Founding rugby club members’ green power reunion lunch
Founding rugby club members’ green power reunion lunch



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Founding rugby club members’ green power reunion lunch

Calling the old and the bold – founding members of Macquarie’s rugby club will be having a 50 year reunion on Friday 16 June.

Pioneer student James Lloyd (BA 1972) and other members of the club who played between 1967 and 1978 are hosting the event.

“We had a great 50-year reunion last year, but when we thought about it, we realised that 2016 was only 49 years since students began at Macquarie,” James says, “so we thought we’d better have another one.”

He says that when the first students came to Macquarie, the sports association was very keen for them to establish lots of clubs and enthusiastically provided start-up funds.

The rugby club was one of the first to be created.

“There was one field where we trained and played home games, but there were no dressing sheds or showers, so the team used the bank on campus as a changing room – it wasn’t uncommon to see half naked blokes running through the bank chamber,” says James.

The unorthodox arrangement was thanks to Ian Furze who was one of the club’s founders but was also the manager of the local CBC Bank branch which had been established in one of the old houses that still dotted the campus.

“The university’s first 400 students started at the university in March (with many of them women), and the rugby competition started in April so it was a scramble to find 15 blokes to play in time.

“As the season wore on, quite often someone wouldn’t show up for the game, so we had to rope in spectators.

“One bloke had come to watch the game dressed in casual clothes and boat shoes. We were able to give him a jumper but he had to play the game on the wing in his boat shoes. It was all pretty unsophisticated.

He says that the team won the Judd Cup – a remarkable feat for a club in its first year. “The atmosphere was fantastic – we won the semi final in extra time and won the grand final three-nil, so it was pretty close.”

James says that the rugby club was well organised and widely supported, including by the then Vice-Chancellor Professor  Alex Mitchell, who saw sport as a great way of binding the university, and was club patron.

“There were other clubs, including soccer, basketball, tennis, squash and the Hunt Club, which had no horses or hounds and seemed to exist for the sole purpose of holding a ball in the E7B courtyard, and the Maquanauts, the university’s diving club.

“We all admired them: when you wanted to start a club, you presented Jim Campbell, an ex-Army Colonel who was in charge of sport (and later became the first president of the rugby club) with a budget, and he supplied the necessary funds.

“Most clubs requested funding for some jumpers and a few balls, but the Macronaughts’ list included diving tanks and a fishing tinny with an outboard motor, which were duly handed over,” he says.

Anyone who played for Macquarie’s rugby team in its first decade is warmly invited to attend the reunion lunch. For more information contact Graham Mackie on 0412 057 165.


Comments (4)

  1. JEAN WATSON

    I was an early member of the Macquarie Mountaineering Club – many of whom still keep in touch with each other today – it provided us all with a massive amount of fun and terrific experiences that were unique and character forming
    It was disappointing not to see this sports club mentioned above.

    Warm regards
    Jean Watson

    Reply
    1. David Han Post author

      Hi Jean

      We would love to hear more of your experiences with the Macquarie Mountaineering Club, and share it with our broader alumni. Please contact us via email alumni@mq.edu.au or call +61 2 9850 7310.

      Regards
      David

      Reply
  2. Margery Street

    There was also a Fishing Club in the early ’70s! There is one photo displayed, among other early sports club photos, on the lower level of the gymnasium. It was started by my brother-in-law, Wayne Street, who was acquainted with Ted O’Keefe.

    Margery Street

    Reply
  3. John Clowes

    Macquarie University Rowing Club started in the early 70′s with a dedicated band of male and female members. We repaired our own boats and rowed in club regattas including our own. Our first Intervarsity was in 1973 at Mildura and a great time was had by all.

    Reply

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