Thursday, 16 March 2017

Boxing Troupes, skating rinks and Harry Steve

Two gentlemen came into the rooms asking about Henry/Harry Steve who was a boxer and also a Boxing Promoter. Harry ( as he was generally known ) was born in South Africa and he was the owner of ????? in South Africa before coming to Australia.

He had a long and successful career as a boxing promoter and his main fighter was Arthur Douglas who was born in South Africa and was a ???? champion fighter with varied and fascinating descriptions of his stature. Harry was a very talented man also and during his life of travels was a promoter, a vet, a hairdresser and publican sometimes all 3 at once.

His second wife Lucy died in Maryborough and is buried in the Maryborough Cemetery, she lived in North St prior to her death. Harry remarried and we established he was cremated in Rockhampton but may have been interred at Biloela and our gentlemen left with this task to discover.

Lets start a little further back Harry had came to the Wide Bay area and was attending other boxing matches and was fairly confident in his ability to properly promote the sport locally and would make comments regularly in the local paper.

Maryborough Chronicle 29/1/1923.. Murphy Johnson Fight

Harry was quite adamant on the management not stopping open betting being conducted and his stated it would tend to put boxing on a very low level indeed.
He believes the majority of people go to view a match from a sportsmanlike attitude and to see two well trained gladiators doing their best to win by fair means. But once the betting enters the game to the extend it did last night the whole thing fell apart.

Very interesting read on the match held between Murphy and Johnson at the Town Hall Maryborough . You can read it here

Harry Steve decided to set up a boxing stadium/ rollerskating rink in Maryborough which was an amazing addition to our town at the time. The story featured in the Maryborough Chronicle went like this:

Boxing and Physical Culture
Converting Naval Hall into Stadium
Raising Standard of Noble Art
Mr H Steves Adventure 1923

What promises to be a very big development in connection with boxing in Maryborough, is at present being arranged by the well-known promoter, Mr Harry Steve. In fact, if the scheme is carried out according to the original plans, and there seems no valid reason why it should not be, the noble art should receive the biggest impetus that has ever been experienced locally. Mr Steve has been for the greater portion of his life engaged in the promotion of big boxing contests. and being fortified with a practical experience extending over many years, he has invariably made good. 

In South Africa he figured prominently in the preparation of some fine men for the ring, and among those was Arthur Douglas, whose name is familiar to every follower of the sport.
For a long time, Mr Steve was located in Durban, where he was secretary and treasurer of one of the biggest clubs in South Africa known as the Lords Amateur Athletic and Cycling Club. Since coming to Australia he has been engaged in business, but has always kept in close touch with the sports he was formerly identified with abroad. His latest project has been t take a lease on the Naval Hall, Maryborough for a term of five years and the preliminary arrangements for the conversion into a sporting rendezvous are now int he course of progress. The principal feature will be to enter for boxing, and the scheme is apparently not going to be dealt with on any mean scale.

A staff of workmen is occupied in transforming the hall for boxing purposes and when this is completed the equipping of the stadium will be proceeded with. The various appointments will be carried out in the most modern style, and nothing will e wanting in this respect, when the first contest is arranged. 
The boxing ring will be 21 feet square overall, and the enclosure itself, 18 feet square, while the seating accommodation for spectators will be arranged on the most modern lines. It is the intention of Mr Steve to endeavor to raise the standard of boxing in Maryborough by stringently adhering to the policy of only putting on contests to which he has every confidence from the spectators point of view. He leaves for Brisbane this week in the hope  of arranging some good fights at an early date, and is hopeful that on Eight hour night the first programme will be submitted. Every boxer will require to sign an agreement safeguarding both himself and the promoter, who is out for the best available talent. 

 The Hall which is capable of accommodating 2000 spectators, should be admirably suited for the purpose to which it is being devoted. Mr Steve also purposed inaugurating physical culture classes and gymnastics. The gymnasium is now being constructed, and will be right up to date in every details. The undertaking is a big one, bu the promoter is confident that boxing and the allied sports are popular, and he is determined to place them on a permanent footing. No expense will be spared to attain that end, and the public will be given the opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation of his enterprise. 

As a continuation we thought we would also outline the early history of boxing in Maryborough Qld.. so if you would like to read more on that go to MARYBOROUGH BOXING


1923 'SPORTING.', Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser (Qld. : 1860 - 1947), 17 April, p. 8. , viewed 17 Mar 2017,

PIC/8395 LOC Drawer PIC/8395-Arnold Thomas boxing collection [picture]/[Portrait of Arthur Douglas, South African boxer who fought in Australia, 1] [picture] /

 1877,  Arnold Thomas boxing collection [picture]  <>

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