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Conway, John (Jack) (1842–1909)

The name of Mr. John Conway, whose death at Frankston, Victoria, was announced yesterday, is associated with much that is interesting in the early days of Australian cricket. It was after a notable game on the Melbourne Cricket Ground, when Charles Bannerman made his first big score against English bowling, and an eleven of England was beaten on even terms by an Australian team that the idea of taking a team to England first entered Mr. Conway's mind. He acted promptly on the impulse, and was organiser and manager of the first team to visit England. A good many people held the belief at the moment that it was a foolish enterprise, and that the touring cricketers would have to be assisted home. On the contrary they won matches, made money, and returned to find such a demonstration of public welcome in Sydney Harbour as was never accorded a cricket team before or since.

Mr. Conway, in addition to managing the tour, played in several of the matches, though he was then past the active part of his career as a player, which was a notable one. He was one of 22 Australians who played against Stephenson's English XI in Sydney, and a member of the Victorian XI which afterwards met them in Melbourne. He was the last suvivor of that team. Although he only bowled a few overs in the Sydney match he was the only man on the side who actually hit an English wicket.

Mr. Conway first made his reputation as a cricketer and athlete at the Church of England Grammar School, Melbourne of which he was one of the foundation pupils. After his active career as a cricketer closed, Mr. Conway became a sporting journalist. He was a member of the Australasian staff, and wrote the cricket and football notes for that journal. His successor in that post was "Felix," who was also a member of the first Australian team. Afterwards Mr. Conway spent some years in Sydney on the staff of the Sydney Morning Herald and Sydney Mail. He also acted as manager for some of the professional English teams that visited Australia years ago, and which were chiefly organised by Messrs. Shaw, Lillywhite, and Shrewsbury. He had suffered for some time past from an affection of the heart.

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'Conway, John (Jack) (1842–1909)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/conway-john-jack-15976/text27215, accessed 21 November 2017.

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