Ern Henfry

Ernest Edgar "Ern" Henfry (24 July 1921 – 14 January 2007) was an Australian rules footballer who played for Perth in the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL) and Carlton in the Victorian Football League (VFL). He later served as coach of Perth, and also coached Western Australia, having previously played at state level for both WA and Victoria. He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Ern Henfry
Personal information
Full name Ernest Edgar Henfry
Date of birth (1921-07-24)24 July 1921
Place of birth Perth, Western Australia
Date of death 14 January 2007(2007-01-14) (aged 85)
Place of death Inglewood, Western Australia
Height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 83 kg (183 lb)
Position(s) Centre
Playing career
Years Club Games (Goals)
1937–1943; Perth 85 (86)
1944–1952 Carlton 84 (20)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1939 Western Australia 2 (2)
1949 Victoria 2 (?)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1953–1964 Perth 242 (139–103–0)
1956–1957 Western Australia 6 (3–3–0)
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,


Henfry made his senior debut for Perth during the 1937 season, aged 16 years and 49 days, with only seven other players known to have debuted at a younger age.[1] He played twice at state level during the 1939 season, at the age of 17,[2] and then finished second to Haydn Bunton in the 1941 Sandover Medal.[3] During the Second World War, Henfry served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), initially as a private in the Australian Army, and then as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).[4][5] While training in Sydney, he played for a RAAF team in the New South Wales Australian National Football League (NSWANFL), which included several VFL and SANFL players, including Footscray captain Alby Morrison.[6] In 1944, while based in Victoria, he played two games for Carlton. When the war ended, he remained in Victoria, and Carlton requested a clearance from Perth to enable him to play for them. He was forced to sit out the 1946 season as Perth did not agree to a clearance, but was then able to captain Carlton for the 1947 season. It was a successful year, with Carlton defeating Essendon in a one-point thriller in the Grand Final. The season was capped off when he shared Carlton's best and fairest award with his close friend Bert Deacon, who also won the Brownlow Medal that year, Carlton's first. Henfry placed fourth in the Brownlow count.[7] In 1949, after some controversy, he captained Victoria against Western Australia, being only the second man to represent Victoria after first representing Western Australia.[8]

Returning to Western Australia before the 1953 season, Henfry captain-coached Perth for two seasons before retiring from playing. He remained as non-playing coach, and in 1955 coached Perth to its first premiership since 1907, with the club winning the grand final by two points over East Fremantle.[9] Henfry remained Perth's coach until the 1959 season, and then again from the 1962 season through to the 1964 season, overall coaching the club in 242 games with a win rate of 57.4%. He also coached the state team in six matches during the 1956 and 1957 seasons, including at the 1956 Australian National Football Carnival, held in Perth, with WA placing second.[3] During the 1961 season, during the gap between his years coaching Perth, Henfry coached the University of Western Australia's side in the Western Australian Amateur Football League (WAAFL) to an A-grade premiership.[10] Henfry died in Inglewood, a suburb of Perth, in January 2007, aged 85.[11] He had been an inaugural inductee into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2004, and was posthumously inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2014.[12]


  1. Greg Wardell-Johnson and Steve Davies. "Youngest WAFL footballers"
  2. "WESTERN AUSTRALIAN INTERSTATE FOOTBALL REPRESENTATIVES 1904 - 2013" – West Australian Football League. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  3. Ern Henfry – Australian Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  4. HENFRY, ERNEST EDGAR (Army) – WW2 Nominal Roll. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  5. HENFRY, ERNEST EDGAR (RAAF) – WW2 Nominal Roll. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  6. (8 April 2013). GREAT FOOTBALL IN SYDNEY DURING WWII – NSW Australian Football History Society. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  7. Ern HenfryBlueseum. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  8. Daily News. . Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  9. Ernest Edgar HENFRY – WA Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  10. WA Hall of Champions Inductee: Ern Henfry Archived 10 April 2013 at the Wayback MachineWestern Australian Institute of Sport. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  11. ERNEST EDGAR HENFRY – Metropolitan Cemeteries Board. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  12. Adam McNicol (4 June 2014). "Hall of Fame 2014: Blues, Bulldog join the greats" – Australian Football League. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
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