Class of 1928
Ernie “Brom” Bromley will be forever remembered at the College as the first Aquinian to play Test Cricket and the first WA-born cricketer to play for Australia. He was, according to The Sunday Times of 1933, a “…forceful and punching left-hand batsman, a good bowler and a splendid fieldsman.”
Ernie was born in Fremantle and went to the Fremantle Boys’ School, he was subsequently recommended to CBC Perth by one of the Brothers. He was a significant force in the Aquinas Cricket XI and played 1st Grade Cricket for Fremantle. During his time at Aquinas he scored 834 runs at an average of 37.9, including a memorable 146 against Scotch College.
When he left school, Ernie headed for Victoria and played both for the state and St Kilda. In 1934, the year after the famous “Bodyline” series, Ernie was selected in the Australian squad to tour England. On returning to the College to a hero’s welcome that year, Ernie promised “to do his very best” to uphold the traditions of his “Alma Mater”.
Bill Brown, one of the “1948 Invincibles”, told Br Clery in 2006 “Ernie could catch anything. Whenever he returned the ball from the outfield, three to four men had to back up, so strong was his arm”. When playing against “Gentleman of England” in a 1934 tour the English captain asked him to move away from his fielding position a metre or two from the batsman. “She’ll be right”, replied Ernie, before taking a catch a couple of balls later.
Ernie married Elizabeth Winchelsea from Geelong in 1946. He died too young at the age of 54 in 1967, but he will always hold a unique and proud place in the history of Aquinas College and West Australian cricket. In 2004, Ernie was inducted onto the Fremantle Sporting Wall of Fame.