventually lost 11-10, it was an encouraging first representative match for Hindmarsh. For the mid-week game against the Metropolitan Union, Hindmarsh moved to centre to allow Doug McLean a run. The return interstate match was played in a quagmire. With Queensland trailing by 11-4, several exciting dashes by McLean and Hindmarsh promised a score. Finally, Hindmarsh accepted the final pass from Spragg at the end of a sweeping movement to score. Spragg’s conversion left the scores at 11-9 to New South Wales at the end.
So Hindmarsh’s first matches for Queensland brought two tries and several exciting runs. He held his place in the Brisbane matches, both of which were won by Queensland – 8-0 and 20-0. Hindmarsh then dropped out of representative football for a number of years. In 1901, he withdrew from the Brisbane team to meet Rockhampton that visited Brisbane. In 1903, Hindmarsh returned to play for North Brisbane with George Watson, Mickey Dore and the fullback, Bertie St John, a versatile sportsman who played with only one arm. Finally, in 1904, Hindmarsh was available for representative rugby again, played well in the State trial and made the southern tour with Queensland, who narrowly lost the opening game by 8 points to 6.
In the return encounter, Hindmarsh scored a try that gave Queensland a win by 11 points to six. After Bedell-Sivright’s British tourists disposed of New South Wales in emphatic fashion in both matches, the Australian selectors had little choice but to include seven Queenslanders. Hindmarsh was delighted to be selected for his first Test match but somewhat dismayed to find he was named at centre to mark the brilliant Rhys Gabe. After the Australian forwards seemed to get on top of their opponents, Charlie White was badly injured in the 17th minute. There was no way that the Australians could expect to hold the visitors with one man short for three-quarters of the game and Australia lost by 17 points to nil. In Brisbane, Hindmarsh played for Queensland in the first match against the tourists and then left shortly after to set up a business in Sydney and missed the rest of the Series.
Even the wanderer, Hindmarsh returned to Brisbane and played for North Brisbane in the 1905 and 1906 seasons. At this stage, he was slowing up and was in the centres with George Watson for his club. Hindmarsh dropped out of football after that and was definitely not one of the early players to switch to rugby league, as suggested by some sporting writers.