Career : 1950 – 1953
Debut : Round 4, 1950 vs Richmond, aged 21 years, 2 days
Carlton Player No. 640
Games : 19
Goals : 0
Last game : Round 11, 1953 vs South Melbourne, aged 24 years, 55 days
Guernsey Nos. 32 (1950-51) 39 (1952) and 6 (1953)
Height : 183 cm (6 ft. 0 in.)
Weight : 84 kg (13 stone, 3 lbs.)
DOB : May 10, 1929
Two days after his 21st birthday in 1950, Harry Dern celebrated in style by playing his first senior match for the Navy Blues in an 11-point win over Richmond at Princes Park. Originally from Spotswood in Melbourne’s inner-west, Harry was an honest defender who was destined to play 19 games in four years at Carlton, although his more notable achievements all came at Reserves level.
Dern wore three different guernsey numbers during his time at Princes Park; 32 in 1950-51, 39 in 1952, and 6 in 1953. A natural left-footer whose best position was on a half-back flank, he won the Reserves Most Consistent award in 1949, and was appointed seconds vice-captain the following year.
In 1950, Harry played two senior games, and two more in 1951, before the Reserves made it all the way to the Grand Final, and defeated their arch-rivals Essendon by 12 points in a hard-fought decider. At centre half-back that day at the MCG, Dern was one of his team’s stars. A week later, he capped off the year as runner-up to Ken Aitken in the voting for Reserves Best and Fairest.
Carlton’s senior team improved markedly in 1952, and qualified for the finals in fourth place on the ladder – only to fall by one point to Fitzroy in a heart-breaking Semi Final. Although he wasn’t selected in that match, Harry enjoyed his best season. He managed seven more senior matches, and stepped up a notch to collect the Reserves Best and Fairest trophy.
Another eight appearances followed in 1953, before Harry’s senior career wound up with a good win at home over South Melbourne in round 11. He continued as a consistent contributor for the Reserves however, and was desperately unlucky not to collect a second Premiership medal after the Blues beat the Bombers again in another Grand Final. Injured at training during the week, he was a late withdrawal from the side on the morning of the match.
In the years after departing from Princes Park at the age of 24, Harry played and coached at a number of country clubs including Kyabram in 1954, and later Pyramid Hill and Tatura. A staunch Blue throughout the remainder of his days, Harry passed away on January 24, 2009, just four months after the loss of his wife Patricia. He was 69.
Career Highlights1949 - Reserves Most Consistent
1950 - Reserves Vice-Captain
1951 - Reserves Premiership team
1951 - Reserves 2nd Best and Fairest Award
1952 - Reserves Best and Fairest
LinksArticles: Vale Harry Dern
Blueseum: Stat Shot for Harry Dern | Career Breakdown | Dern's Blueseum Image Gallery