Leonard “Jock” Livingston – Cricketer

From Australia’s Jewish Past:

Leonard “Jock” Livingston

The best Australian Jewish batsman ever

First published in J-Wire March 1, 2022

Leonard “Jock” Livingston was born on 3 May 1920 in Sydney’s Hurlstone Park. He was a most talented cricketer. He also played rugby league and spent three seasons with South Sydney from 1941 to 1943.

He played cricket five times for New South Wales, as a hard-hitting left-handed batsman. He was omitted from the 1948 Australian side to tour England and turned instead to the Central Lancashire Cricket League in England where he played for Royton Cricket Club. He married Marjorie Millward, a local girl, in 1949 and they settled in England.

In 1949–50, when England declined a cricket tour of India, the former England wicketkeeper George Duckworth assembled a Commonwealth side consisting of Lancashire League players, plus a handful of English and West Indian cricketers. Jock was appointed captain of the side. The tour was a great success, with the side playing five unofficial “Tests” against full Indian Test sides.

Jock’s value was not just in the runs that he scored, but also in the style in which he scored them. In a period when defensive batting was commonplace, he hit the ball hard and often and was no respecter of reputation. His presence at Northamptonshire also attracted other talented players, including Australians.

At the end of this tour, he was signed as a batsman by Northamptonshire UK as part of the country’s policy to import talented cricketers. He became an immediate success and over the next eight years was often near the top of the English batting averages.

He retired at the end of the 1957 season, following which he worked for the bat-making company Gray-Nicolls. Jock died on 16 January 1998 and has sometimes been recognized as the best Jewish batsman Australia has produced.

From Australia's Jewish Past is written by Ruth Lilian OAM for AJHS and published weekly in J-Wire. ​