Jack Hartley
Full names: Arthur James
Date of birth: 18 Aug 1873
Place of birth: Krugersdorp
School: Diocesan College (Bishops)
Springbok no: 24
Debut test province: Western Province
Date of death: 15 May 1923 (Age 49)

Test summary: Tests: 1 Tries: 0
First Test: 5 Sep 1891 Age:18 Right Wing against Britain at Newlands, Cape Town
Last Test: 5 Sep 1891 Age:18 Right Wing against Britain at Newlands, Cape Town
Test history:
05 Sep 189118Right WingBritainLose: 0-4 Newlands, Cape TownWP

The Youngest Springbok : Doc Craven

Arthur James (Jack) Hartley represented South Africa as a winger in the third test against Bill MacLagan's British team in 1891. The match was played at Newlands on the 5th of September and was captained by Alf Richards who also selected the team.

Jack Hartley attended the Diocesan College (Bishops) in Cape Town, eventually settling in the Magaliesburg where the family farmed.

It has proved impossible to trace his birth certificate but from information contained in "The Hartley Story" (Mrs Berrington, Cathcart) and by virtue of some superb detective work by Adrian Hartley of Johannesburg, who unearthed Jack's father's will, we have discovered that Jack was born on the 18th of August 1873. Indeed this is so stated in his father's will as are the dates of birth of the other children.

This makes Jack a mere stripling of 18 years and 18 days on that Saturday afternoon in 1891, by far the youngest Springbok rugby player ever. Prior to Paul Dobson "discovering" Jack Hartley the youngest Springbok was thought to be D. O. (Dai) Williams who was 18 years 5 months and 5 days old when he played against Cardiff on the 21st of November, 1931.

The youngest international rugby players ever were Ninian Finlay and Charles Reid, both of whom represented Scotland as schoolboys, Finlay in 1875 and Reid in 1881. Both were 17 years and 36 days old when they played in their country's colours.

18 years seems awfully young for a rugby player in an international but it must be borne in mind that he played on the wing where speed counted for more than strength and moreover he came from hardy, pioneering stock. Jack's grandfather, Henry, came to South Africa with the 1820' Settlers and became a legend of his time. A farmer who initiated the cultivation of tobacco later to become renowned as "Magaliesburg tobacco", he in fact preferred big-game hunting and is credited with having killed over 1 000 elephants in what was to become Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He also squired Thomas Baines around Matabeleland and Mashonaland and is recognised as having "discovered" Victoria Falls on the Zambesi, at least five years before David Livingstone. The town of Hartley (now Cheguto) was named after him.

Jack, who married Eva Klisser and had four children by her, was the financial and managerial brains behind the vast Marico and Magaliesburg estates. He passed away in the Tamboerskloof Nursing Home on 15th May 1923 and was buried at Muizenberg.