Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vale Alexander (Alistair) Scott Rattray (16 February 1925 - 2 June 2010)

Photos (Top to Bottom): Alistair Rattray enjoying a Summer Cup match and a coffee at South Hobart on 11 March 2006 [PlessPix]; Alistair Rattray (back row, extreme right) in the Caledonians team of 1956-57); A recent family photo of Alistair Rattray

Australian representative footballer Alistair Rattray passed away in Hobart today at the age of 85.

Alexander (Alistair) Scott Rattray was born in the Scottish town of Burrelton and migrated to Australia as a 17-year-old.

Rattray, a skilful half-back, was a member of the Australian team which participated in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.

He first played for Wanderers in Hobart in 1949 and was a founding member of Caledonians, together with the late trio of Bob Easterbrook, Jim McCreadie and Jock Gold.

He played for Caledonians throughout the 1950s and retired in 1960 after an illustrious career which saw him win many representative honours for Australia, Tasmania and Southern Tasmania.

He was one of only nine Tasmanian players to have represented Australia.

Rattray was a member of the Tasmanian side that succumbed 11-0 to England before 6,000 spectators at North Hobart in 1950. He was named as one of Tasmania’s best players in that match.

He also played for Tasmania against South China in 1953 at North Hobart and starred in the 6-4 defeat.

His performance attracted the attention of Australia’s selectors and he made his international debut for Australia against Hong Kong in Adelaide in the Fifth Test (soccer internationals were called Tests in those days). Australia won 5-0 and Rattray was named as man-of-the-match.

In 1956, Rattray joined the Australian Olympic squad at the Heidelberg Village in Melbourne several weeks before the start of the Olympics.

The 20-man squad was made up mostly of players from Queensland, NSW and Victoria, with one player from each of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.

Australia played practice games against Yugoslavia and the USSR, the eventual finalists, and were annihilated.

In the first round of the tournament, Australia beat Japan 2-0 but were eliminated when they lost 4-2 to India.

Rattray did not see the final, in which the USSR beat Yugoslavia 1-0 before over 100,000 spectators at the MCG, but in an age when television was in its infancy, he and other Tasmanians relied on newspapers and the radio for the Olympic results.

After five weeks away - his employer, the Education Department, had given him three weeks’ paid leave - Rattray returned to Tasmania and continued to play at left-half for Caledonians until his retirement in 1960.

At a 1996 40th anniversary reunion in Melbourne for Australian athletes who competed in the 1956 Olympics, hundreds attended, but Rattray was the only soccer player.

Rattray was a regular at South Hobart until even two weeks ago, when he watched South Hobart’s game against Glenorchy Knights as part of South Hobart’s centenary celebrations. On this occasion he was accompanied by his wife, Mary. They had been married for 59 years.

He would walk to the ground from his home in South Hobart and always sit in the old grandstand. I had many a wonderful chat with Alistair in the old stand and he always had a positive outlook on the game. He would tell me about which players he admired in a particular match and discuss the tactics of the teams we were watching.

Alistair is survived by his wife, Mary, daughters Angela and Virginia (the latter is on the Tilford Zebras committee), and grandson Sam.

The funeral will be held next week.


Maria Rattray said...

Just a little tribute to the passing of Alistair, an amazingly talented, yet humble Scot, who just happened to be my husband Alistair's uncle.

"He’s one of those footballers whose brains are in his head."

Do not stand
at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds
that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the
morning's hush
I am the soft uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star that
shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there.
I did not die.

'When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.' Willliam Shakespeare

Brian Roberts said...

As the "gateman""for South I shall miss welcoming Alistair to our matches .

I used to look forward to our regular chat about the game in progress and matches of yesteryear .

My deepest sympathy to his family

Hugo Bladel said...

I am going to miss talking to alistair after my games, he was always positive and helped to give me advice with my play, I am sorry I did not get to say goodbye, rest in piece, you will be remembered and I will miss seeing you out there on game day. My thoughts will be with you when I step out onto the field, regards Hugo

Anonymous said...

Farewell Alisatir Rattray. The passing of a 'true' gentleman of the game. Rest easy.

Brad Hughes

Anonymous said...

It's lovely to see the comments in relation to my father. He was a very talented football player and respected by all who knew him.
Thank you Walter for this wonder obituary and for arranging the minute's silence at the games this weekend. And thank you to Nick at Tilford Zebra's for their mark of respect at Friday night's game as well.
Dad will be sadly missed by a lot of people - and not just his family.
His funeral will be held on Tuesday 8th June at 10.30am at Graham Family Funerals in New Town.
All welcome.
Virginia (Rattray) Harrison