But undeniably, Paul Peter Cameron was a man of stature.
Born in South Melbourne in 1904, Paul’s time at Princes Park was all too brief, just two matches in fact. The record books show that he wore the No.24 of Carlton’s only five-time premiership player Charlie Hammond into the 12th and 16th round matches against Fitzroy and North Melbourne respectively - having previously forged a reputation as a sneak with 38 goals in 22 matches over two seasons for The Bloods at the Lake Oval.
“I only have non-football-related images of him,” Paul’s nephew Phil Ereaut said recently. “I did see a photograph of him from The Sporting Globe, from memory in South colours, which my mother had - but that photo has been lost unfortunately.
“I remember him as a small and very quiet, unassuming bloke. He lived with his wife in St Kilda and they had no children. I met Uncle Paul a few times over the years and was amazed when I found out he’d played football in the VFL. I know he worked on the wharves as a clerk and was a member of the Brunswick Brass band . . . he played the euphonium.”
Fortunately, Paul is frozen in time by way of this glorious photo of October 1928, featuring the likes of Brew, Clover, Duncan and Vallence, resplendent in their suits and hats, on the end of season trip to Tasmania. The little bloke can be seen third from the right in the second row from the front.
Paul and fellow members of the 40-man touring party had boarded the “Nairana” for the voyage to the Apple Isle and an appointment with the Southern Tasmanian team in a match won by the visitors. But the voyage was “not after some anxiety”, according to the club’s annual report, “caused by the strike on the waterfront existing at the time”.
“The trip over found the waters of Bass Strait in angry mood, and the majority of the party experienced the discomfort of sea sickness for the first time, an experience which they are not likely to forget,” the report noted.
“Unfortunately, some of our party fell victims to the influenza, prevalent in Hobart, and had to lay up most of the time. The uncertainty of the strike compelled us to curtail our trip by three days, and we returned to Melbourne on Saturday, October 13, 1928, after seeing most of the sights for which Tasmania is renowned.”
Little is known as to why Paul’s tenure at Carlton lasted just two games. What is known is that in 1936 he commandeered Murray Football League outfit Berrigan to the 1936 Premiership as captain-coach and that in February 1942, as world war was being waged, he enlisted with the Australian Army - emerging with the rank of Corporal by the time of his discharge in July of ’46.
Paul Cameron died on New Year’s eve 1978 at the aged of 74. But the little big man’s place in Carlton’s history endures . . .
Football’s “Mosquito Fleet”, 1897 -2012*
155cm - Jim Bradford (Collingwood 1943, North Melbourne 1949): 16 games, 24 goals
157cm - Bob Addison (Footscray 1931): 1 game, 0 goals
157cm - Barclay Bailes (Fitzroy 1905-09): 79 games 29 goals
157cm - Charlie Hardy (Essendon 1921-25): 36 games, 21 goals
157cm - Doug Nicholls (Fitzroy 1932-37): 54 games, 2 goals
157cm - Joe Oakley (Essendon 1934): 2 games, 2 goals
157cm - Bill Speakman (Essendon 1927-29): 16 games, 8 goals
158cm - Jack Baker (North Melbourne 1938-40): 28 games, 4 goals
158cm - Paul Cameron (South Melb. 1926, 1928, Carlton 1928): 24 games, 42 goals
158cm - Edwin Latham (Footscray 1936): 2 games, 2 goals