Born in Cambridgeshire, England, in 1866, Fred Barlow came to Australia at the age of nineteen.
Having followed rural pursuits for a while on the North Coast, he married and settled at Granville.
During the 1890’s he was employed for several years at Hudson Bros. A prominent figure during a big strike at the works, he was largely instrumental in obtaining better conditions for the men.
After leaving Hudson Bros, he started his own business in Granville as a tobacconist and the supplier of imported soccer football gear.
It was in the football sphere that Fred Barlow was most widely known. First as a player he was a member of the Granville Magpie eleven for some years, and later as an administrative officer. A fine exponent of the code, he gained representative honours playing for NSW in Interstate matches in the early 1890’s.
Of Fred Barlow, one of his playing colleagues said: "A cleaner player never kicked a ball. On and off the field he played the game at its finest."
As an executive officer, Fred Barlow gained high distinction in the football world. He was president of the New South Wales Football Association, also founder and president of the nation’s first national body, the Commonwealth Football Association.
In those high offices, he did much to advance the code in this country, and in the annuls of Australian Football his name is indelibly engraved.
In the Granville district of course, he was virtually the "Father of Football."
Prominent in the formation of the Granville Association, he served in many official positions but mostly as Secretary, he became its central and dominant figure.
Granted a special charter, the Association developed into a powerful organisation, and Granville had a football nursery without its equal in the Commonwealth.
He had the vision to promote and foster Football in the schools, and for many years Fred Barlow provided medals for school competitions, and in many other ways encouraged the youngsters.
From the schools, the boys passed into the Association teams, and ultimately, if they were good enough, into the district eleven, the mighty Granville Magpies.
He passed away in 1935.
In 2020, the Granville & Districts Football Association introduced the 'Fred Barlow Medal', awarded to the best Premier League player of the season, as voted by the referees.