294 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy

This little house was once home of the Horan family. Thomas Patrick Horan (8 March 1854 – 16 April 1916) was an Australian cricketer who played for Victoria and Australia and later became an esteemed cricket journalist under the pen name “Felix”.

Google Image – December 2018

Horan Family (lived here 1868-1884)

Tom’s family had arrived from Cork in July 1857 on the Lady Milton, but father James presumably came separately. They lived opposite the Standard Hotel, at 186 (now 294) Fitzroy St, adjacent to the lane from 1868-84. Tom attended the Bell Street School. In 1879 Tom married Kate Pennefather.

Tom was the first of only two players born in Ireland to play Test cricket for Australia, Horan was the leading batsman in the colony of Victoria during the pioneering years of international cricket. He played for Australia in the game against England subsequently designated as the first Test match, before touring England with the first representative Australian team, in 1878. Four years later, he toured England for the second time and played in the famed Ashes Test match at The Oval.

An aggressive middle-order batsman renowned for his leg-side play, Horan supplemented his batting by bowling medium-pace in the roundarm style common to his era, and once captured six wickets in a Test match innings. During a season disrupted by financial disputes and a strike by leading players, he captained Australia in two Test matches of the 1884–85 Ashes series, but lost both games. Horan’s form peaked between the ages of 26 and 29 when he scored seven of his eight first-class centuries, including a score of 124 in a Test match on his home ground at Melbourne in January 1882.

In 1879, Horan began writing a weekly newspaper column that continued until his death 37 years later. He established himself as the first Australian cricket writer who had played the game at the highest level, thus paving the way for many players to enter the media. Bill O’Reilly, the noted Australian player-writer of the twentieth century, described him as, “the cricket writer par excellence”. Horan’s documentation of the early years of Australian cricket are the basis for many works on the subject: Gideon Haigh wrote that any, “serious scholar in the field … should probably acquaint himself with Tom Horan.” An anthology of his articles was published for the first time in 1989 when he was posthumously inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame for his writing. In part, his citation read, “… it was as the first nationally known cricket writer that he made his major contribution to the game.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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