Vale – John Eaton

Vale – John Eaton

Born 21 September 1934     
Passed Away 10 August 2015.
Popular North Queenslander, John Eaton, passed away last month, aged 80. John was a tough, non complaining front rower, who played the four interstate matches for Queensland in the 1957 series against NSW.  He also played three other minor games for Queensland.

Born at Kyogle in NSW, John and his family moved to North Queensland when he was 12 years of age. They eventually settled on a dairy farm at Millaa Millaa and at 14, John left school to work at the local mill. Over the years, he worked at a variety of jobs but the final 25 years of his working life was with the Electricity Board.

A strong and athletic young man, John excelled at many sports, but Rugby League was his passion. He began played grade football at just 16 with Millaa Millaa and five years later he had joined the Toowoomba All Whites under the direction of the legendary Duncan Thompson as coach.

His first match for Queensland was on 22 May 1957 at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground when he was still just 22. The next game with NSW was at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, while the last two were at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In the fourth game on 8 June 1957, John scored a good try for the Queenslanders at the northern end of the SCG. The Maroons lost this game 45-12 and were also beaten in the other three. But they produced some great players from these games. Among John’s team-mates were Alex Watson (19 Tests), Brian Davies (33 Tests), Tom Tyquin (6 Tests), Brian Carlson (23 Tests), Cyril Connell junior (2 Tests), Bob Banks (15 Tests) and Ken McCrohon (1 Test).

In 1958, John and his wife Carol, returned to North Queensland, where he played with Herbert River and Eacham. During this time, he was captain/coach of the 1962 North Queensland team who held the highly rated, touring Great Britain side to a tight 33-31 loss at Cairns. In 1961, John captain/coached Eacham to a 35-10 victory over Mackay in the Foley Shield final. This was the only Eacham team to win the Foley Shield. Two of John’s brothers, Mick and Allan were also members of this strong Eacham side. The big prop played until he was 38 years of age and after retiring, spent many years coaching, as well as conducting skills sessions for the local juniors.

John is survived by his wife Carol, sons Mathew and Cameron and daughter Debbie. He has seven grandchildren. 

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