Syd Barker Sr.

Sydney Quinton Barker Sr. (26 November 1887 – 23 March 1930) was an Australian rules footballer who played with Richmond, Essendon and North Melbourne in the Victorian Football League (VFL). His son, also named Syd Barker, had a brief league career with North Melbourne.[1]

Syd Barker
Personal information
Full name Sydney Quinton Barker Sr.
Date of birth (1887-11-26)26 November 1887
Place of birth Collingwood, Victoria
Date of death 23 March 1930(1930-03-23) (aged 42)
Place of death Abbotsford, Victoria
Height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 95 kg (209 lb)
Position(s) Ruckman
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1906–1907 Essendon Association (VFA)
1908 Richmond (VFL) 02 0(1)
1909–1921 North Melbourne (VFA)
1921–1924 Essendon (VFL) 57 (23)
1927 North Melbourne (VFL) 09 0(1)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1922–1924 Essendon (VFL) 43 (31–11–1)
1927 North Melbourne (VFL) 18 0(3–15–0)
Total 61 (34–26–1)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1927.
Career highlights
  • North Melbourne premiership player: 1910, 1914, 1915, 1918
  • Essendon premiership player-coach: 1923, 1924
Sources: AFL Tables,

Barker's long footballing career began at Essendon 'A' in the Victorian Football Association (VFA) with whom he played before joining Richmond in 1908 for their inaugural VFL season. He managed just a couple of games and decided to return to the VFA, this time with North Melbourne.

A ruckman, Barker became an integral player in North's illustrious "invincibles" side that won premierships in 1910, 1914, 1915 and 1918. He captained the club in their last two premierships and through a record 58-game unbeaten streak from 1914–1919.

In 1921, North disbanded as part of a plan to merge with Essendon and join the VFL in 1922. Barker moved to Essendon's VFL side in mid-1921 in good faith that the merger would go ahead, but it ended up being blocked by the State Government, and Barker was stuck at Essendon. He became captain-coach in 1922 and led the club to back to back premierships in 1923 and 1924 before announcing his retirement.

Barker came out of retirement in 1927 and returned to his old club North Melbourne, who were in their third VFL season. As captain-coach he could only manage three wins and the club finished the season second last.

Barker was a fireman by profession and less than three years after his last VFL match he died suddenly while at work at the Abbotsford Fire Station.[2]

North Melbourne best and fairest winners are awarded the Syd Barker Medal.


  1. Holmesby, Russell; Main, Jim (2014). The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers: every AFL/VFL player since 1897 (10th ed.). Seaford, Victoria: BAS Publishing. ISBN 978-1-921496-32-5.
  2. "FOOTBALL". The Argus. Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 24 March 1930. p. 16.
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