Tony Jackman

Courier Mail Article 2004

Tony Jackman is one of the best known bridge players in Queensland and this status is only partly due to his role as bridge correspondent for the Courier Mail. He grew up in Brisbane and was dux of St Joseph’s College and has been at the very top of players in the state for some decades. He has played with a remarkable array of Queensland Leading players and has won most of the state titles for which he is eligible. In addition he is well known for his extensive activities as a bridge teacher. He formed a playing partnership with Mike Robson in the seventies which lasted for more than a decade. Among the most notable of his victories were the NSW pairs in 1962 and the National Pairs in 1972 and a string of state and Gold Coast titles. One unique achievement of which he is proud is that in 1981 when he won mixed titles at each of Club, State and National level in the one year. Administratively he has served in many roles for the QBA and is presently vice President. He is also well known for his role as Convenor/Chairman of the Gold Coast Congress for many years.

Eulogy written by Kim Ellaway, Manager QBA and read by Richard Ward to the masses who attended the funeral of Tony Jackman.

I first met Tony in 1977 at the Gold Coast Congress and again at the Qld Open Pairs where I was fortunate or perhaps NOT to play against him. Records show that he won the Open Pairs that year and I remember certainly assisting him with this win. People in Mount Isa where I came from back then considered him to be the Guru of Bridge especially to us country folk. In 1981 I moved to Brisbane which meant I had the pleasure to play against him a lot more. Congress Bridge was played once a month back then not like today where you can play every weekend. My opinion of Tony at the bridge table is that he was always a gentleman and never spoke badly about his partners or to his opponents.

I then met Claire in 1986 when she assisted Tony in his task of running the Gold Coast Congress – this he did till 2005. Who would have known that in 1996 I would be assisting Tony and Claire in running this successful international congress. In Tony’s time the event went from cramming the Chevron Hotel, moving to the Gold Coast ANA then cramming the ANA and the Gold Coast International which meant doubling the number of tables over a short time.

Tony’s aim at the start of every Gold Coast Congress was to have a drink with every player participating at the event – he worked very hard for this to happen. In the earlier days at the Chevron, the congress held a BBQ around the pool, Tony felt that this still had to happen at the ANA however the entertaining area around their pool was much smaller so as numbers grew he decided that it was easy enough to take down all the playing tables with everything on them, stack them – let players eat and mingle on the playing area and then an hour before play was to begin, have the room back assembled to play. This is where we met Tim who quickly announced to all that he was the chief caddy – wonder if he ever worked out he was the only caddy. By the way In all the years the bbq was held on the playing area of Floor 4, we were always ready in time to start play.

As the Gold Coast Congress grew we went from the Chevron to the ANA and then when we were full at the ANA, Tony saw no reason the congress could not be held at two hotels next door to each other – they were his words. The distance between the two hotels was in fact 500 metres. He was right though, the move to two hotels was successful and then in 2006 we had to move to a bigger venue. Tony saw this opportunity to step down as convenor much to my horror and I from that day lovingly called him the deserter everytime he rang and that was 13 years ago. He continued to play at the Gold Coast Congress and is still the only player who has played at every single Gold Coast event and in 2021 we hold our 60th.

Over time, Tony had his wife, son, nephew, sister in law, sister in laws children and grandchildren working or should I say volunteering at the event and he was also proud to have his daughter Jenn playing in the event at one time.

Some memories I have of Tony is going into a lunchtime meeting with two very distinguished Japanese men after ordering his beer, he argued with these gentlemen that the venue rent was far too high and he was not paying what they wanted and that he wanted to bring his own wine in for the hospitality and prizes and that he would cater at our hospitality etc. There was lots of nodding and I understood nothing but on our drive home with me driving of course Tony was very pleased with the outcome and the agreement from them. I heard none of what Tony understood but everything he asked for happened at the event. I was in continual awe of how he handled these high level meetings.

Bridge Congresses attended by Tony stocked beer that Tony liked as if he went to a Congress and they stocked beer not to his taste, he would not reappear at the event ever again. It was so important to most clubs, to have Tony attend it was on their list of jobs to do.

My kids grew up with Tony and when he rang and if they answered he always took time in asking them how they were going and what they were doing. Both my children recall asking Tony whether he wanted a coffee – it was 10.00 am mind you. He said no thanks Sport but wouldn’t mind a yellow tin with four x’s on it. They never asked him what he wanted again but produced a nice cold XXXX every time.

Some years ago Tony started a social bridge club with Denise Dodd at the Irish Club and hence the name the Irish Bridge Club. It has since changed name however to this day it is an extremely successful club. Many of his students from that club are with us today.

Since Tony gave up convening the Gold Coast Congress I have spoken to him at least once a month if not more and when tragedy has struck my family in recent years he was one of the first on the phone.

On August 6 this year, Tony and Claire were joining me and a few friends for lunch, it was not to be and he and Claire were greatly missed.

There are a lot of bridge friends here today and they will all have a favourite Tony story I am sure.

Tonys bridge achievements are well known:

National AchievementsAustralian Pairs 1972
McCutchen Trophy Winner 1972
Australian Open Team at Far East Championships 1973
Australian Mixed Pairs 1981, 1992
Australian Seniors Pairs 1998
Australian Seniors Teams 1998, 2000, 2013
State AchievementsQBA Vice President 1987-2007
Gold Coast Congress Convenor 1986-2005
QBA Liason Officer 1986-2018
Gold Coast Teams Championship
1962, 1963, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1977
Queensland Teams Championship
1962, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1977, 1978,
1980, 1981, 1982, 1995, 1996, 2006, 2010, 2013
Queensland Open Pairs Championship
1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1977, 1981, 1983, 2002,
Queensland Mixed Pairs Championship
1977, 1981, 2010
Queensland Men’s Pairs Championship
1992, 1993, 2000, 2010
Queensland Seniors Pairs Championship
1999, 2002, 2004, 2011
Queensland Mens Pair’s Championship
1992, 1993, 2000, 2010
Queensland Senior Teams Championship
Queensland Mixed Teams Championship
Queensland Open Representative Team
1962, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1995, 1996
Queensland Seniors Representative Team
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009,

Courier Mail Bridge columnist – over 20 years

He has a QBA Trophy named after him as well as a Gold Coast Trophy

Friend and Mentor of mine – forever

The bridge world will be a sadder place without Tony. My heart is sad and I miss his regular phone calls already. Tony – play a lot of bridge up there sport as there are many a bridge player up there willing to have you as their fourth.

Kim Ellaway

September 2018