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Edward James (Ned) Gregory (1839–1899)

from Sydney Morning Herald

There passed away on Saturday the highly-esteemed Mr. Edward James Gregory, at the age of 59, the eldest of the most noted family in the annals of Australasian cricket. Deceased was most prominently associated with cricket here in the early sixties, and for ten years he was a leading player. Like his brothers and sons, he won renown for his batting prowess. Mr. Gregory did much long before the advent of Spofforth, Blackham, the Bannermans, Murdoch, and other famous cricketers, to raise the standard of the game here, and his sportsmanlike manner won for him the esteem of all players, and a host of those who watched his attractive play. He supervised the formation of the Sydney Cricket Ground, having 200 men engaged to lay it out, and he has since had charge of the grounds, and resided there. Eighteen months ago the dread discovery was made that he was suffering from cancer in the throat, and it became apparent that a fatal result was inevitable. At 4.20 a.m. on Saturday he succumbed, being attended by his aged mother, aged 83 (who walked a considerable distance shortly before when summoned), his wife, two daughters, and his son Charles. Another son, Sydney, is with the Australian team nearing England. Two other daughters (Mrs. H. Donnan and Mrs. Varley) and five brothers survive him. The deceased, who had been unable to talk for nine months regained the power of speech just before he died, and said "Good-bye, I'm going," to those surrounding him. On account of the demise the two premiership matches which were to have been resumed at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday, were not gone on with. The players in the Burwood v. Waverley game (second) wore badges as a mark of respect to the deceased. The funeral took place at the Waverley Cemetery yesterday afternoon, and was attended by an immense concourse of persons representing almost all shades of the community. The great esteem in which the deceased was held by all classes was abundantly evident from the gathering that assembled to pay their last tribute of respect to his memory. The line of route from the Sydney Cricket Ground to St. Michael's Church, Surry Hills, whither the coffin was borne, was lined with spectators, in addition to the very large numbers that formed the funeral procession. The flag at the Cricket Ground was flying at half-mast to mark the occasion. Intercolonial telegrams of sympathy with the family, in addition to the large number of handsome wreaths that were forwarded, showed the widespread feeling of regret that was felt. The principal mourners present were Mrs. Gregory (mother), Mr. Charles Gregory (son), Messrs. D. Gregory, C. Gregory, Albert Gregory, Arthur H. Gregory (brothers), Messrs J. Varley and H. Donnan (brothers-in-law), Messrs. Harold Gregory, E. W. Gregory, O. Gregory, W. Gregory, B. Gregory (nephews), and Messrs F. Meagher, A. Baum, E. Kirk, Craven, G. Newton, and E. McLeod. Mr. F. Gregory, who was out of the colony, could not reach Sydney in time to be present, was represented by a wreath. Upon the arrival of the cortage at the church the coffin was placed upon tressels, which were draped with mourning. The church was crowded to excess. The service was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Manning, who during the course of his address referred to the many sterling qualities of the deceased, who he described as possessing a manly type of character, and was a credit to the sport he loved, possessing a great heart. His acquaintances became his friends. During the service the church choir sang two of the deceased's favourite hymns. Mr. C. S. Oxley presided at the organ.

The funeral procession was then reformed and proceeded to the Waverley Cemetery, being of unusual length. The hearse was preceded by members of the first and second grade electorate cricket clubs, who were present in large numbers. The staff of the Sydney cricket ground office acted as pall-bearers. At the grave the attendance was very great. The Rev. Dr. Manning again officiated. The members of the Paddington branch of the Sydney City Mission sang two appropriate hymns beside the open grave under the direction of Mr. F Smith (the superintendent). The ceremony was impressive. Amongst those around the grave were: - Mr. C. N. J. Oliver (Chief Commissioner for Railways), Mr. Phil Sheridan (trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground), Mr. S. H. Fairland (secretary to the trustees), Messrs W. A. Firth (treasurer), P. K. Bowden (secretary), E. J. Briscoe, R. Shute, J. M. Gibson, and W. P. McElhone (representing the N. S. W. Cricket Association), Mr. H. Hilliard, Mr. A. Park, Mr. J. Oatley , Mr. Alex Bannerman, Mr. W. Corfield, Mr. C. Bannerman, Mr. E. Trindall, Mr. F. J. Ironsides, Mr. G. Tooher, Mr. W. M. Stephen, Mr. H. N. Southwell, and others. The various wreaths sent from the cricketing associations from the other colonies, as well as the various clubs, had attached the colours of the same. Amongst the large numbers of wreaths sent were those from the New South Wales Cricket Association, Royal Agricultural Society, Mr. Fred Webster, Mr. A. H. Macarthur, Mr. C. L. Moody, trustees Sydney Cricket Ground, Central Cumberland Cricket Club, South Australian Cricket Association, Victoria Cricket Association, Queensland Cricket Association, Randwick Football Club, Waverley Cricket Club, South Sydney Cricket Club, Randwick Cricket Club, "Old" Fernleigh Cricket Club, Mr. F. H. Searl, Harry and Nellie Donnan, Mr. and Mrs. Craven, Mr. A. W. Baum, Mrs. Gregory, sen., Mrs. Ray McGarvey, the Sydney Tennis Club, Misses Drivers, Charles Inglestoff, the staff of Sydney Cricket Ground, Mrs. E. Gatland, Miss Boulton, Mr. and Mrs. Boulton, employees of Albert Gregory, Paddington Cricket Club, The "Arcadians," Miss. L. Farrar, employees of Gregory and Outram, Mr. and Mrs. McCaffrey, James and Louis Varley, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Waine, Mr. Charles Bannerman, Mrs. E. J. Gregory, Miss Alice Gregory, Miss Gertrude Gregory, Mr. Charles Gregory, jun., Messrs. Dave and Bert. Gregory, Mr. Charles (sen.) and Jessie Gregory, Mrs. Bint, Mrs. A. Torning, Arthur and Sophie Gregory. The funeral arrangements were be carried out by Messrs. Wood and Co.

Mr. E. J. Gregory, was born on May 29, 1839, at Sydney, and he was the oldest of seven brothers, five of whom have represented this colony in important matches, both intercolonial and international, from the date of the eighth match with Victoria, in 1863. They are Edward, Walter (who played against the first English team, Stephenson's, in 1862, and who is long since deceased), David, Charlie, and Arthur. The other two, Fred and Albert, both gave promise as youths of emulating the deeds of the quintet; but circumstances did not admit of it. During the earlier part of his cricketing career Mr. Gregory was associated with the National, East Sydney, Warwick, and Bathurst clubs, on many occasions securing a century. With the Bathurst Club he put together 147, with 22 in the field, for which and other performances he was presented with a life membership thereof. In 1863 he made his debut before the Sydney public as an aspirant to intercolonial honours, obtaining 3 and 13. In 1865, in Melbourne, he obtained 43 in the first innings and 18 in the second. In 1868 he played an excellent game for 64 in the first innings for New South Wales v. Victoria. Three of the Gregory family played in the 1871 contest. Deceased played in the 1872 game, and his batting in the 1874 event went a long way towards securing the victory, the sweets of which had not been tasted by the older colony since 1866. He and C. Bannerman, with 24 not out and 12 not out respectively, dragged the match out of the fire, and secured a six wickets victory for New South Wales; but it was in the 1875 match that deceased shone. At one stage of the game there were seven wickets down for 21, when he totted up 65 (not out) in a total of 116, and 18 in his second innings, out of 102. The performance will long be remembered by those who witnessed it. During its progress he received a nasty blow in the eye – for which he had to undergo medical treatment. He continued his aggressive tactics with that determination for which he was famous, and which earned for him the sobriquet of "Lion-hearted Ned." In the intercolonial, 1876, he contributed 14 and 10; the latter being obtained in 15 minutes, and he and Dave contributing between them 164 out of a grand total of 327. Evans was in for four hours and a half for 46. He and Spofforth bowled the Victorians down in the first innings for 37. Deceased played in two more matches against Victoria, when he retired from intercolonial contests. But two or three years later he obtained 39 against one of the Australian elevens. He also played against Stephenson's team in 1862, W. G. Grace's in 1873 (both in Sydney and Bathurst), and Shaw's (both here and in Melbourne). In Bathurst, in a single wicket match, Gregory secured three wickets for 9 runs (G. F. Grace, Bush, and Oscroft). For a combined 13 of New South Wales and Tasmania v Victoria he was top with 50. In 1872, Victoria having had a long run of victories, negotiations were entered into for the purpose of seeing what chance this colony would have in a single wicket match. Accordingly, the three brothers Gregory (Edward, David, and Charles) were selected to defend the attacks of Wills, Cosstick, and J. Conway; and so successful were the brothers that they gained the colony a victory after a three days' tussle by 3 runs, amid great excitement. The aggregate scores were 54 and 49. This was a bonafide match, and three handsome trophies were presented to the victors.

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Citation details

'Gregory, Edward James (Ned) (1839–1899)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


29 May, 1839
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


22 April, 1899 (aged 59)
Moore Park, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (throat)

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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