CHAMPION COLUMN | Guess who's coming to dinner

Recently, I was asked that curly party question: "What famous person from history would you invite to dinner?" Mmm . . . Jesus? Mozart? "Tom Fitzpatrick," I said. "Who?" I don't have a lot of historian heroes but if there's one person who's been undervalued when it comes to keeping Liverpool's history alive, it's undoubtedly the Liverpool-born and -bred Tom Fitzpatrick (pictured, with dad Mick). In 1960, Tom, then 68, wrote something very poignant: "If I can place on paper some incidents and happenings and in 50 years or so the paper comes to light, then history goes on." So here we are, 59 years later, discussing Tom's "on paper" recollections. He was born on Bigge Street, Liverpool, in 1892. Liverpool was his playground. He'd later record his memories of playing around Bigges' Square (sic). He waxed lyrical about the football and cricket teams that played there. He detailed the people who lived and worked along Liverpool streets. He seemed to know everyone in town. He took up cycling and became the secretary of Liverpool Cycling Club in 1913. During WWI, he was involved in almost every group in Liverpool, many supporting the war effort. In the early 1930s he left Liverpool to live at Cabramatta. He was a foundation member of Cabramatta Bowling Club and secretary of Cabramatta Labor Party. He made history, too. He gained legend status as the man who convinced Gough Whitlam to move to Cabramatta to be Werriwa MP. Tom began writing weekly about Liverpool for the Fairfield Biz in the early 1950s. In his own knockabout casual writing style, he penned columns like Looking Back and Back Peddling and he'd delve into the names and places of the Liverpool he grew up in. Thankfully, you can now read most of these articles on the National Library's Trovewebsite. I'm not sure if Tom would approve of the newfangled paperless age. If I could invite him to dinner, I'd ask him.

GLEN OP DEN BROUW

President, Liverpool & District Historical Society

This story Guess who's coming to dinner first appeared on Liverpool City Champion.

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