English (United Kingdom)
Alexander (Alistair) Scott Rattray Print E-mail
Monday, 11 July 2011 13:27

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

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 Burreltonand migrated to Australia as a 23-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 Hobartin 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. 

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

Click image to open!
Click image to open!
Click image to open!
Click image to open!
Click image to open!
Click image to open!
Click image to open!
Click image to open!