Career : 1913
Debut : Round 1, 1913 vs Essendon, aged 20 years, 200 days
Carlton Player No. 274
Games : 11
Goals : 10
Last Game : Round 15, 1913 vs St Kilda, aged 23 years, 110 days
Guernsey No. 19
Height : 173 cm (5 ft. 8 in.)
Weight : 72 kg (11 stone, 8 lbs.)
DOB: 14 April, 1890
Walter Edward ‘Wally’ Gibbins joined the Blues in 1913 from Williamstown in the VFA. A small, nippy type who was dangerous around the goals, he shared the roving duties with Viv Valentine in each of his eleven matches for the Blues, and kicked ten career goals.
After a decade of finals football, Carlton went through a rebuilding phase in 1913, and tumbled to sixth place on the ladder. Barely a week passed throughout the season when new players were not given an opportunity to impress by captain-coach Jack Wells, but those who weren’t up to the mark were quickly moved on.
Gibbins played his first five matches in a row, was dropped for three weeks, then came back for another four games mid-season. He lost his place again in July, before earning another recall for rounds 14 and 15. When the strongest Carlton team of the year lost by one point to St Kilda at the Junction Oval in the first week of August, Gibbins decided that his future lay elsewhere. He handed in his number 19 guernsey, and bid farewell to VFL football.
By August of 1914, when World War 1 erupted in Europe, Gibbins was married and living in Station St, Carlton. Although single men were preferred as volunteers, he joined the colours in April 1917, and spent the last year of the conflict as a gunner with a field artillery unit on the western front in France. Physically unharmed, but no doubt changed forever by his experiences, he returned home to Melbourne in July 1919 - many months after the Armistice was signed in November.
For almost twenty years afterward, Jack and his wife Ivy enjoyed their married life - until Hitler’s Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939, and the dogs of war were unleashed again. By then he may have been in his 50th year, but Wally quickly stepped forward and volunteered to serve his country a second time.
For the next eight years, Wally Gibbins served in home defence artillery units and training establishments. Holding the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2, he was honourably discharged in October 1948, and retired to live with Ivy in Highett. He passed away in 1964, at the age of 73.