The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is deeply saddened by the passing today of Life member and revered Victorian cricket figure Clive Fairbairn OAM, aged 90.
An iconic character in the club’s cricket history, Clive arrived at the club via the Third XI as a budding young fast bowler in 1936-37. In more than 200 games with the MCC (1937-57), he appeared 138 times for the First XI and was captain for the last four years of his career.
He was the VCA District competition leading wicket-taker in 1947-48 and his best season with MCC was in 1949-50 when he claimed 55 victims in just 14 matches.
Clive played in two MCC premierships (1948-49 and 1951-52). He was selected for Victoria in 1949 but broke down in the opening over of his first and only Sheffield Shield game.
In addition to his onfield prowess, Clive was heavily involved in all facets of MCC cricket.
He was a founding member of the MCC XXIX Club (1955), manager of the MCC Dowling Shield team for 32 years from 1956, chairman of recruiting (1956-91), selection committeeman (1956-98), chairman of selectors (1978-91) and VCA delegate (1978-91). He also was a Victorian selector for many years.
In 1986 he was presented with the prestigious Hans Ebeling Award, in recognition of his outstanding service to the MCC Sporting Sections.
In 1990, Clive received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to cricket and the following year the pavilion at the Albert Ground, the MCC’s home ground, was named in his honour.
An MCC member since 1937, he was elected to the committee in 1978 and served until compulsory retirement at 72 in 1990. He was awarded Honorary Life membership of the club in 1991, an honour bestowed on a rare few in the club’s long history.
“Clive Fairbairn had a long and distinguished association with the MCC at cricket and committee level for many decades and was a loyal servant of the club,” said MCC president Mr David Meiklejohn. “On behalf of the MCC committee and members, I pass on my condolences to his family. He will be sadly missed.”
In December 2003, the MCC honoured Clive with a tribute dinner attended by hundreds of people in Hawthorn. Family members, war veterans, coaches, captains, administrators, Test players and friends all gathered to exchange anecdotes and reminisce about the many Fairbairn eras in his nearly 70-year association with the club.
A “Rat of Tobruk”, an epithet of which he was immensely proud, led to his disdain of cricketers donning helmets - “we never wore helmets in Tobruk” he was oft to say.
He was renowned for the generosity he showed countless young cricketers, a number of whom played first class cricket, during several decades as owner of a sports store in Little Bourke Street.
Clive is survived by his children Rosalie, Trish and Sally.
Funeral details will be provided shortly.
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