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21 CFC Games Played
0 CFC Goals
Ern Waldron was part of one of the most famous footballing families of Colonial times.
One of his brothers, Alfred Edward (better known as “Topsy”) played a few years with Carlton but would go on to become a giant figure with Norwood in the SANFL, also captaining the SA team and becoming just the 22ndplayer selected for the SA cricket team. Another brother, Frank, played for Carlton Imperial and later Melbourne. Yet another brother, Herb, played with Carlton.
Ernest Arthur was the youngest of the four footballing brothers, and he also started at Carlton, in 1889 and 1890 (he was already married at that stage, having wed at 16 to a 15-year-old named Louise Dorrington, in a marriage that would end in ugly dispute years later amid claims of desertion). In 1890 he was part of the Blues’ team that played games against Tasmania, NSW and South Melbourne in Sydney, where one local newspaper described him as “a junior of good repute.”
In 1891 he played with the junior club Rainbow, and it was from there that Collingwood recruited him for their debut season in 1892. The Magpies were desperately looking for players with senior football experience to complement their hopeful local youngsters, and Waldron fitted the bill so well that he was chosen to play in the club’s first ever game on May 7 1892 (ironically of course, against Carlton).
He was named on the half-back flank that day, and won praise from one newspaper for being “conspicuously energetic”. The Age said he had “combated resolutely” and, describing one passage of play, said: “Waldron gallantly resisted any further approach, and by his perseverance the game was forced back.”
Ern would go on to spend most of his career either at half-back or in the back pocket, occasionally filling in at full-back. His first season was his best, and The Leader newspaper named him among the most prominent of all Magpie players that season.
But his career came to a sudden halt when he took ill after the Rd 13 game against Port Melbourne. It was said he had become ill after being kicked during a scrimmage in a pre-season game, and he was advised to retire. Then his condition worsened and he was hospitalised, with fears held for his life. However a few weeks later The Herald reported: All footballers will be glad to hear that Ernie Waldron is now out of danger, and is improving rapidly.”
Ernie Waldron pulled himself back from a life-threatening situation and returned to play one more game late in 1894 before leaving Victoria Park, having totalled 21 games in his time at the top. He may not have been the most famous of the Waldron clan – ‘Topsy’ definitely had that honour – but he still made a valuable contribution in Collingwood’s earliest days.
– Michael Roberts
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* Player statistics include VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.