Full Name

Stephen Harold Gascoigne

Born

March 19, 1878, Redfern, Sydney

Died

January 08, 1942, Lidcombe, Sydney, (aged 63y 295d)

Nicknamed Yabba as a child because he was a "bit of a talker", he found fame as one of the game's most original barrackers. Tall and well built, he was a rabbit seller who the Sydney Morning Herald wrote "could be seen with his little pony and two-wheeled cart, driving round Balmain and the neighbouring suburbs, loudly calling out, 'Rabbo, wild rabbo !' in a voice that could be heard a mile away!"

The Australian Dictionary of National Biography wrote that he was "a big man, with close cropped hair, a cap and pipe, always wearing dark trousers and a white shirt, he habitually arrived early and took a seat on the 'hill' in front of the scoreboard. He watched the game intently, making comments with a wit which became legendary and in a voice that could be heard outside the ground. He was genuinely interested in the game, and very knowledgeable about it. He rarely drank more than the two bottles of beer he brought with his lunch, and never shouted irrelevant advice or abuse."

He became as much a part of the pre-war SCG as the stands themselves, and when Jack Hobbs made his last appearance on the ground he walked to The Hill and asked to shake hands with him. In the 1936-37 Ashes Test, Yabba even commentated on the radio. He died of heart disease in 1942.

When the SCG replaced The Hill with a stand in the early 1990s, the new structure was named Yabba's Hill in his honour, making him one of the only non players or administrators to be acclaimed in such a public way. There have been many imitators but no equals.
Martin Williamson

Yabbaisms

  • To a wayward bowler: "Your length's lousy but you bowl a good width!"
  • To Charles Kellaway after he opened his scoring after a period of blocking: "Whoa there! he's bolted"
  • To an umpire who was a gas-meter inspector when the Nawab of Pataudi had failed to score for a long period: "Put a penny in him George, he's stopped registering"
  • To Douglas Jardine who was swatting a persistent fly away from his face: "Leave our flies alone. They're the only friends you've got here.".
  • To a slow batsman: "Send 'im down a piano, see if 'e can play that!"
  • To an even slower batsman: "I wish you were a statue and I were a pigeon."
  • Quoted by Arthur Mailey in 10 for 66 And All That after being hit all over the place: "O for a strong arm and a walking stick!"

  • Photos


    The sculpture of Yabba by itself as play goes on
    The Yabba statue finds shelter
    Stephen Harold Gascoigne, aka Yabba, the legendary barracker
    New Zealand should be glad Yabba isn't in the stands at the SCG for the last Test
    Yabba doing his day job