Career : 1903 - 1904
Debut : Round 16, 1903 vs Collingwood, aged 22 years, 155 days
Carlton Player No. 157
Games : 9
Goals : 3
Last Game : Round 7, 1904 vs Essendon, aged 23 years, 84 days
Height : ?
Weight : ?
Date of Birth : March 19, 1881
Bert Lithgow was recruited by the Blues from Yarra Glen in 1903, and was a member of Carlton’s first-ever finals team later that same year. After playing his debut match in a narrow loss to Collingwood in round 16, he saddled up again against the Magpies a fortnight later. Carlton and Collingwood began one of the game’s great rivalries that year, and staged an enthralling Semi Final clash that the gallant Blues lost by 4 points.
A specialist half-forward, Bert kicked a respectable 2 goals in his first three matches, but in his second season, his scoring rate fell away. After managing only one more major in six appearances in 1904, he lost his place in the side and never played for Carlton again.
Instead, he went back home to Yarra Glen, and became a stalwart of the local football club as a long-serving player, coach and committeeman. Later in his life he became the licensee of the town’s Grand Hotel, which for generations of locals was the centre of the district’s sporting and social activities.
Bert’s son Jack was also a fine footballer in his own right, having spent time in the VFL with Collingwood Reserves, and he kept his father’s legacy intact when Bert passed away at the age of 70 on April 22, 1951.
Left: Bert Lithgow, Yarra Glen 1908
Image: Courtesy Rhett Bartlett. Rhett says Lithgow went to Richmond in 1905 for one season.
1903 August 28
The Evelyn Observer and Bourke East Record.
"The Yarra Glen team were weaker than usual, as they were without the services of several of their best players, notably Bert Lithgow, who has gone to play with Carlton in the League matches."
1904 July 29
The Evelyn Observer and Bourke East Record, reporting on last Saturday's Kangaroo Ground versus Yarra Glen match said;
"Mr. Bert Lithgow, who has been playing League football for Carlton, but has lately been suffering with a poisoned hand, acted as central umpire and gave general satisfaction. After the match, the teams went to Irvine's Hotel where toasts were drunk to each club, and to the umpire. Mr. Bert Lithgow replied in suitable terms."
Obituary in the Healesville Guardian April 28 1951 (p3) said his name was Robert Joseph Lithgow aged 70.