Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

Malcolm (Doc) Seddon

1888-1955

Footballer, mayor, cricketer, soldier, carrier

Personal Photo 1

Malcolm (‘Doc’) Seddon – footballer, cricketer, soldier and Mayor (1941-42) – was one of the few people to be praised as a ‘great Collingwood man’. He was loved and respected not only for his sporting prowess and his bravery at the Front in the First World War, but for his advice and wisdom. ‘Ask Doc what he thinks’ was normal conversation in many Collingwood homes.

He was born – one of 11 children – in Liverpool Street where the Collingwood train station now stands. He went to school at Lithgow Street and Victoria Park State Schools, the latter just across the road from the Collingwood Football Ground. He was obsessed with sport from an early age, excelling at football and cricket.

Doc was an outstanding player, committeeman and chairman of selectors at the football club he loved for the best part of 30 years, and still found time to serve on the Collingwood Council, becoming Mayor in 1941-42. His playing career ranged across 1911-15 and 1919 -21. At 182cm tall, big and solid, he often acted as the team’s protector. He was recruited from Collingwood District, played 102 games and one interstate, kicked 56 goals. Club honours included committee 1922 -39 and Life Member.

His teammates loved him for his hard work, his kindness, warmth and fierce loyalty. It was the same at the Front. In 1915 he enlisted in the AIF with his closest friend, Paddy Rowan, who had started at Collingwood the same year; Paddy was killed in France in 1916. Amid the carnage Doc’s thoughts turned to Collingwood and his letters home endeared him to his club. One memento he sent was a horseshoe crafted under fire from parts of a German shell and aircraft. He hoped the horseshoe would bring his mates luck in the 1917 finals. It worked: the Magpies won the flag that year.

Another letter described the hell his fellow soldiers were enduring. He wrote:

Well, old man, a chap is among it over here all right. You are alive one minute, God alone knows where you will be the next. Poor old Buff Huntley got blown out of here yesterday. I was speaking to him only a short while before, and he was complaining of his ankle, but poor fellow, his ankle will trouble him no more.

On his return, Doc kept a promise he’d made to Paddy Rowan and helped his widow, Louise, raise her son, Percy, the child Paddy had never seen. Doc had known Louise all his life and had introduced her to Paddy. In 1923, Doc and Louise married, and in addition to Percy, had two children of their own.  The love story of Louise, Paddy and Doc is captured in Paul Daley’s Collingwood – a love story published in 2011.

And just why he was nick-named ‘Doc’ is still a mystery. He was called Doc as a little boy and nobody knows why. But the title stuck.

House Photo 1

17 Abbotsford Street in 2015

Life Summary

Birth Date Birth Place
31 May 1888 Abbotsford
Spouse Name Date of Marriage Children
Louise Rowe nee Newby 1923, St Philip's Anglican Church Abbotsford Two; three including Louise and Paddy Rowan’s son
Home Addresses
Home Street Home City Status of Building
1 Liverpool Street Abbotsford Demolished
Birkenhead 403 Hoddle Street Collingwood Demolished
Abbotslea 17 Abbotsford Street Abbotsford Extant
Church Lodge
St Philip's Anglican, Hoddle Street Abbotsford
Death Date Death Place Cemetery
30 August 1955 Abbotsford
Sources

Roberts, A century of the best; Collingwood Football Club Archives; Daley, Collingwood – a love story; The Argus; Table Talk.

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