Stuart King (OX 1925) : Elite sportsman, successful businessman yet he paid the price defending our nation
Friday, 1 September 2023
Written by Jock O'Keefe (OX 1959)
From all reports Stuart was an outgoing, gregarious student when he signed on @ Xavier .
The boy from the Ararat was not only an attentive student but a natural when it came to footy and cricket.
Stuart graduated from Xavier and commenced Law at Melbourne University. He was quickly snapped up by University FC, and for good measure also played first grade cricket for Uni. After a season , or two he attracted recruiters by the score - finally signing with St Kilda VFL and made skipper the following season, 1932, aged 25.
Cricket scribes excitedly reported his talents at wielding the willow and was selected as wicket keeper/batsman for Victoria.
Two sports. Two State blazers, and that's just the beginning.
Stuart's proud Mum methodically kept a scrapbook that recorded her sons' milestones including;
- Captain St Kilda FC, and St Kida CC simultaneously
-1932 was a season of turmoil for the Saints, Stuart appointed coach as well as captain Saints FC
- In 1933 St Kilda took a battering versus Nth Melbourne, after half time - due to injuries - St Kilda could only field 16 players, then 15 at the final bell. Stuart played a blinder, Saints won by 14 points.
Highlights in cricket included;
- First selected to play for Victoria, aged 20
- Member of Victorian team that created a world record for one team in one innings totaling combined 1107 runs
- Played in illustrious cricket company- Bill Ponsford, Bill Woodfull. Jack Ryder
Come 1942,Stuart's Law appearances and sports achievements came to an end when he announced to his wife and two young kids
'I HAVE TO GO - IT'S MY DUTY'
Stuart signed on with the Air Force for active duty based in Cairns with the Intelligence unit.
On board a Catalina sea plane - en-route to PNG - Stuart and the plane disappeared with nine staffers on board. Not a trace, and investigators ran for cover, finger pointing every which way.
The family of Stuart fought to keep the search alive until a local deep-sea diver discovered remains of a plane believed to have run out of fuel and plunged to a sea grave. Apart from a small plaque in Cairns there has never been any official closure of Stuart.
A sad indictment on the perils of bloody war.