Famous footballer becomes publican

Toast to luck

essendon hotel Victoria john coleman Joe evans 1954

john coleman footballer

John Coleman as footballer

IT’S ON HIM – just for luck. John Coleman behind the bar of the Essendon Hotel, Victoria, gives Joe Evans, his first customer yesterday, a beer “on the house” – and gets a good-luck handshake. Coleman, a former Essendon goal sneak, yesterday obtained his licence for the hotel.

-News (Adelaide) September 8 1954.

John Douglas Coleman (November 23 1928 – April 5 1973) was an Australian Rules footballer and coach for Essendon in the Victorian Football League (now the AFL).

Coleman ranks as one of the greatest Australian rules footballers of all time.

In a relatively short playing career, Coleman has the second highest goal average in the history of VFL/AFL football, kicking 537 goals in 98 matches.

After a knee injury ended his playing career at age 25, he returned to coach Essendon to premiership success.

john coleman pub

John Coleman as publican

He is the namesake of the Coleman Medal, awarded to the AFL player who kicks the most goals during the home and away season. In 1996 he was one of 12 inaugural Australian Football Hall of Fame inductees bestowed “Legend” status.

Coleman was a capable businessman who understood the commercial potential of his fame.

Football had interrupted his commerce studies at Melbourne University in 1949, but the game helped him to launch a career managing pubs.

Essendon vice president Ted Rippon, also an Essendon footballer before the Second World War, made him the manager of the Auburn Hotel, Hawthorn and their association continued when Coleman became licensee of the Essendon Hotel.

Subsequently, he went into business on his own, running the West Brunswick Hotel.

auburn hotel hawthorn victoria 1940

The Auburn Hotel, Hawthorn, Victoria 1940


Dromana Hotel, Dromana, Victoria, Date unknown

Coleman moved to the Mornington Peninsula, buying a rural property at Arthurs Seat and running the Dromana Hotel. He died there, aged 44, of a sudden coronary atheroma on April 5 1973.

– Courtesy Wikipedia

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Categories: Melbourne Hotels, Publicans, Victoria hotels

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