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Parramatta District Cricket Club

Parramatta District Cricket Club

Tom Vernon Garrett

(By Tom Wood – Club Historian)

Throughout its long history the Parramatta District Cricket Club has had a multitude of intriguing tales to tell, and the story of Tom Vernon Garrett certainly fits that classification.

Between 1904 and 1911 Tom, a busy all-rounder (right-hand middle order batsman and medium-pace bowler), took the field for the Parramatta club (then known as Central Cumberland), in both First and Second grade – some of his playing contemporaries were club legends like Les Pye, ‘Mudgee Cranney’, E.L. ‘Gar’ Waddy, and internationals W.P. Howell and G. Hazlitt.

His playing statistics were:

Batting – 1,056 runs @ 20.71 [H.S. – 86 v. Waverley (1st grade), 78* v. Redfern (2nd grade)].

Bowling 32 wickets @ 30.84 [B.B. – 6/36 v. Redfern (2nd grade)].

During his time with Parramatta his brother John also played first and second grade with the club.

The Garrett family featured some notable members, Tom’s Vernon’s father Tom W. Garrett played 19 Test matches for Australia, including the famous first-ever Test played against England in Melbourne in 1877, and his grandson is famous Midnight Oil singer and Federal Politician Peter Garrett.

After the end of World War 1 Tom V. Garrett undertook a significant adventure, by settling in the then pioneering island of New Britain (PNG) where he purchased and managed the copra and cocoa plantation ‘Varzin’ in Kokopo southeast of Rabaul.

In 1941it was reported in the Mirror Newspaper that Tom was still turning out on the cricket field playing for the Kokopo club.

Sadly, fate turned wretchedly for Tom V after the fall of Rabaul to the Japanese, during World War II, when he was a passenger on the Japanese merchant vessel Montevideo Maru which was sunk by an American submarine USS Sturgeon on the 1st of July 1942. This was Australia’s greatest single wartime loss of life, 1,000 people perished that day. The sunken vessel was crammed with prisoners of war soldiers and civilians. Peter Garrett wrote the Midnight Oil song ‘In the Valley’ about his grandfather’s demise.

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