Adrian (Aad) Harmsen was born in Leiden in 1925. From a young school age he played football and became a key player in the local football club.

Aad front row, 5th from left.

During WWII he became involved resistance work and in 1945 he was employed as a translator at the Royal Dutch Aiforce. Worried about yet another war looming he migrated to Australia with his wife and young son Peter in 1950. He arrived here at the Bathurst Migration Camp, where he also worked as a teacher and a translator. From here he moved two years later to Hobart, Tasmania.

Harmsen’s journey in Tasmanian football began in the local leagues, where he showcased his exceptional skills with teams like South Hobart and Metro. He not only played but also led these teams to multiple premiership victories, becoming a symbol of excellence in Tasmanian football.

Aad Harmsen heading the ball.

One of Harmsen’s career highlights was representing his state on numerous occasions. He donned the Tasmanian colours proudly, showcasing his prowess at both the state and national levels. In 1954, he achieved a remarkable feat by being the sole Tasmanian player selected for the Australian Combined XI that faced New Zealand, a testament to his exceptional talent and dedication to the sport.

Beyond his accomplishments on the field, Harmsen was widely regarded as one of the finest players of his generation. His contributions to the game extended beyond mere statistics. He embodied the spirit of fair play, never receiving a caution from a referee throughout his illustrious career—a feat that speaks volumes about his sportsmanship and integrity.

Harmsen’s influence transcended the football pitch. Outside of his sporting endeavours, he was a respected teacher of languages, leaving a lasting impact on academic and educational circles. His dedication to both his profession and his passion for football exemplified his character as a well-rounded individual.

Add was also a much appreciated as the Language Supervisor at the Department of Education of Tasmania.

In 2015, Tasmania bid farewell to a legend as Adrian Harmsen passed away in Hobart at the age of 90. Though he may have left this world, his legacy continues to inspire generations of footballers in Tasmania and beyond. Adrian Harmsen will forever be remembered as a true icon of Tasmanian football—a player, a gentleman, and a shining example of sportsmanship and excellence.

See also:

Soccer in Tasmania, Australia and the world