Hero photograph
Photo by Yvonne Avis

Historians Corner - Gerald Keddell.


Waitaki Boys' 1900 - 1903

Born in 1885, Gerald was the seventh son of Mrs RD Keddell and Major G.Keddell of Invercargill.He was educated at Oamaru Middle School and at Waitaki Boys’ High School from 1900 – 1903.At Waitaki Boys’ he distinguished himself as a scholar, but was also the Senior Athletic Champion in his final two years. After High School he became a qualified solicitor and was admitted to the Bar. He practiced law in Otautau and Invercargill until the outbreak of WW1 in 1914.In the 1924-25 Waitakian it states“…besides possessing fine social qualities and high intellectual attainments , Gerald held a reputation in the athletic world that has probably been excelled by no other New Zealander”In 1905-6 he won the NZ 120yd hurdles and the broad jump (todays long jump).In 1908-09 he again won the NZ 120yd hurdles in 16.6 seconds and in 1910-11 he set a NZ and Australasian record of 15.3 seconds. For three consecutive years from 1910-12 Gerald won the Australasian 120yd and 440yd hurdles.The first time he competed at the NZ Championships in the broad jump in 1908 he created a sensation by leaping 23ft 3in (roughly 7m), 15 years later at the time of his death in 1923 this was still a NZ record as was his 120yd hurdles record still a NZ record.Like so many great athletes who did return from the war he came back from that struggle broken down in health. He was one of four brothers who fought in the great war. His younger brother Rex was killed at the battle of Passchendaele in October 1917.Again from the 1924-35 Waitakian “Tributes to the memory of the deceased have been lavishly paid by the press of the Dominion………the whole of the sporting world of NZ keenly regrets the passing of Gerald P Keddell, Southland’s champion athlete.He was, everyone who knew him will admit, the finest personality we have ever had in NZ – one who never flattered himself because of his many sterling performances, but was ever willing to acknowledge the brilliancy of the other fellow, and was always eager to help along the interests of his favourite sport – that of amateur athletics.Gerald Keddell passed away in 1923 in Clyde, Central Otago, following a protracted illness. He was 38 years of age.His memory lives on at Waitaki Boys’ through the Keddell Memorial Plaque located in the Blundell Block of the school. For a time this shield was presented to the winner of the NZ110 yd hurdles title and also through the Keddell Cup, which is still awarded to the Senior Long Jump Champion.He is now also recognised as an original inductee into The Waitaki Boys’ High School Sports Hall of Fame.Gerald P KeddellWaitaki Boys’ High School 1900-1903Australasian 120yd and 440yd Hurdles Champion 1910-12NZ Record Holder 120yd Hurdles and Long Jump

The late Mr Keddell….held a reputation in the athletic worldthat has probably been excelled by no other New Zealander”Waitakian 1924-25