John Clement Windsor
- 353Wallaby Number
Clem Windsor was a sure handling fullback with a reliable and precise boot whose medical career ultimately took precedence over his rugby.
Born in Brisbane, Windsor was educated at St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, a veritable nursery of rugby talent, and despite his talent did not make the school’s 1st XV.
Following his graduation Windsor had one goal - to join the RAAF and become a flying ‘ace’. Unfortunately that aspiration was dashed at the recruiting depot after he failed the hearing test. Nonetheless with medicine in his blood it was no surprise when he enrolled to study Medicine at the University of Queensland. Windsor captained University to a grand final win against Brothers in 1945 and that same year enjoyed an ‘outstanding’ debut for Queensland when they upset New South Wales in the first post-war interstate match.
The following year Windsor chose to focus on his final year of medical studies and as a consequence made himself unavailable for Australia’s tour to New Zealand. In 1947 Brian Piper started at fullback in the opening Test against New Zealand however a ‘brilliant’, ‘greatest game of his career’ display from the ‘mercurial’ Windsor, for Queensland against the tourists, won him a Test debut in Sydney. While Australia were beaten Windsor and Piper were the two custodians chosen for the Third Wallabies tour. Unfortunately for Windsor it was Piper who was preferred in each of the five internationals.
Windsor returned to England at the end of the tour to undertake a postgraduate course in Medicine. He obtained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (London and Edinburgh) and was appointed resident surgical officer at the Leicester General Hospital. Windsor also played rugby for London Irish, Middlesex and Leicester. Some years later Windsor’s brother Harry performed the first heart transplant in Australia (1968) and later trained world famous heart surgeon Dr Victor Chang.
Windsor’s capacity to help others was never more evident than at the Port Arthur massacre on April 28, 1996, when he and his friend Bill Maguire were among the first to enter the Broad Arrow Cafe to tend to the dying and the injured. His experience and skills, gained from a five-month tour of duty with a volunteer surgical team in Vietnam 28 years earlier, allowed him to deal with both the catastrophe and the emotional scarring. Windsor and Maguire were awarded Commendations for Brave Conduct for their actions.
Clem Windsor played one Test for Australia and he will forever be Wallaby #353.
Windsor won his first Test cap at fullback in the 2nd Test, 14-27 loss to New Zealand at the S.C.G.