It was sad to hear over the weekend of the passing of a man who had every right to be called the “Gentleman of Hockey,” Kevin Carton.
I never saw Kevin play hockey, but grew to know the man when he was in charge at the Sheraton Perth.
Kevin was born in Lucknow, India in 1933 and was one of many Anglo Indian who migrated to Australia after the partition of India in 1947 and had such a huge impact on Western Australian and Australian hockey.
Kevin was a member of Australia’s first hockey Olympic team for the 1956 Melbourne Games, and when India played against Australia, was one of five Anglo-Indians on the field — four of them playing for Australia, and only one on the Indian side.
Kevin was also a member of the 1964 Tokyo team. He then was made captain of the team, now known as the Kookaburras and would lead them from 1961-1963. When the Rome Olympic Games came around Carton not only saw the captaincy taken off him by coach Charlie Morley but also no seat on the plane. He was not alone as Gordon Pearce, one of the famous Pearce brothers, also Anglo Indians was left behind as well. Australia went on to win its first Olympic medal, a bronze with a 3-2 win over Spain after extra time.
Kevin remained involved with hockey, and was a leading figure in the founding of Hotspurs club and captained the side in 1971.
If you ask anyone who met or knew Kevin, through sport or his career in the travel and tourism industry, they will all tell you he was always impeccably turned out. He always looked the part, whatever he was about to embark on. He was also quietly spoken, but with an air of authority. When he spoke to you it was almost as if he was confiding in you. He was a gentleman, when sporting bred gentlemen; but he still had a fire in his belly and a competitive streak.
After achieving so much on the Hockey pitch, Kevin continued to achieve and those achievements were recognised with a number of prestigous awards. He received the Australian Sports Medal (1999) and the Order of Australia Medal (2000) as well as the Australian Centenary Award for services to tourism and hockey. As mentioned he was a leading figure in the travel industry working for Ansett and the Sheraton, and in 1995 became chairman of the board of the Western Australian Tourism Commission.
Kevin Carton touched many lives on and off the Hockey pitch and left a definite mark on Western Australia, which clearly became his home. May he rest in eternal peace.