Legends of the South Burnett – Boxing Legend: Arthur Cripps
When you think of boxing one name comes to mind… Muhammad Ali. Well sorry to disappoint but there was another boxing great who came from the South Burnett… Arthur Cripps.
Born in 1879 Arthur Cripps started his sporting career playing rugby. He played in one game for Queensland – a “dramatic” 25-11 win over New South Wales in 1901 (see even back in the early 20th century Queensland were beating New South Wales!) But footy just wasn’t meant to be for Arthur who turned to professional boxing in early 1902.
Arthur was trained by “Big” Jim Austin, who was said to be one of the cleverest trainers of the time. He claimed that because of this training he never suffered a black eye or bloody nose.
In 1903 Arthur Cripps claimed the Australian Middleweight crown. He would then win this title on and off between the years 1903 to 1909.
A property at Broadwater (Nanango) brought Arthur, his wife Mary and their daughter Violet to the region to begin a farming life. Arthur held boxing fund raising activities and assisted many young men in gaining expertise in the boxing arena such as Bill Ewart of Nanango.
In 1916 at the age of 35 (which was not the norm as the average age of men enlisting was 26) Arthur enlisted as a driver in the Engineers. This grabbed the attention of Australians with newspaper headlines reading “Arthur Cripps gone to the front!” (16 May 1917). He also made headlines again upon his return in August 1919.
After the war Arthur returned to Nanango where he was the Post Office Hotel Proprietor, Chairman of the local football club (1923to 1925) and Director of the Dairy Company (1923). However, before his daughter Violet was 21 years old he decided to move the family to Brisbane.
In 1934 Arthur Cripps passed away.
A mild-mannered man – a home lover – an ace high husband and father – and a wonderful glove fighter!
Arthur Cripps with his wife Mary and daughter Violet (dress in white with pig tails)
Arthur Cripps dressed in his army uniform