Vic Cumberland

Harold Vivian "Vic" Cumberland (4 July 1877 – 15 July 1927), also known as Harry Cumberland,[1] was an Australian rules footballer in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).[2]

Vic Cumberland
Personal information
Full name Harold Vivian Cumberland
Date of birth (1877-07-04)4 July 1877
Place of birth Toorak, Victoria
Date of death 15 July 1927(1927-07-15) (aged 50)
Place of death Brighton, Victoria
Original team(s) Brighton (Tasmania)
Height 182 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 86.5 kg (191 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1898–1901 Melbourne 50 (15)
1903–04, 07–08, 12–15, 20 St Kilda 126 (72)
1905–1906 Auckland Imperial 32
1909–1911 Sturt
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
Victoria 3 (3)
South Australia 9
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1920.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Early life

The youngest son of Peregrine and Lillian Cumberland,[3] he was born in Toorak, Victoria on 4 July 1877. His older, much taller and much heavier brother, Cec Cumberland, played five senior VFL games for Melbourne in 1899 alongside Vic — and, due his brother's size, weight, and seniority, Vic was often referred to as "Little" Cumberland.[4]

Melbourne (1898 – 1901)

Initially playing senior football in Tasmania, Cumberland returned to Victoria and played with VFL club Melbourne from 1898 to 1901. In early 1902, Cumberland was cleared to play in Western Australia[5] but there is no record of him playing senior football there.

St Kilda (1903 – 1904)

In 1903 Cumberland resumed his senior career at VFL club St Kilda and was a leading player over the next two seasons.[6] His presence was one of the factors that enabled St Kilda to rise from bottom of the ladder in a winless 1902 season to narrowly missing the finals in fifth position in 1903.

Auckland Imperial (1905 – 1906)

In 1905 and 1906 Cumberland spent time in New Zealand and played for the Auckland Imperial Football Club in the Australian Football League of Auckland.

St Kilda (1907 – 1908)

After returning to Australia he returned for a second stint with St Kilda and again was widely recognised as one of the leading players in the competition.[7]

Sturt (1909 – 1911)

Cumberland moved to South Australia in 1909 and played with SANFL club Sturt for three years, winning the league's Magarey Medal award as the fairest and most brilliant in 1911, his final year with the club.[4] He was also a member that same year of his adopted state's victorious carnival team.

St Kilda (1912 – 1915; 1920)

In 1912 Cumberland returned for a third stint at St Kilda and was a key member of their 1913 VFL Grand Final team. Although part of a losing side, Cumberland was reported to have been one of his side better players.[8] He remained a leading player until 1915, when St Kilda was one of the clubs that ceased playing due to World War I.

Cumberland played his last season with St Kilda after returning from war. When he finally retired from top level football he was, at 43 years of age, the oldest player ever to have appeared in the VFL.[9]

Playing style

Although only 182 cm, Cumberland was immensely strong and a natural running ruckman. He was a strong mark and an excellent long kick, especially renowned for his place-kicks, with the skill to grab the ball from the ruck and handpass to a teammate.[10]

World War I

He enlisted to serve in World War I in January 1916 and embarked for France in April. He was part of the 29th Battalion (Australia) and was wounded three times during fighting in France.[10] He returned to Australia in November 1919.[11]


In 1927, Cumberland was involved in an accident when he was riding his motorbike in Ferntree Gully, Victoria and hit a cow. He died in hospital several months later, on 15 July 1927.[12]


  1. Ross (1996), has him as "Vic Cumberland" at pp.41, 58, 59, 64, 82, 83, 104; yet, on pp.125, he has him as "Harry Cumberland" — and the entire set of pages is indexed on p.374 under "Harry Cumberland". Also see Full Points Footy Biography: Harry Cumberland where he is listed as "Harry Cumberland".
  2. Holmesby, Russell; Main, Jim (2014). The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers: every AFL/VFL player since 1897 (10th ed.). Seaford, Victoria: BAS Publishing. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-921496-32-5.
  3. Deaths: Cumberland, The Argus, (Saturday, 16 July 1927), p.13.
  4. Harry Cumberland Dead: Great Sturt Footballer: Widespread Tributes, (Adelaide) News, (Friday, 22 July 1927), p.4.
  5. "FOOTBALL". The Argus (17, 404). Melbourne, Australia. 24 April 1902. p. 8.
  6. "FOOTBALL NOTES – SOME STARS OF THE SEASON". The Australasian. LXXVII, (2008). Victoria, Australia. 24 September 1904. p. 22.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  7. "THE DREAMLANDERS". Punch. CVII, (2721). Victoria, Australia. 19 September 1907. p. 15.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  8. "THE FOOTBALL FINAL". The Argus (20, 961). Victoria, Australia. 29 September 1913. p. 12.
  9. "THE RETIREMENT OF H. V. CUMBERLAND". The Australasian. CIX, (2, 840). Victoria, Australia. 4 September 1920. p. 21.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  10. Ross, (1999), p.56.
  11. "Discovering Anzacs: Harry Vivian Cumberland". National Archives of Australia.
  12. "FOOTBALLER'S DEATH". The Argus (25, 251). Melbourne, Australia. 16 July 1927. p. 31.


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