HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
John Walter GUHL
|Date of Birth||13th April 1905|
Era: 1901-1930 and 1981-1960
Player: 1925-38 – games 256 – East Perth 234; WA 22
Premierships: 1926, 27, 36
Honours: Played in three Australian Carnivals (1927,30,33); held the East Perth
Games-played record of 234 matches from 1938 to 1963 when passed by Ted Kilmurray; East Perth Captain 1933.
Playing in East Perth premiership teams a decade apart signaled the longevity of Jackie Guhl, a lightly-framed footballer who amazed the critics with his skill and agility on a wing. However, his frame of just 65kgs (10st 6lbs) and 167cms (5ft 6in) almost thwarted his WAFL career before it even started.
A product of the football system at the St Ildephonsus College, in New Norcia, north of Perth, Guhl tried out with Subiaco in 1924, attempting to join his brother Avery, who was the regular full-back with the Lions. However, he failed to impress and returned to country football, where he was quite comfortable without any fierce ambitions, to atone for his unsuccessful sojourn south. But, the East Perth talent scouts invited Guhl down to the city a week before the 1925 season opened – and he was a regular league player from then on. The next season saw him part of an East Perth premiership, a feat repeated in 1927.
Guhl stood the test of time as the many champions of those East Perth golden years hung up their boots and in 1936 he was in another Royals premiership team. He reached the tally of 234 games in 1938, passing the five-year-old record of 217 held by captain-coach Val Sparrow. Guhl’s total stood at the top of the Royals tree for 25 years until Ted Kilmurray passed it and with Derek Chadwick retiring on the current record of 269 games in 1972, the figure compiled by the little man from the bush still stands tall in third place on the Honour Board.
Despite his size – or lack of it – Guhl was a player with ample brilliance, with the skills of a wizard on his wing and his 22 games for Western Australia saw him survive in the hurly-burly interstate cauldron. His State appearances included three Australian Carnivals – Melbourne (1927), Adelaide (1930) and Sydney (1933) – and the tally was just one less than Graham Farmer’s record for the club.
Guhl’s father and mother had passed away in 1912 and 1915 respectively, both in their early 40’s, so the older brothers Karl, Avery and Francis serving overseas with the Australian forces, Guhl and younger brother Milton were funded into the St Ildephoneus College by the family solicitor.
A brilliant athlete and all-round sportsman, Guhl was in the College’s football and cricket teams and in 1923 was acclaimed as the Champion Athlete at the school sports, excelling in high jump, hurdles, long jump and various running events. On leaving the College, he worked in a solicitor’s office in Perth, but later followed many East Perth team-mates to the local Power House, where he remained until his retirement aged 61. Guhl served in the Royal Air Force in World War II, stationed in Darwin.