The mining town of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia boasts a claim to fame beyond the gold mines; it is also the birthplace of two Australian billiards enigmas Walter Lindrum and Robert Marshall. While Lindrum entered the world of professional billiards, Marshall opted to maintain his amateur status. Marshall received favourable comparisons to Lindrum throughout his 60- year career.
Robert (Bob) Marshall already achieved professional success as a hairdresser and in his dry-cleaning shop and took part in billiards for the enjoyment of the sport. Although frequently asked to become a professional billiards player, Marshall said he held two goals for his billiards career.
His first goal was a visit to England and the second, to make a thousand break during a championship match. While he did achieve his primary objective, Marshall never made a thousand break while playing for a championship. It is worth noting that Marshall did make a break higher than 1,000. During a practice, he made a break of 1,056; this would remain Marshall’s personal best.
Regarded as One of the Best
Although Marshall remained an amateur, his dominant play rendered him a reputation as one of the best billiard players ever. Renowned professional billiards champion, Wally Lindrum, concurred with this assessment. In 1954, Lindrum stated that Robert Marshall was among the most talented amateur billiards competitors he ever had the pleasure of watching.
Throughout his time playing amateur billiards, Marshall captured the World Amateur Billiards Championship for the years 1936, 1938, 1951, and 1962. With his fourth victory in 1962, Marshall gained the distinction of having won more World Amateur Billiards Championships than any other player.
In addition to his four championship wins, Marshall achieved a second-place finish three times in 1952, 1954, and 1985. In addition to the World Championship, Marshall won 21 Australian Amateur Billiards Championships over the span of 50 years. He earned his last Australian Championship in 1986 at the age of 86.
Military and Early Retirements
Marshall has a large gap of time between championships because he spent a four-year tenure in service of the Royal Australian Air Force, during World War II. Additionally, Marshall retired from amateur billiards in 1963 and again in 1970. His final retirement from the sport came after capturing his last Australian Amateur Billiards Championship in 1986.
After his first two retirements, Marshall returned to the game as good as ever; capturing the titles the year he returned. Many believed that Marshall’s billiards success came as a result of his excellent physical health. He thought physical fitness was paramount and held himself to a high standard. His general regimen before essential matches included daily exercises, four-mile-long runs, an overall healthy diet, and retiring for bed at 9:00 pm. Marshall also did not smoke and avoided consuming alcohol throughout his life.
A Record-Breaking Career
Along with championships in various venues of amateur billiards play, Marshall broke records in several billiards categories including the highest aggregate in a two-hour span of time, the highest aggregate during four-hours of gameplay and setting a two-hour period average of 118.7. These records are still unbroken today.
Even though billiards and his business demanded much of Marshall’s time, he also proved he was a force to be reckoned with when playing the game of snooker. Marshall won the Australian Amateur Snooker Championship in 1956. He competed in the snooker championship finals on four other occasions.
After Marshall’s first retirement, he entered the political arena. In 1965, he won the Western Australia State election and earned the seat of Maylands. While serving in the Legislative Assembly, Marshall represented the Liberal Party.
Honours and Distinctions
During his lifetime, Robert Marshall received various honours and distinctions including:
- In 1960, the Western Australian Billiards Association named him a “Life Member” citing the many ways that Marshall advanced the sport of billiards both abroad and at home in Australia.
- Marshall received the distinction of back to back selections as the Western Australian Sports Star Award in 1962 and again in 1963. This award is now known as the Western Australian RAC Sports Star Award, and it is often called the highest esteemed sports award in Western Australia.
- In 1980, Marshall received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service worthy of particular recognition. With this honour, Marshall won the national distinction he earned through the decades spent representing his nation in a positive way around the world.
- The Western Australian Hall of Champions received Marshall as a member in 1985. This award goes to a citizen of Western Australia who is no longer competing and has reached the highest level of competition attainable in their sport. Marshall’s fellow billiards champion Walter Lindrum was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Champions the same year.
- The Australian Billiards and Snooker Council introduced the Bob Marshall Medal after his death in 2004.
Bob Marshall permanently retired from amateur billiards competition in 1986. His numerous achievements and accolades served to advance the sport of amateur billiards play throughout the nation of Australia and around the globe. He passed away at the age of 93 on February 23, 2004, in Perth, Western Australia.
- Make-A-Wish Australia grants the healing power of a wish to children aged 3-18 who are battling life-threatening illnesses.
- Wishes give seriously ill kids hope for the future, strength to face the challenges of their illness, and joy from their incredible wish experience.
- Every single wish is designed to build anticipation and resilience to help a child in the fight for their health.
Quedos is proud to have participated in a recent wish by supplying a pool table.
Please consider Donating to Make-A-Wish Australia. Your donation means more wishes for children battling critical illness.
Get involved by going to: makeawish.org.au