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Frederick James Dobbin (Uncle Dobbin)


UPDATED: 29/07/2022

29 July 1878, A 201 carat diamond, a perfect octahedron, found in Dutoitspan mine.
29 July 1911, Uncle Dobbin (pictured) presented with the rugby Currie Cup after Griquas defeat Eastern province 16-0, the side winning six games and drawing one.
29 July 1926, First Industrial Council meeting in South Africa.

Uncle Dobbin’s GW rugby team wins the Currie Cup

For the record, Griqualand West Currie Cup results from the 1911 tournament, all games played at Newlands, Cape Town:


Currie Cup Trophy

Beat Western Province 12-0
Beat Transvaal 4-0
Drew OFS 3-3
Beat Eastern Province 16-0
Beat Natal 16-5
Beat NE Districts 6-0
Beat Border 15-0
Those who played for Griqualand West in their successful quest for glory were:

Frederick James Dobbin (Captain), AM Baker, JS Braine, J Davidson, W Eland, H Haarhoff, LM Jacobs, JK Ledger, SH Ledger, J Liddiard, WC Martheze, C Whiffles, V Williams, CW Munn, JJ Meintjies, AF Marsberg, G Rigal, JD McCulloch, A Robertson, A Snell, FS Smuts, JB Stewart, I Salonika, GW Truter, FG Unser, AE Williams, and NJ Winterbach.

All the members of the victorious team were presented with a miniature Currie Cup.

Johan Mulder added: “When they won against WP they had 3 Springboks against the 13 of Western Province. It is also in this game where the Griqua coach and manager Jimmy Leck assisted as referee. In those days the two captains had the choice of picking the referee. In this match Leck sent WP captain Billy Millar off for fighting. The first in history.

29 July 1911, Uncle Dobbin (pictured) presented with the rugby Currie Cup after Griquas defeat Eastern province 16-0, the side winning six games and drawing one.
29 July 1926, First Industrial Council meeting in South Africa.


Frederick James Dobbin (10 October 1879 Bethulie – 5 February 1950 Kimberley)

Universally known as Uncle Dobbin, he represented South Africa at rugby on nine occasions. Dobbin played in two overseas tours and was the vice-captain to Paul Millar’s 1912 team. He also captained South Africa against Scotland at Murrayfield in 1912.

Dobbin was first selected for the national rugby team in 1903, in the First Test of the 1903 British Isles tour of South Africa. South Africa had a poor international record to date, having played seven matches, all against the British Isles, and had won only one game.

The 1903 tourists had a difficult campaign before meeting the South African national team, having lost seven of the 16 games against the invitational county and regional teams.

Dobbin was brought into the South African team for the First Test, partnered at half-back with seasoned international Jackie Powell. The game was very tight, with both teams scoring two converted tries to leave the final score 10-10. Dobbin celebrated his first cap by scoring one of the two South African tries, converted by Fairy Heatlie.

He helped win the Currie Cup for Griquas on two occasions – 1899 and 1911.

Uncle Dobbin was a Springbok rugby selector for many years once he had retired.

He was educated at Kimberley Boys’ High School, and became a builder.

His “famous” house at 28 Roper Street was built for his son as a wedding present in 1928. The house has rugby ball and half rugby ball designs built into the walls, doors, and windows. It was declared a National Monument on 23 June 1993.

“Fredrick James Dobbin (Kimberley, Griqualand West and South Africa) was born at Bethulie, Orange River Colony, in 1879, but his parents removed to Kimberley when he was barely two years of age, so that he is to all intents and purposes a Kimberley man, born and bred; he certainly is a product of Kimberley football. Like very many half-backs who have distinguished themselves in South African football, he is short in stature, but he is compactly built, and heavy for his inches. He is 5 feet 6 1/2 inches in height, and weighs, fit and well, 11 stone 3 pounds. He is a very powerful little man, hard, and, although he has been playing football for over eleven years, and has had to play against heavy forwards and backs, he is as sound as a bell. To-day he plays a very good sound game; he believes, as do many players to-day, in making an opening before he passes out, and in this respect he plays with capital judgment. He has learned the futility of the game, which Powell and he perfected, of inter-half passing and re-passing, recognising that the sooner the game is opened out in the third line the better chance that line have of manoeuvring. He learned his football with the Kimberley Club, and, from 1895 to 1899, when John Powell was a name to conjure with, he played with the third and second teams, learning to play a sound game. In 1899 he partnered Powell at half for Kimberley, and so well did he perform that he was selected for Griqualand West as well, and his smart nippy work had much to do with that centre’s victory in the Currie Cup that year. In 1902 after a rest during the troublesome times 1899-1901, he resumed refreshed and strengthened, and soon made a name for himself; and in 1903 Powell and he were selected as halves for South Africa, at Johannesburg, and subsequently at Kimberley; but they cramped the three-quarter play too much, and were not selected for the match at Capetown; In 1904 he represented Griqualand West in the Currie Cup Tournament at East London, and there was a marked improvement in his play, although even then there was a tendency to confine the outside combination to the halves and centre three-quarters. This he has now abandoned, and at the recent tournament he played a very clever, sound game, initiating many very fine movements, and his defence was particularly good. In Kimberley he is a great favourite on account of his quiet unassuming manner, and his excellence and tact as a skipper. In the recent tour he has proved himself the soundest and best half on the South African side, and there are very few halves he has played against who were his equals in finesse, or superior in defence and resource.” – from “The Springbokken Tour in Great Britain” by EJL Plateneur, published 1907.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt


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