Billy Thomas (Australian footballer)

William Charles Gordon "Billy" Thomas (20 February 1902 – 28 April 1968) was an Australian rules football player, coach, and administrator who was involved with the East Perth Football Club in the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL) in a number of roles from the 1920s to the 1950s. Thomas played 114 games for the club from 1927 to 1936, having previously played for the Kalgoorlie City Football Club in the Goldfields National Football League (GNFL). He won best and fairest awards with East Perth in 1928 and 1929, also winning the Sandover Medal in the latter season. After his retirement, Thomas served as club secretary (1932 to 1941) and club president (1951 to 1955), as well as coaching the club in 1942, when the competition was age-restricted due to the Second World War.

Billy Thomas
Personal information
Full name William Charles Gordon Thomas
Date of birth (1902-02-20)20 February 1902
Place of birth North Fremantle, Western Australia
Date of death 28 April 1968(1968-04-28) (aged 66)
Place of death South Perth, Western Australia
Original team(s) Railways (GFA)
Height 168 cm (5 ft 6 in)
Weight 65 kg (143 lb)
Position(s) Rover
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1925–26 Kalgoorlie City unknown
1927–36 East Perth 114 (169)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1929–30 Western Australia 9 (10)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1942 East Perth 18 (10–8–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1936.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 1942.
Career highlights


Thomas was born in North Fremantle, Western Australia, on 20 February 1902, the son of Jack Thomas, a former captain of the Fremantle Football Club and secretary of the North Fremantle Football Club. He moved to Geraldton with his family at the age of six, and played football for local teams from an early age, captaining his school team at the age of 16. Thomas subsequently captained the junior team of the Railways Football Club in the Geraldton Football Association (GFA), also playing seasons with teams from Moora and Mullewa.[1] In 1922, he made his debut for Railways' senior team, captaining the side in 1924 before being transferred to Coolgardie due to his work as a telegraphist.[2] He played one-and-a-half seasons of football with Kalgoorlie City in the Goldfields Football League (GFL) before again being transferred, this time to the General Post Office in the Perth central business district. Thomas was cleared to East Perth for the 1927 season, making his debut in round three.[3] Thomas won the Guthrie Gold Medal in 1928 as East Perth's best and fairest player, winning a second award the following season to become the first player to win the award in consecutive years.[4] In the latter season, Thomas also won the Sandover Medal.[5] Thomas served as coach of East Perth in 1942 when the WAFL was age-restricted to players under the age of 18. He also served as club secretary from 1932 to 1941 and club president from 1951 to 1955.

During the 1938 season, Thomas was one of several ex-players, including Keith Hough, who volunteered to serve as umpires for one round (the regular umpires having withdrawn their services over a pay dispute).[6] The Daily News noted that Thomas showed "outstanding ability", praising his "faultless display".[7] Having moved to the South Perth district after his retirement from playing, Thomas was also involved in local government during the late 1940s and early 1950s, serving on the South Perth Road Board and at one stage as president of the South Perth Community Centre Association.[8][9] He also served as patron of the South Perth Football Club in the Metropolitan Junior Football Association (MJFA).[10] In 2005, Thomas was named as the forward pocket in East Perth's pre-World War II "Team of the Century".[11]


  1. "ROVERS DEAD-HEAT" – The Daily News. Published 11 October 1929. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  2. "GERALDTON FOOTBALLER IN PERTH." – Geraldton Guardian. Published 21 May 1927. Retrieved from Trove, 25 August 2012.
  3. Sandover Medal Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine – Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  4. "FOOTBALL MEETING. EAST PERTH CLUB." – The West Australian. Published 20 March 1929. Retrieved from Trove, 29 September 2011.
  5. The FD Book Medal Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine – Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  6. NEW UMPIRES AT LEAGUE GAMESThe Daily News. Published 2 July 1938. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  7. Thomas Stars Among New UmpiresThe Daily News. Published 2 July 1938. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  8. "SITE FOR NEW HOSPITAL." – The West Australian. Published 24 August 1950. Retrieved from Trove, 25 August 2012.
  9. "South Perth Movement." – The West Australian. Published 8 March 1946. Retrieved from Trove, 25 August 2012.
  10. FOOTBALLER'S WIFE NAMES THE BEST PLAYERS WE HAVE HADThe Daily News. Published 26 AUgust 1950. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  11. Teams of the 20th century Archived 24 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine – Retrieved 29 September 2011.
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