A History of Rugby in Victoria

researched & written by Ron Grainger

SOME EARLY RUGBY VENUES

An 1880’s photograph from the tower of Government House showing some of the early rugby venues. [Photo courtesy G.Barker] The East Melbourne Cricket Ground, on the left of Jolimont Road … Continue reading

October 12, 2014

RUGBY CHALLENGE CUP 1896

The Nash Challenge Cup was introduced for competition in the mid 1890s, and is known to be played for in the 1895 and ’96 seasons between the rugby clubs of … Continue reading

October 11, 2014

AT PLAY ON THE FIELDS OF THE LORD

Victorian era rugby attracted its fair share of muscular Christians; amongst them were three Britons who briefly trod the Antipodean stage in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. Charles … Continue reading

October 10, 2014

INTER-VARSITY RUGBY

While in more recent times the VRU only gave passing acknowledgement to the involvement of Melbourne University (and much later Monash and Latrobe) in inter-varsity rugby they reported in detail … Continue reading

October 9, 2014

DONNING THE STATE JERSEY

Clad in jerseys of blue and gold hoops this Victorian Rugby team (above) in August 1908 played against the soon to be dubbed First Wallabies as they commenced their long … Continue reading

October 7, 2014

THE MAORIS IN MELBOURNE 1910

The NZ Maoris played two games in Melbourne at the end of their 1910 Australian tour. For these successors to the New Zealand Natives this was their first officially sanctioned … Continue reading

October 6, 2014

VICTORIA’S RUGBY REBEL

In the Victorian team in 1909-10 was Albert E. Freear of East Melbourne, reported to be ‘a tower of strength.’  As far as is known Freear (sometimes spelt Freer) was … Continue reading

October 6, 2014

LOST LADS OF 1914

Two days after WWI was declared (4/8/1914) this photo above appeared of the ‘East Melbourne Rugby Football Team’ in the Victorian newspaper Table Talk. Frustratingly for us a century on … Continue reading

October 5, 2014

VICTORIAN COLOURS & EMBLEM (1929)

Historic Victorian rugby photograph from National Library of Australia collection showing G.S.Sturtridge (capt) & C.McNeilage (v/capt) – Victorian Rugby team’s tour of NSW 1929. In 1928 some of the money … Continue reading

October 5, 2014

RUGBY AT THE MCG 1878 TO WW2

The first game of Rugby Union to be played on this famous ground was on Saturday, 29 June 1878, when the Waratah Club of Sydney played Carlton. The match, watched … Continue reading

October 4, 2014

EXHIBITION OVAL MATCHES

One little known venue for several Rugby games in the late ‘twenties was the Exhibition Oval. Long used for various sports and festivals, notably cycling and (more controversially) motor cycling. … Continue reading

October 4, 2014

REPRESENTING VICTORIA

Understandably the first Victorian teams were made up of players who had been born and introduced to Rugby elsewhere, mainly in Great Britain or in the colonies of New Zealand, … Continue reading

October 4, 2014

WEARY DUNLOP IN ACTION

A photograph of a 1934 match between the NSW Waratahs and Victoria. The central defender in the background (sporting a protective nose-guard) is Victoria’s Weary Dunlop. Research & content Ron … Continue reading

October 3, 2014

THE LONG HAUL

The last two of the pre-WW2 inter-state matches were the first to be played against Western Australia in Perth and only the second and third against that State. The Victorian … Continue reading

October 1, 2014