ON THIS DAY... Lewis Francis Dallas (1901)

Born in 1865 at Ballarat to Alexander and Mary Dallas, Lewis was well known in Railway and Sporting fields. Matriculating and passing the Public Service Examination in 1882, he was immediately accepted into the Victorian Railways as a clerk of the Timetables Department at Spencer Street Station.

He was the hon. Secretary of the Victorian Railways Athletics Club; and the hon. Secretary of the Essendon Football Club in the 1890’s for five years, of which 4 of these they won the premiership. In his obituary in the Bendigo Advertiser of 3 Jan 1901 it reads “The deceased was a life member of the Victorian Football League, he being the only one on whom that honor has been confirmed.” So, he had the extreme honour of being the VFL’s first life member.

In the mid 1890’s Lewis contracted a bad cold from which he never fully recovered and developed Phthisis. He transferred to Kangaroo Flat Station c.1898 in the hope that the warmer climate would aid his health.  Sadly it was not to be. Lewis passed away at the Stationmaster’s Residence, W. Hattam (his brother-in-law), on the 2nd January 1901.

His funeral the following day was delayed until 4pm awaiting the train from Melbourne with friends and colleagues from the Victorian Railways (Melbourne), East Melbourne Cricket Club, Essendon Football Club Secretary and players, Victorian Football League Officials, and the Bendigo Stationmaster.

A very popular and well respected man, Lewis Dallas was interred on Thursday 3rd January 1901 at Kangaroo Flat Cemetery in the Presbyterian Section, grave 2626 – interment 15/1017, and a lovely headstone remains in his honour.

Photo of Headstone