SANFL is mourning the passing of South Australian Football Hall of Fame Member Gordon Schwartz OAM.
Inducted in 2002, Gordon was an outstanding media contributor throughout his distinguished career which spanned more than 30 years across print, radio and television.
Covering his first league match for The Sunday Advertiser (Glenelg v Norwood at Glenelg Oval) in 1954. By 1986, a year before his retirement, he had covered 1,000 SANFL football matches.
Beyond newspapers, he had an extensive television and radio career with 5DN and 5AD and anchored the World of Sport show on Channel 7 where he appeared for 17 years. After retiring in 1987, he continued as a contributor to The Advertiser and the SANFL Football Budget. He was a regular on 5DN and later 5AN talk-back programs.
SANFL extends its deepest sympathy to the Schwartz family as it honours Gordon’s outstanding service to the game in South Australia.
Gordon Schwartz (Norwood Football Club, West Torrens Football Club)
Norwood: 1946 – 47 (3 games, 1 goal)
West Torrens: 1948 (13 games, 24 goals)
Born in Freeling on 23 June, 1922, Gordon Schwartz grew up in Port Pirie where he made a name for himself as a footballer, cricketer and tennis player before finally settling in Adelaide. At one stage, he even had a golf handicap of three. He was educated at Prince Alfred College so life in the city was quite familiar to him. In Port Pirie, Schwartz was a star goal-kicker for the Proprietary Football Club.
Like most men of his era, the Second World War interrupted his sporting career and he served in Europe as an RAAF Flight-Lieutenant in Short Sunderland flying boats hunting German U-boats.
In July 1945, while still serving overseas, Schwartz was a member of the RAAF tennis team which was invited to Holland to play a series of matches against leading Dutch players.
A future football, tennis and media colleague, John Mehaffey, was another member of the RAAF team. A month later Schwartz also managed to win the British Junior Club Tennis Championship in both singles and doubles, the only Dominion player ever to do so.
Following his return from the war, and while still based at Port Pirie, Gordon Schwartz was chosen in the South Australian State Tennis Team to play Victoria in Melbourne. He also took the opportunity to play in the Victorian Championships in both singles and doubles. During these early post-war years, Schwartz played against several of the leading players in the world in state and national championships.
He had by this time also tried his luck with the Norwood Football Club but he had trouble breaking into the powerhouse team which won the SANFL premiership in his first year and was runner-up in his second.
During this period, Schwartz split his time between Norwood and Proprietary, kicking 12 goals for the combined Pirie Association team against a combined Yorke Valley Association in 1946 and managing to top the Pirie Association goal-kicking in 1947 as his club, Proprietary, claimed the premiership.
A move to West Torrens in 1948 reunited Schwartz with John Mehaffey, and gave him more game time, but unfortunately he was left out of the grand final team which ultimately lost the SANFL premiership to his old side, Norwood.
David Jenkins (SANFL History Centre)
''For those of us who grew up following SANFL football in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Gordon Schwartz was as much a part of our lives and football experience as any player. A giant in a time of giants, his contribution was immense and his passing is truly the end of an era.''
In 1949, Gordon Schwartz succeeded his brother Blair as President of Proprietary Football Club, a position Blair had previously assumed on the death of their father, Arthur. Blair later became a leading entertainment figure on Adelaide television and the music scene.
Despite his sporting successes, particularly in the country, Gordon Schwartz eventually made his name as one of the leading sports journalists in Adelaide, having begun at The Recorder in Port Pirie. By 1954 he had joined The Advertiser and, by the time he retired in 1987, had established himself as the leading football writer in the state. In addition to his print media responsibilities, Schwartz also had an extensive career in both radio and television as a commentator and long-standing host of Channel Seven’s World of Sport.
His contribution was recognised in 2002, when he was an inaugural inductee into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame as a journalist, and again in 2005 when Schwartz was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to journalism and sport in South Australia. He was also one of seven inaugural inductees to Adelaide Oval’s Media Hall of Fame in 2016.
For those of us who grew up following SANFL football in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Gordon Schwartz was as much a part of our lives and football experience as any player. A giant in a time of giants, his contribution was immense and his passing is truly the end of an era.