Ernest Charles (“Son”) Yeomans

Ernest Charles Yeomans was always known as “Son” and it is quite probable that few who knew him ever even knew his first name. Yeomans was born in Northcote and had a long association with the area and with several of its more treasured institutions.

In 1921 Yeomans was running his own real estate business in High St, Northcote, which wasn’t particularly successful. A group of business friends built and opened the Westgarth Theatre and installed Yeomans as its manager and secretary. From that moment on, Yeomans remained linked to the movie business, subsequently leasing the Grand Theatre in Footscray in 1935, and then building the Sun Theatre in Yarraville. 

Yeomans was also a giant figure at the fledgling Northcote Cricket Club, first joining them in 1908, the first year of District Cricket in Melbourne.  “Son” was a useful cricketer, scoring a century in his first senior match in 1911/12, but it was in administration where he particularly excelled, with his first appointment as honorary secretary commencing in 1911. 

Yeomans dedicated over 40 years of service to the Northcote Cricket Club.  He was secretary for nine years, honorary treasurer for two, vice-president under Walter Stott for 14 years and president for a further 14.  He also spent 28 years as the club’s VCA delegate.

His skills as an administrator were also recognised by higher bodies in the sport, and he spent 9 years as chairman of the VCA executive committee, having had earlier stints as a member of the committee. He was also honorary treasurer of the VCA and the Australian Cricket Board of Control. Ill-health eventually saw “Son” Yeomans give up his positions with the VCA and the Board of control in 1952.

Yeomans forecast the importance television would play in the future of the sport. His cinema business would also feel the effects of the impact of television. A member of Northcote Bowling Club, Yeomans would organise an annual competition between Northcote and Footscray Bowling Clubs, after he moved to the west. Yeomans died in October of 1955 in Footscray Hospital after a long battle with illness.

Coleman, Robert.(1993) Seasons in the sun: the story of the Victorian Cricket Association. North Melbourne, Vic: Hargreen.