GREAT ATHLETE: Jerry Jerome was one of Australia's well-known boxers and for a time was the middleweight champion.
GREAT ATHLETE: Jerry Jerome was one of Australia's well-known boxers and for a time was the middleweight champion. Contributed by Ray Humphreys

Early Days: Memories of the ‘Warra Cyclone’

IT WAS a race to settle an argument and the two competitors lined up to make the dash.

The race took place at Warra and the argument was about who was the fastest over a short distance.

Was it the racehorse with mounted jockey or the champion athlete and boxer Jerry Jerome?

Both groups arranged bets on the outcome. The distance was probably 75 yards.

The race was on and Jerry led the way for most of the distance, but then the horse began to gain ground.

The winning post was near with Jerry in front and he made his final burst but so did the jockey on the horse. It was a photo finish, with the horse getting the decision by a nose.

That produced a bigger argument than before.

Those who lost argued they were cheated as the horse should have measured from the breastplate or, if measured from the nose, then Jerry should have been allowed to extend his arm and thereby score the win.

The only way to settle the argument was to call all bets off – which made everyone happy. Summed up, it meant the runner and the horse were about equal.

Jerry Jerome was referred to as the ‘Warra Cyclone’ and was an amazing athlete.

It seems he was quite a swimmer too.

At one time all the creeks and the river were in flood when Bill Francis was accidentally shot through the knee.

His brothers Frank and Dick were at Kogan on the other side of the river.

The locals asked Jerry if he could convey news of the accident to the brothers.

The daring Aborigine entered the river after he planned which trees he would swim to.

He took a short rest at each before moving on to the next one.

All the while he was being carried downstream, Jerry worked to the other side and soon found himself on the road to Kogan.

After running all the way, he was soon there crossing several fast-flowing creeks on the way.

After notifying the two brothers, the three returned on horseback. At the river they slipped off their horses and took hold of their tails and were pulled back across the flooded river, after being swept about a mile downstream.

Bill Francis had to have his leg amputated, but survived the operation to live a full life.

With amazing feats like that, it is no wonder Jerry Jerome was a legend even outside the boxing ring.


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