Bryan Membrey

A farewell to Roy “Mickey” Tollis    Wednesday 5th May 2007

A cold windy day it was, to farewell one of the greats of   The Golden Era of Boxing - Mickey Tollis 26/05/1927-23/05/2007  About 200 boxing people gathered at a Footscray funeral parlour.  It was a little more than 55 years ago Just 150 metres round the corner at a gym above then “Swing Bridge Taxis” in Barkly Street  where we both used train with Ambrose Palmer.    Back at the parlour the obituaries were read with the feeling you would expect for one of the true greats of this Noblest of all the Arts.  I came to this gathering with my friend  young at heart 81 year old  Jimmy Hill who fought Mickey Tollis in a scheduled 12 rounder in 1946, he was put down for a count 7 times during the fight and it was stopped in round 10  in Mickey’s favour.  Merv Williams wrote about it in the Sporting Globe as “a sensational fight, both fighters in round 9 went back to their corners on rubbery legs.” “By comparison the Louis Conn fight  seemed like a schoolgirls squabble”. Said Merv.


Both these young men later became members of The Masonic Lodge, they always were great lifelong friends.  One of the notable characteristics Mickey Tollis had a crushing  handshake - like the grip of a grizzly bear.... well I remember reading one of the notices in the newspaper prior to the funeral which went something like this  “MICKEY, SHAKE THE ANGELS HAND GENTLY” that struck a cord with me…. a lovely touch of humour


At the funeral parlour and Burial at Altona Memorial Park Cemetery there was quite a team,-Snowy Coates, Arty Scott, Arnold Thomas, Frank Maher, Frankie Scott, Mario Magris, Jack Rennie with wife Nita, Brian Young, Sid Ellis, Nick Farrelly, Long  John McCubbin, Mick Fay, Henry Nissen, and Jackie Tucker, just to name a few who attended.

Good luck Mickey! we’ve all got wonderful memories of you.

Bryan Membrey

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