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Bonnor, George John (1855–1912)

from Sydney Morning Herald

George James Bonnor, the ex-international cricketer, died this afternoon after a brief illness.

G. J. Bonnor was born at Bathurst (New South Wales) on February 25, 1855. Standing 6ft 4½in, he was a fine all-round athlete, and a particularly smart sprinter. Bonnor was contemporary on the running track with the late Charles Rush, at one time 100yds amateur champion of New South Wales.

The deceased, however, was best known as a cricketer, and first came into prominence playing for Victoria against New South Wales.

Bonnor also represented the mother State. He joined Murdoch's Australian team for England in 1880. The "Bathurst Giant" was known as "the hardest hitter in the world," and it was said by the "Critic" that it would have been a nice point to decide between Bonnor and C. I. Thornton as to which really was the hardest "smiter."

During his first tour in England Bonnor only averaged 9.10 in eleven aside matches; and two years later his batting was very uneven.

In 1882 he scored 74 against the Gentlemen of England, 58 against Northamptonshire, 66 against Cambridge University, and 122 against I. Zangari, at Scarborough. Playing with Murdoch's team at Melbourne, 1882-3, Bonnor scored 85 against the Hon. Ivo Bligh's (now Lord Darnley) team, and 87 for Australia against the same combination in February. Bonnor also scored 83 and 54 for Victoria against the English team in Melbourne.

In 1884 Bonnor made 95 not out and 70 for Australia against the Players, at Sheffield. During the same tour the deceased had scores to his credit of 68 against the Players, at the Oval, 53 against Gloucester, 124 for the Non-smokers against Smokers, at Lords. Returning to Australia in 1885 he scored 128 for Australia against England at Sydney.

Three years later, playing against Yorkshire, Bonnor made 94; against the Gentlemen at Lords, 119; 65 against Oxford Past and Present, at Leyton; 73 against an English XI., at Birmingham; 115 against Yorkshire, at Bradford; 78 against Cambridge Past and Present, at Leyton; and 87 against Surrey, at the Oval.

Bonnor was one of the most attractive figures seen on any cricket field in the world. For a man of such gigantic proportions his activity was astounding. As a batsman, perhaps he was seen to better advantage, when he did not attempt the orthodox methods.

On his first voyage to England Bonnor, in the course of conversation, said he could throw a cricket ball 120 yards. The statement immediately caused acute discussion, which terminated in a wager of £100 being made that the giant could not throw the ball 115 yards. When the boat touched Portsmouth the bet was at once decided, and Bonnor won the bet, by easily throwing the ball just under 120 yards.

The deceased was at one time employed by the New South Wales Government. He also resided some time in England after the disbandment of an Australian Eleven.

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Citation details

'Bonnor, George John (1855–1912)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bonnor-george-john-3021/text35554, accessed 12 December 2019.

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