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Goddard, Walter Henry (Wat) (1848–1919)

by F. B. Corbett

Mr. Wat (W. H.) [Walter Henry] Goddard died a few days back at his home, Nicholson-street, Burwood, aged 71. I knew nothing about his passing till a friend supplied the information on the telephone last Sunday morning. Had Mr. Goddard's death occurred a few years ago it would have been discussed very much throughout local bowlerdom, aye and in other parts of the Commonwealth. Wat Goddard was one of the most genial fellows, and a man whose disposition caused him to look much younger than his years. He was most active till the trouble which resulted in his end appeared, and then there was no hope for him on account of his age. He underwent a serious operation.

Mr. Goddard's name will be found far back in the history of the game in this part of the world. He was one of the few who left Fleay's old Newtown Club to form the now flourishing Victoria Park Club. Often Mr. Goddard used to tell with humor, characteristic of him how, when the Government of the day was approached regarding the granting of a patch of Victoria Park for the purposes of a bowling green, he, in the first instance, strode over the ground required, measuring it with his feet, and how close — within a yard or two — he went to marking out the space needed. Mr. Goddard, together with Messrs. Crispon, Harber, Mick Cordon and Cawley, was appointed to draw up a code of rules for the new club. That was in 1896. The petition presented to the park trustees set out that residents of Darlington and the surrounding districts were desirous of 'making a bowling green under conditions similar to those of the greens in Cook (City Club) and Wentworth Parks.' The latter ceased to exist long since. Mr. Goddard became still more prominent as a member of the City Club. He as hon. treasurer, steered that body through a trying time in its early existence. The financial side was handled with such ability and foresight that all the debentures were paid off in the course of five years, and a substantial sum remained to the club's credit. Mr. Goddard, I might mention, was manager of the Commercial Bank at Newtown for a great number of years till his retirement, and had been in the bank's employ since he was a boy. Major Harry Chapman (still outside this planet, the Fates be thanked) succeeded Mr. Goddard as hon. treasurer, and did equally well. The subject of this brief story was twice elected president of the City Council — for the seasons 1895-95 and 1897-98. He won the championship of his club in 1890-91, and had the honor of being a member of the team which won the City Club's first pennant — in 1895-95: He was one of each of the combinations that brought the same honors home to Cook Park for the second (1898-99), third (1899-1900) and fourth (1901-02) times, and later. Mr. Goddard played with Mr. Arthur Coker's city quartette, who secured the rink championship of the State in 1894-5. All four players are now dead. The two members of this rink not mentioned were, relying upon memory, Messrs. Harry Hughes and D. Nightingale. Mr. Goddard had much to do with the coming into existence of the Burwood Club in 1904. His years of experience and ability as a player assisted that body materially. He gave a trophy for members of the club who had never competed for a prize on a bowling green. This served to discover some very capable bowlers. The winner was Mr. Harry Thorpe, who has since made a great name for himself as a player. Probably Mr. Goddard's last success was in Burwood Club's vice-president's trophy competition. He skippered the winning rink. The other three were Messrs. A. Leech, G. Chalmers and R. Cecil Cape. There never was a more genial or thorough bowler than Mr. Goddard. Old-timers will recall his light hearted manner, his clever quips and stories, also his extreme unselfishness. Peace to the ashes of a really good fellow.

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Citation details

F. B. Corbett, 'Goddard, Walter Henry (Wat) (1848–1919)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/goddard-walter-henry-wat-25340/text33751, accessed 18 April 2019.

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