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Time to honour the great Eddie Gilbert

Queensland bowler Eddie Gilbert puts Donald Bradman on his backside (above) during a Sheffield Shield match in 1931 and, right, a letter from Lawrence Springborg about honouring Gilbert.
Queensland bowler Eddie Gilbert puts Donald Bradman on his backside (above) during a Sheffield Shield match in 1931 and, right, a letter from Lawrence Springborg about honouring Gilbert. Contributed

EDDIE Gilbert was one of the fastest bowlers to walk the earth and Goodna identity Keiron Butler says it is time the State Government named a local field after him.

Gilbert died at the old Wolston Park Mental Hospital in 1978 at the age of 72.

But 47 years earlier, while representing Queensland in a Sheffield Shield match, the Aboriginal speedster knocked the bat out of Don Bradman's hands before dismissing him for a third-ball duck.

Bradman later said of Gilbert's bowling that his deliveries were "faster than anything seen from Harold Larwood or anyone else".

The Wolston Park Centenary Cricket Club, which plays at the ground near where Gilbert lived his later years, now contests an annual Eddie Gilbert Perpetual Trophy.

Butler, on behalf of a group of local residents, lobbied Minister for Health Lawrence Springborg to name the field after him last year.

In a letter dated May 15, 2013 Mr Springborg wrote to Mr Butler thanking him for his letter of March 12, 2013 "in relation to your request for a cricket field on the land at The Park - Centre for Mental Health being named 'Eddie Gilbert Memorial Field'.

Mr Springborg affirmed the department was "committed to keep you up to date with the submission process".

He also advised that West Moreton Hospital and Health Service CEO Lesley Dwyer was "considering your request and will progress a submission in due course".

Mr Butler told the QT yesterday that the department had been given enough time and that he wanted to see some action.

"We have given them 12 months to think about," he said.

"I know governments move slowly but they have got to move on it one day and now is the appropriate time to do it."

A spokesperson for Mr Springborg said there was "universal support" for naming the field after Gilbert. The spokesperson apologised for the delay in dealing with the issue but said arrangements ere being made yesterday to act on the matter,

On February 19, 2013 the QT published a tribute to Gilbert and the struggles he faced under a racist segregation policy

"I spoke to nurses who worked at Wolston Park for 50 years and not one of them had a bad word to say about Eddie," Mr Butler said at the time.

"They all agree the field should be named after him

"If he wasn't an Aboriginal, I have no doubt he would have played for Australia.

"He was way ahead of his time. He was the Dennis Lillee of the 1930s."

Topics:  eddie gilbert



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