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John Fisher's premiership guernsey back at Hawthorn

Peter Haby, Hawks Museum  October 3, 2012 9:03 AM

When the final siren blew to end the 1961 Grand Final, the Hawks had won its first premiership after 36 years of effort, a time honoured football ritual was to follow.  

The exchanging of guernseys between the opposing players from both teams.

Film footage after the siren depict players exchanging guernseys and when the victorious Hawks hoisted their captain Graham Arthur high, Morton Browne, Ron Nalder and Killer Kane looked rather odd wearing the red white and blue, the colours of their opponents, Footscray.

Brendan Edwards exchanged his guernsey with Bob Spargo, Graham Arthur did likewise with Ted Whitten, Garry Young with Johnny Hoiles and the subject of this good news story John Fisher swapped guernseys with Charlie Stewart.

Some 51 years later, former Footscray wingman, Charlie Stewart whilst having a clean out at home stumbled upon a box of his old football guernseys and boots.  To his surprise, in the box was John Fisher’s Hawthorn guernsey that he had exchanged with Fisher in 1961. 

With the passing of years, Stewart had forgotten that he had Fisher’s guernsey and now wondered if Hawthorn may like to have it. 

He contacted Hawthorn and was more than happy to hear that the Hawks Museum was keen to receive Fisher’s guernsey.

When Fisher's guernsey arrived in the mail it was found to be in virtually mint condition. 

Back in 1961 the team was presented brand new Guernseys for the Grand Final; hence the condition and the resultant care provided by Charlie Stewart.

Charlie Stewart has planned to visit the museum with former Footscray star John Shultz and meet up with some of the Hawks from 1961, Garry Young, Graham Cooper and Graham Arthur.


John Fisher


For the record, Fisher was recruited from Warburton and played his debut game in round 18, 1957 against Footscray.  The Hawks were beaten by 2 points 7.15.57 to 8.11.59. 

Fisher went onto play 94 games in total kicking 9 goals playing his last game round 12, 1965.  Wearing number 5, he was a member of the Reserves back-to-back Premierships 1958 and 1959. 

He is one of the few players to have built a senior career after winning the Gardiner Medal for best player in the Reserve grade. 

Fast, clever and a good wet-weather player, Fisher went onto gain Hawthorn immortality playing on the wing in the Club’s first senior Premiership in 1961.  He achieved further glory by winning the inaugural award for the Best Player in Finals Series.

After leaving Hawthorn, Fisher lived for many years in Darwin.  He was still there when Cyclone Tracy destroyed wide areas of Darwin on Christmas day, 1974.
  
Many of the residents, including Fisher lost their homes in the wide spread distruction that occurred.  Fisher lost most of his worldly possions including his prized football memorabilia.  This loss included the Footscray guernsey that initially belonged to Charlie Stewart. 

Fisher returned to Victoria shortly after residing in Lindenow, Gippsland, where he passed away on January 24, 1998.

The Club Collection is fortunate now to have eight Guernsey’s worn in the 1961 Premiership with the addition of John Fisher’s guernsey. 

The other guernseys on display within the museum are Captain; Graham Arthur, Vice Captain; John Peck, Best on Ground; Brendan Edwards, Ruckman; John Winneke, Full Back; Les Kaine, Centre Half Forward; Garry Young and Wingman; Colin Youreen.

A ninth 1961 Premiership guernsey on loan from Jack Cunningham is presently on display in the 1961 Cabinet.  Two other players from 1961 are represented by guernseys they wore in 1963, Ian Mort and Ian Law’s guernsey worn in the Grand Final that year.

The Hawks Museum would like to publically acknowledge Charlie Stewart’s wonderful gesture of donating the Guernsey worn by John Fisher in the 1961 Grand Final.


1961 premiership player John Fisher's guernsey from that same game is now at the Hawks Museum.