July 14, 1863, Emerald Hill, South Melbourne, Victoria
June 13, 1939, Gladesville, Sydney, New South Wales, (aged 75y 334d)
Left hand bat
Left arm fast medium
Arthur Coningham was a dependable allrounder - a left-hand batsman and fast bowler - who played only once for Australia, against England at Melbourne in 1894-95, although he also toured England in 1893. But he was undoubtedly one of the game's more colourful figures and was once described as having "the audacity and cunning of an ape and the modesty of a phallic symbol." His sole Test was memorable as he was no-balled, and in anger he deliberately hurled the next ball at AE Stoddart, England's captain. On his tour to England, during which he was awarded a medal after saving a boy from drowning in the Thames, he reportedly started a fire in the outfield during one match "to keep warm". A chemist by profession, he was made bankrupt, but once discharged became a bookmaker, carrying a satchel embossed with "Coningham the Cricketer".
But perhaps his most famous moments came in 1900 when he conducted his own (unsuccessful) defence in a divorce case when he accused the private secretary of Cardinal Moran, head of the Australian Catholic Church, of adultery with his wife. The trial and retrial enthralled the public, and although Coningham lost, the priest, Francis O'Haran, was guilty. Coningham's wife subsequently admitted that the couple's third child was O'Haran's. The couple emigrated to New Zealand where Coningham worked as a book salesman until being sentenced to six months in prison for fraudulent conversion. In 1912 his wife divorced him after he committed adultery in a beach shed. He returned to Australia and died in a mental institution. His son, Sir Arthur Coningham, was a World War Onew flying ace and went on to become an Air Marshall.
Arthur Coningham played for Queensland and New South Wales and in 1893 came to England but did nothing noteworthy. His highest innings was 151 for Queensland against New South Wales. In a match at Brisbane in 1891 for Stanley against Alberts in the Aitchinson Ale Trophy competition, all Stanley's 26 runs were made by Coningham. A left-hand batsman and bowler, he ranked high at home as an all-rounder. A first-class runner, rifle shot, billiards player and oarsman he also played football.
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