VALE IRWIN LEWIS

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 3:20 PM

Irwin Lewis, a member of Claremont’s 1964 league premiership team, has died at the age of 80.

Born in Morawa, Lewis is acknowledged as the second Aboriginal footballer to have represented the Tigers at league level (after Maley Hayward, from Tambellup, played in all 18 matches in 1928). He was educated at Christ Church Grammar School and graduated from Claremont’s juniors, playing in the first season of the WAFL’s thirds competition in 1957.

A skilful and physically robust half-back flanker, Lewis made his league debut against East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval on August 16, 1958. At the same time he was also recognised as the first Aboriginal to attend university in Western Australia and in his latter years he became well known as an indigenous artist.

Lewis was Claremont’s 19th man in the 1964 grand final Subiaco Oval and came on to the field in the hectic last quarter when two goals to Ian Brewer in the final minutes clinched Claremont’s four-point victory over East Fremantle. He retired in 1965 after 75 league appearances for the Tigers.

His sons, Clayton, Cameron and Chris, followed in his footsteps. Clayton made 25 league appearances from 1979 to 1982 and Cameron played 92 matchers between 1980 and 1990, including the 1987 and 1989 premierships.

Chris Lewis played in 53 league matches for the Tigers, including the 1996 grand final when Claremont defeated East Perth two points. He was also a star for the West Coast Eagles in AFL ranks, playing 215 matches, highlighted by premierships in 1992 and 1994.