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1956 Club Champion Doug Beasy dies

Doug Beasy during his playing days at Carlton.
Doug Beasy during his playing days at Carlton.
He had concern for all in his community and he was involved in sorts of different activities. He was a man of the people.
Graham Beasy

The Carlton Football Club is mourning the passing of its 1956 Club Best and Fairest and dual Victorian representative Doug Beasy, who died in Mildura last night after a short illness. He was 83.

The second son of the 1932 Carlton captain Maurie Beasy, and a great uncle to the Hawthorn midfielder Brendan Whitecross, Doug was born on April 16, 1930 and raised in the Beasy family home in the old Victorian goldfields town of Dunolly.

Football soon became part of Doug’s life and success just as quickly followed. In 1948 at the age of 18 he took out Dunolly’s club best and fairest, and by ’49 he’d found his way to Princes Park.

A primary school teacher by profession, Doug had difficulties balancing his work and football commitments in those early days. As his younger brother Graham recalled: “Early on he (Doug) was teaching at Chum Creek, just north of Healesville, and twice a week he’d travel from there to Carlton to train”.

In the opening round of 1951, against Hawthorn at Princes Park, Doug broke through for what was the first of 129 senior appearances for the old dark Navy Blues. He booted one goal from a flank on a day in which fellow debutant Keith Warburton kicked seven from full-forward.

Wearing the Guernsey later made famous by Gordon Collis, Brent Crosswell and Mark Naley, Doug completed the ’51 season with an outstanding showing in his team’s reserve grade triumph over Essendon. He then established himself in Carlton’s senior 20, featuring in all 20 appearances in ’52 and polling the third-most votes for his club in the Brownlow behind Ollie Grieve and Fred Davies.

The ill-fated First-Semi of ’52 doubled as Doug’s maiden finals appearance (and the first of only three in his entire playing career). A last-minute behind kicked by the then Fitzroy captain Alan Ruthven gave the Gorillas the narrowest of victories in that match, and Warburton nearly died of internal bleeding after receiving a knock to the abdomen early in the contest.

In June 1955, Doug and his old teammate the late John James were named for Victoria against South Australia at the MCG. Doug, named 20th man for that one, emerged from the dugout late and had little influence, but two years later, against Tasmania at North Hobart Oval, booted three goals in the Big V’s 25-point win.

In between, Doug edged out James to take Carlton’s Best and Fairest award - the Robert Reynolds Trophy as it was known then.

In the 14th round of 1957, Doug got his name on the locker with game No.100, and kicked three goals for good measure against Footscray at Princes Park. He would later be part of the Blues outfit that went down to Hawthorn in the ’57 first-semi, having shared roving duties with Leo Brereton - on a day in which the MCG was hit with a massive hailstorm at half-time.

Doug’s time at Carlton came to an end when he limped from the field in the ’59 second semi-final against Melbourne. The team went down by 44 points, but the player couldn’t get his body right for the following week’s prelim and so he called it a day.

In 1960, Doug accepted the position of captain-coach of VFA club Box Hill. Lining up in the centre for the Mustangs, Doug duly took out the 1961 Liston Trophy for the Association’s best and fairest player.

Throughout it all, Doug maintained his commitment to teaching, and he taught in a variety of schools including Mitcham, Merbein, Portland, St Arnaud and ultimately Mildura.

On his retirement as an educator, Doug just as frenetically pursued a variety of hobbies and activities.

“He was a self-taught musician who taught himself to play piano, piano accordion and brass instruments. He played double bass tuba in the local district band and this year’s ANZAC Day Service in Mildura was the first he’d missed,” Graham said.

“He was very involved with his local community, with the church and with Rotary for which he served as District Governor. His last project was to get a men’s shed built for retired fellows living in Mildura. I took him to see that workshop just a few days before he couldn't leave his house anymore.”

Graham said he received an email from Doug on the latter’s birthday in April advising that he had been unwell for some weeks.  “More recently, Doug spent some time at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne and he returned to his home in Mildura two weeks ago . . . but he’d never previously been sick in his life,” Graham said.

Collis, Carlton’s 1964 Brownlow Medallist who inherited Doug’s No.17 jumper, said he was privileged to have held a telephone conversation with the man just three days before his passing.

“I had a really nice chat with Doug. We spoke about the old No.17 and he was telling me how impressed he was with the new boy (Sam Rowe) who’s wearing it now,” Collis said.

The Carlton Football Club is the poorer for Doug’s passing, as are the good people of Mildura. Graham perhaps put it best when he said of his older brother - “He was a man of high integrity, a giant of a man”.

“He had concern for all in his community and he was involved in sorts of different activities. He was a man of the people,” Graham said.

Doug Beasy is survived by his older brother Lloyd, younger brother Graham and younger sister Merle.

He is also survived by his beloved wife Alys, with whom he celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last Thursday, their children Robyn, Alyson, Craig and Meryn, their respective spouses, 12 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Funeral details are yet to be finalised, but the service will be held at the Mildura Church of Christ.

As a mark of respect to Doug, the Carlton senior players will wear black armbands into tonight’s match with St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

Douglas Edward Beasy

Carlton career: 129 games, 124 goals, 1951-1959

Carlton Player No. 647

Guernsey No. 17

Senior Debut: Round 1, 1951 versus Hawthorn (aged 21 years, four days)

Last Game: Second Semi-Final, 1959 versus Melbourne (aged 29 years, 148 days)

Honors: Carlton Best and Fairest 1956; Victorian Representative 1955 & 1957