Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
John Beckwith

Known as
John Beckwith

16 September 1932

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 217d
Last game: 28y 8d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 76 kg

Senior clubs

Jumper numbers
Melbourne: 30

Recruited from
Black Rock (1951)

Family links
Wally Beckwith (Father)Bill Beckwith (Nephew)Duncan Kellaway (Nephew)Andrew Kellaway (Nephew)

John Beckwith

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 6,055th player to appear, 888th most games played, 3,719th most goals kickedMelbourne: 706th player to appear, 32nd most games played, 309th most goals kicked

Demon back-pocket player John Beckwith was 22 yesterday. But that didn’t mean he was going to get a “night off” from football training. In fact captain Geoff Collins ..... made him run harder than ever. For every Demon must be in top form for the hard game against Geelong in the preliminary final on Saturday. And John will be out there on Saturday to play the game of his life for Melbourne - “just to celebrate my birthday,” he says.¹

Solid, resolute and assured, Melbourne's John Beckwith was one of the most disciplined andeffective defenders of the 1950s. A master at the art of skillfully directing the ball across the boundary line without attracting the ire of the man in white he actually began his VFL career as a half forward, but it was only after being shifted to the last line of defence that he began to shine. 

A back pocket for most of his 10-season, 176-game league career, Beckwith was a member of Demons' premiership sides in 1955-6-7 and 1959-60. Not a particularly rugged or hard-hitting player, he succeeded by virtue of his uncanny anticipation skills, smooth ball-handling, and safe, one-grab marking. He won a club best and fairest award in 1957, and captained the Dees in 1957-8-9. Selected in the VFL's squad for the 1958 Melbourne carnival, he was injured before the series began, and forced to withdraw.

In 1968, eight years after his retirement as a player, he returned to Melbourne as non-playing coach, but in three seasons holding the reins failed signally to recapture the heady success enjoyed by his predecessor in the role, the great Norm Smith. John Beckwith's importance in the history of the Melbourne Football Club was highlighted recently with his inclusion in the back pocket the club's official 'Team of the Century'.

Author - John Devaney


1. “The Argus”, 17/9/54, page 23. The match in question was the 1954 preliminary final between Melbourne and Geelong, won by the former by a margin of 17 points.


Full Points Footy Publications, Crème de la Crème


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.