Recently, while I was delivering some pool tables, Perth teenagers who were standing nearby could be heard calling out references to Eddie Charlton. The fact that they knew who Eddie was at first surprised me, but after giving it more thought I realised I shouldn’t have been surprised at all.
Eddie Charlton is to Australian snooker what Phar Lap is to horse racing. A name synonymous with a sport. His influence and lasting memory is testament to what he meant to the sport at a time when it enjoyed a surge in popularity and participation.
Edward Francis Charlton was born on 31st October 1929 in Merewether, NSW. This part of Australia was dominated by mining during this time so it comes as no surprise that his father was a coal miner. Eddie grew up as part of a sporting family and in actual fact was quite the all-round sportsman himself. He played grade football, surfed very well, excelled at cricket and was a handy boxer.Eventually, billiards won out as his preferred game and in this he was brilliant. After following his father into the mines, Eddie was persuaded to concentrate on cue sports as a profession by Fred Davis. Incidentally, Eddie’s brother Jim was also a professional snooker player.
By this time Eddie was already 34 years of age, which would put him in the veteran stakes of today’s players. However, he went on to win the Australian Billiards Championships nineteen out of the next twenty years. Quite an amazing feat! He was also a finalist of the World Billiards Championships on four occasions between 1974 and 1988.
Snooker however, is the game which Eddie is known for by millions. His wins on the BBC’s Pot Black in 1972, 1973 and 1980 afforded him a high profile with TV audiences, and although he never won the World Championships, he was regarded as being one of the world’s best players. He placed runner up in the Snooker World Championships three times and is the only person never to win either the snooker or billiards titles having been runner up in both. Eddie was also the first player to score a century break on Pot Black. The achievement is all the more special considering in those days the matches were one frame affairs. It was a truly magnificent career and he was still firmly entrenched in the top ten rankings at 55 years of age. By the time he played his final match at The Crucible, Eddie Charlton was over 60.
Recognition came via the Order of Australia, which Eddie was awarded in 1980. He continued to be active in the sport for the rest of his life and when Eddie sadly passed away in New Zealand in 1994, it emerged that he had played and beat 15 opponents in a single night just three days previously. A true legend.
If Eddie Charlton’s story inspires you to try your hand on the pool tables, Perth cue sport specialists Mr. Billiards is ready to provide any pre and post-sales support you need.