Decades ago, every capital city, suburb and country town had a snooker room where snooker and billiards were extremely popular sporting pastimes. It was billiards that produced the amazing Walter Lindrum, regarded around the world as billiards' greatest exponent.
Born in Kalgoorlie, Lindrum was the end product of three generations of champion billiard players and the greatest of them all. In his time, Lindrum was known in every civilised country on earth. Royalty had been charmed by his artistry and the rest of the world sat back in awe as this dashing Australian rewrote all the record books in lightning fashion.
The "nursery-cannon" was Lindrum's hallmark shot and in 1928 this amazing player set the scene for years to come when he made a break of 2743 points, and the next year shocked a big crowd in Sydney to win the Australian title with a 2030-point break. Now ready for international competition, Lindrum arrived in South Africa in 1930 and unbelievably gave world rated Frank Feraro 20,000 points start in a exhibition match. After a week's play, he came away the winner by 6000 points.
Arriving in England for his world title clash with Joe Davis and winning the toss, Lindrum made a fast opening break of 100 points in just 62 seconds. Davis never recovered from this early assault and Lindrum went on to win the world title in untroubled style. Such was his status, Lindrum gave an exhibition at Buckingham Palace before King George V, the only ever player granted such leave.
Finally, he was that proficient at the sport that authorities outlawed his famous "nursery-cannon" shot and introduced the "baulk-line" rule to stem the Lindrum tide. However, such rule changes failed to halt the amazing Lindrum as he continually plundered all before him.
Officialdom now regarded him a menace and decided to introduce, internationally, a new cotton cloth to cover all championship tables. Several months later, Lindrum demolished another Joe Davis challenge by 4000 points, and the new cloth was quickly discarded.
There was even talk of introducing a fourth ball to the game, but it was then pointed out that with four balls on the table, Lindrum was capable of even doubling his gigantic scores. This idea was also smartly dropped, especially after Lindrum rattled up another lung-busting break of 1235 points by taking three balls, three times around the table in his world title defence in London the following month in 1933.
The rules of the game were changed many times to halt his efforts and still this unchallenged champion defied all these measures to excel to even greater heights. Such was his mastery of the game that challenges to his world crown were nigh on zero. His supremacy worldwide remained unquestioned and after he retired in 1947, he had established 57 world records, many of which (32) remain unbroken to this day.
Preparing for a charity event at Surfers Paradise in 1960, he suffered a massive heart attack and died aged 61. This wonderful and highly revered Australian, the likes of whom will never be seen again, is interned in the Melbourne General Cemetery. Upon his last resting place is a large marble and granite ledger featuring a billiard table, cue and three billiard balls.