18 August 1934 (age 89)
Place of birth
Wiluna, WA (6646)
Height and weight
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 73 kg
State of origin
Hall of fame
Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame (2006)
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Dazzlingly skilful and inventive, Ted Kilmurray was a key member of East Perth teams during arguably that club’s greatest post-war era. Between 1956 and 1960 the Royals contested every Grand Final, and were successful on three occasions. On a personal front, Kilmurray’s best year was 1958, when he won both the Sandover Medal and the East Perth fairest and best award, and was on a half forward flank as the Royals beat East Fremantle by two points in a thrilling Grand Final.
A superb exponent of the flick pass, Kilmurray was one of the main reasons the laws of the game regarding handball were changed to insist on a clenched fist being used to strike the ball. He was also a tremendous one grab mark, characteristically stretching his arms well out in front of himself to prohibit spoiling from behind. Another trait was his penchant for snatching the ball off the hands of a pack while running away from goals, and then screwing the ball back over his right shoulder with his left foot, often for full points. One goal kicked in this way sealed a memorable win over South Fremantle in 1956 on the day the new grandstand at Perth Oval was officially opened.
Kilmurray grew up with Graham Farmer at various orphanages administered by an Anglican nun known as Sister Kate, and after demonstrating great prowess in country football the pair eventually went to East Perth together, with Kilmurray, initially at least, attracting more attention because of the eye-catching flamboyance of his game.
All told, he played a total of 257 senior games for the Royals between 1953 and 1965, and was four times selected for Western Australia. Memorably nicknamed ‘Square’, owing to his ability to slip unnoticed, often to devastating effect, into the goal square, he was equally at home on a half forward flank or as a ruck-rover, and despite being only 177cm in height and weighing just 73kg he could also hold down a key forward position when required. In June 2006 he claimed a berth on a half forward flank in East Perth’s official ‘Team of the Century 1945 to 2005’.
Author - John Devaney