– Kevin Taylor passes

We don’t often write about the death of people mainly because the nature of this organisation sees the demise of many of our former players and officials.  However we make one exception: Kevin Taylor.  A name known in Sydney football between the 1970s-90s to many, mostly as K.T.  Kevin died last Tuesday as a result of lung cancer, he was 83.

He played a big part in changes to the game after he moved to Sydney from Melbourne in 1976 to manage a large Sydney Cinema which was part of the Village Road Show chain.  He was always interested in football and the media and started all this in his early days as the assistant secretary of the Diamond Valley Football league.

Followers of the game today might remember Kevin through his website: Footystats and in the 1990s edited the Sydney Football Record and there was no more well researched and well written publication than this.  He did a wonderful job on the Record, starting in 1979 when he, as part of a coup that took over the management of Sydney football, produced a wonderful series of documents that year.  You can read the copies here.

He was very much pro the VFL coming to Sydney and was part of that coup that set up the eventually failed Sydney Football League 1980-1986.  And in fact wrote a book on the Sydney Swans, a publication that is probably on the book shelves of many of the people reading this article.

In 1978 Kevin hosted the VFL Match of the Day on Channel 7 each Saturday during the season.  He chaired a rather large table of mostly Sydney football identities in a half time session which discussed local footy and also featured a clip of a first grade match.  During that year he interviewed Brownlow Medalist and South Melbourne player, Graham Teasedale and you can view his Erskineville Oval interview here.

In his involvement in Sydney football he was also a member of the NSWAFL Board of Directors; he produced a series of publications in 1980 including one called Between Seasons.  We have only found three of these and you can read them here.  There are more similar documents at our Magpie Sports Offices and we will shortly scan and add these to our online collection.

Kevin was also an Australian Football journalist for the Sunday Telegraph and the Australian during the eighties and he reported live on Sydney Swans home games from the SCG for radio stations, 2GB, 2UE, 2KY and 2SM at the same time, ending each quarter x quarter report with “this is Kevin Taylor reporting exclusively for ….. ”

Kevin supplied statistics for various media outlets and was always on hand for Fox Footy to text through pertinent stats on a particular incident or event that might have just occurred in a game.  He did this right up to a year or so ago.

Kevin was the secretary of the NSW Australian Football History Committee, the name of this group before it incorporated in 2010, the same year he was made a life member of the AFL Sydney.  He was also a benefactor member of the Society which means he made a significant financial contribution to the organisation.  His loss is not only one for his family but also to football in general.  He was a good hand and a likeable bloke.

I will never forget the time in early 1990 when a weekly Saturday Morning radio show on Community Radio Station, 2SERFM particularly concerning Sydney football was started.  League officials went to the Broadway studios to introduce themselves and get a feel for the place;  Kevin was one of those.  Community radio in those days was not particularly well organised (has it changed?) and as the aging 2SERFM panel operator was fiddling with the nobs and dials to produce a better sound, Kevin boomed across the room “for God sake man, get it right!!”  He was such a perfectionist.

 

– Second Grade or Second Division in Sydney?

Sydney football holds a wonderful hoard of historical and interesting data and when we drill down deeper into some of these records we are able to discover new information that provides a far wider view of a particular situation or event.

Such is the case with reserve grade football which later morphed  into another division part of which became ‘Sydney Districts Association’ then Second Division.

When the game was first introduced to Sydney in 1880, clubs only had one grade.  Because some became numerically stronger they formed a second twenty (teams played with twenty players in those days) which on many occasions was called a ‘junior’ grade.  When first researching the subject it took a lot of intense examination to separate an actual ‘junior’ or under age team from a ‘junior’ or second twenty side.

These second twenty teams at first played either between themselves, school teams or clubs that were seen as less talented and just starting.  If they played against a ‘senior’ team, on most occasions they were permitted to play with twenty two or three players on the field as an advantage over the opposition.

When the game was resurrected in Sydney in 1903, eleven clubs fielded senior teams in a competition conducted by the NSW Australian Football League.  The administration in what we would call the reserve grade was conducted by a separate and autonomous group called the NSW Football Association.  Players were not permitted to move between the two grades regardless if they played for the same club.

This group folded during WWI because of the lack of numbers only to be revived in 1919 with similar management and a separate draw.

By 1922 the following clubs participated in the reserve grade: Ashfield, Public Service, Railway, East Sydney, South Sydney, Paddington, Illawarra (St George) and Botany.  In that year there were also eight teams in the first grade.  The trouble was, not all first grade teams had reserve grade sides and this caused problems with the draw.

In the following season the League took over the operation of the seconds and called the competition the NSW Junior Football League.  The errant second grade teams were then officially placed with a singular first grade team and played as the curtain raiser to that particular senior fixture.

Around that time there was also an expansion in the third grade or under 18 in the ‘junior competition’which included:  Dockyards, Glenmore, South Sydney, Lane Cove, Newtown all playing under the governance of the junior football league, not the league.

In 1925 moves were being made to restructure the league and those one team reserve grade clubs were either being told or to put it simply, ‘encouraged’ to fit in with the first grade they were playing before.  Then in 1926 when the league was re-organised, all first grade teams had to field a second grade side with players then able to move freely between each.  Almost none of the reserve grades aligned themselves with the particular first grade club, having said that, some amalgamated.

Then in 1933 the name of the subservient competition was changed to the Metropolitan Australian National Football Association with an autonomous administration continuing to control their operation.  This group functioned completely separate to the league.

Despite an hiatus during WWII the association operated until about 1953 when the senior grade came under a new ‘Sydney Districts Association’ but this appeared to fold in 1954.

It took until 1970 when the Sydney Districts Association was revived which turned into the Second Division the following year and the rest is history.

Check out the history of the clubs in the MANFA.

– What Could Have Been and What Didn’t Happen

The Sydney Football League, NSW AFL, AFL Sydney or whatever title you want to give it, and its had a number of changes over the years, has really made few ground break decisions in its 124 year history.

In many cases the officials who ruled the game simply missed the boat.

The licensing laws only permitted a certain number of licensed clubs to operate in NSW up until the mid 1950s and this number did not vary.

Following WWII, Frank Dixon, who captained and coached the South Sydney club in a very successful period in the 1930s was appointed vice president of the league.  He talked the executive into him approaching the then, Australian National Football Council (ANFC) for a loan of $10,000 to establish a licensed club in Sydney.

Dixon, a staunch Labor man who ended up Deputy Lord Mayor or Sydney City Council, travelled to Melbourne by train in 1949 to attend a ANFC Meeting.  Incidentally, on the train happened to be the prime minister, Ben Chifley.  Dixon returned with the guarantee of the $10,000 from the ANFC but a nervous executive in Sydney went cold on the idea and it never went ahead.

In 1948 three new clubs were admitted to the league, Western Suburbs, Balmain and Sydney University.  Wests were the only club to go on taste success.  They played off in successive grand finals of 1952-53 but had to wait until 1963 until they won a flag.  Neither Balmain nor Sydney University clubs could boast success until much, much later.

In the meantime a team from Illawarra joined the competition in 1949-50 but the travel and their lack of success accounted for their departure.

This was a time when six clubs dominated the competition, Eastern Suburbs, Sydney Naval, Newtown, St George, North Shore and Western Suburbs.  Liverpool joined the competition in 1954 after a couple of successful seasons in the Metropolitan Australian National Football Assn (MANFA – or really a Second Division, which folded in 1953).  It was a time when the league should have bitten the bullet and formed two divisions.  It didn’t.  Sydney was a growing city and the league should have capitalised on the popularity of the game during the war and immediately after.

This was particularly the case again in the early 1960s after Uni had dropped out in 1958 but replaced by new club, Bankstown.  Again they should have travelled down the two division track but failed to act.

In 1960 however they did introduce a dramatic change to Sydney football when they reduced the number of players on the field to 16.  This was thought to produce better football on the smaller Sydney grounds and perhaps encourage the formation of new clubs and reduce the instances of backing up to a minimal.

The purists were enraged with this change and by mid-season clubs forced the hand of the league executive to return to the traditional eighteen aside.

The basically unsuccessful club of Liverpool joined forces with the other battler, Bankstown in 1962 then two years later encouraged another new club, Parramatta to combine with them to form a new club: Southern Districts.  Initially this venture  produced a competitive club but eventually failed.  What it did do in particular was rob a team playing Australian Game from the then far western suburbs.  Parramatta then played out of Mona Park, Auburn.

It was around the same time that efforts were being encouraged to form a licensed club for Australian football in Sydney.  They had enough members, sufficient commitment and had identified premises at 224 Riley Street Surry Hills, a former hotel which was then trading as a private hotel (boarding house).

The prime mover in this action unfortunately died and so without a leader the whole issue fell flat.

Eastern Suburbs had a licensed club at Bondi Junction but as successful as it was could not maintain the repayments to a very expensive loan which funded the addition to the premises and the club fell by the wayside.  North Shore went all out to gain a license in the premises of Polonia Northside soccer club in Walker Street North Sydney. They were successful in this enterprise but unfortunately too this eventually failed.

St George made it to the licensing court but were refused their bid for a license at Olds Park on some technicality.

Despite all this, there has been some success in Sydney football and this was quite recently.

Garry Burkinshaw, the man in charge of Sydney footy between 2007-2014 soon realised there were problems when he took over the reigns.

He listened to the gripes, he looked how they do it in soccer and studied Sydney football.

Burkinshaw maintained that Sydney footy was not as tribal as it is interstate.  Players come to play their game and go.  They don’t stick around for the next game and they certainly don’t stay all day.

He decided the answer was divisionalisation where teams from various clubs of apparent equal strength would be best suited playing against each other.  So, apart from the Premier League competition, a reserve grade team which might have battled in the senior division was dropped to third or fourth division in the new setup.

He took advice from clubs and said there was no real opposition to the model.  He got members from each club in a room and put his proposition.  It took over three months in the planning and together with colleague, Bob Robinson, they introduced a competition which has, for the most part, been extremely successful.

There are more teams winning games and all but St George, Camden and Illawarra clubs, from twenty four participating in the Sydney league,  have participated in finals.

This new and novel competition has promoted success in other clubs too.  Penrith who were down to one team now boast three, North-West are fielding more sides along with Camden and there a four new clubs now participating in the competition. (this article was initially published in 2012)

This new system leaves it open for established teams to field more teams and enthuse new or junior clubs to field senior teams.  The way is open for the establishment of more clubs but most particularly, nearly all competitions in Sydney senior football are competitive.

The downside to divisionalisation is that clubs MUST be particularly organised.  Three teams could be playing at three different locations so all players and officials have had to commit themselves to turn up,  in all probability in these circumstances, there would be not players to back up in the event there is not a full team to take the field.  Each team must be a self contained unit: umpire (if required), goal umpire, runner, water boys, manager, runner etc.

At least one Sydney initiative has succeeded but apparently with those purists at it again is now up for change

 

 

– NSW Football League in 1970

The League premises at 64 Regent Street, Chippendale
NSWAFL premises at 64 Regent Street, Chippendale

We have found an article in a popular 1970 sporting magazine about Sydney Football.

The NSWAFL had purchased their own premises in 64 Regent Street, Chippendale with the help of the Australian Football Council and licensed club of the Western Suburbs Aussie Rules Club, Croydon Park.

Within a few years of that purchase they had renovated the building and added a single storey brick addition at the rear.  This then almost backed onto the rail lines which ran between Central and Redfern.  It is still there but now not owned by the football league.

Things were looking up;  The management of the league was in good hands, they were making a profit each year, the competition was expanding with football being introduced to areas where it was not normally played nor accepted.

You will see in this article (click here) that those in charge were ambitious and keen to see the game develop and they had big ideas for the future of the code in New South Wales.

 The 1970 NSWAFL Staff
The 1970
NSWAFL Staff

Some of these did come to fruition but maybe in a different manner than these people envisaged.

As time goes by, so do the people and three of those in these images are now deceased.

 

– As It Was

1945 NSWANFL Annual Meeting with club delegatesAustralian football in Sydney has been with us since 1880, save an eight year period from 1895.

Compared with today, the code before WWII was never a big competition and in fact, for the most part, the period between the two wars comprised of only six clubs;  and many ask why that is.

There was during that time a second division or to give it its proper name, the Metropolitan Australian National Football Association.  This competition mainly had three grades: A grade or open age, B Grade which was under 18 and C grade which catered for boys under 16.  Other than that younger boys of high school age played the game at some Sydney schools.

The NSW Australian National Football League, as it was known in the early days had the responsibility for the ‘administration’ of the game in the state, apart from the Riverina which aligned itself with the Victorian Country Football League around 1928.

All the roles in Sydney football were elected positions and each senior club had two delegates who comprised league meetings and were able to vote on most items.  These meetings were held each month.  Life members could also vote so it was not unusual in the 40s -70s to see up to 50 people at these monthly meetings.

When the second division came into being in the early seventies they were allotted one vote each as were any country affiliated league and the NSW Junior Union, who was the body ostensibly set up to administer juniors within the state – another anomaly.

To be elected a club delegate to the league was a prized position within a club and many took their role very seriously.

Very early in the piece it was realised the club delegate method was too awkward and cumbersome and yet that is how many leagues throughout Australia conducted their business.

Slowly the league hived off various tasks and duties to sub committees, some of which were comprised of club delegates.  For the most part though, the league maintained its position with the president, secretary and treasurer as the mainstays within the organisation.  Sometimes one or two of the vice presidents might well find themselves involved.

These sub-committees comprised the Protests & Disputes Committee, Finance Committee, Permit and Match, Umpires’ Appointment Board and Selection Committee.

In 1960 a lot of this changed.  Out went the club delegate decision making system, although they still attended monthly meetings.  A committee of management was then introduced that met weekly, normally of a Monday night for most of the year.

From these, one would be appointed ground manager for each game.  In those days the league hired the grounds, manned the gate and took the proceeds from the gates.  This was where the majority of the income was derived to run the league.

The position of Secretary of the League (or general manager), only became fulltime in 1960 and that was with the financial assistance of the Australian National Football Council.

League Headquarters - 64 Regent Street Chippendale
League Headquarters
64 Regent Street Chippendale

It remained a one man show until 1965 when the league took up offices at 64 Regent Street Chippendale when a typist was employed to carry out that and other ancillary duties.

Gradually, with government and other assistance the staff was increased.  The club delegate system finished in 1986 when the governance of the league was removed from the hands of Sydney clubs and given over to an independent commission, although still elected by member clubs and leagues.

This method had its last days in 1998 when the administration of football in NSW was taken over and funded by the AFL.

Some of the leagues and associations within the state are still decided by the electoral system but this number is declining with the AFL almost now controlling the administration and development of the game through a bureaucracy of paid administrators and development staff.

– 1920 Minutes of NSW Football League Meetings

Minute Book
Minute Book

We have been able to located the minutes of the 1920 NSW AFL Annual General Meeting, written in the hand of the secretary, Jim Phelan.  This is the same Jim Phelan after whom the Sydney league’s B & F Medal was named and who is revered in football within the city.

Also, from page 7 are the minutes of the adjourned AGM.  We can only speculate that the first meeting went overtime and the additional business was concluded at the subsequent meeting of the league.

In this document you can read in particular about:

*  The amusement tax bond
*  The Lithgow Club
*  The reformation of the South Sydney Club

and in the adjourned minutes:

*  The Railways Club
*  The availability of Hampden Oval (Trumper Park) for school games
*  The Narrandera Club
*  The Barrier Ranges Association (Broken Hill Football League)
*  Norther Districts League (Newcastle)
*  A letter to Syd Sherrin asking him to send the league two dozen footballs
*  Umpires’ Fees
*  Admission charges to games
and more

This unique document is from one of the sole remaining minute books, 1919-20, of the league which still exist.  Many records, minute books, photographs and other material from the Sydney competition have been tossed however the History Society is slowly attempting to gather what remaining remnants from the competition can be located.

If you know or are aware of the location of any material, regardless of age, which may be of some interest to the the history of the game in Sydney or indeed, NSW, please take the time to contact us.  This will enable us to arrange for it’s rescue and care with a good likelihood of it being exhibited to the public.

Click below to download a copy (it might take you into two pages to achieve this)

1920 NSW AFL AGM Minutes
1920 Adjourned AGM Minutes

NSW v Melbourne FC

Ever s1923-07-31 Sydney Sportsman p.1 A thumbnailince football was played in NSW, a highlight of the season has been the visitation of an interstate team.

Before the establishment of the VFL in 1897 they came from the VFA and South Australia, then after the resurrection of the game in Sydney in 1903 visiting teams came thick and fast:  Geelong, South Melbourne, Williamstown, Carlton, Fitzroy, Collingwood, North Adelaide, Norwood and the list goes on and on.

You can view what teams did visit and how they performed up to 1930 by clicking here and search under ‘Advanced Search’.

On most occasions the visitors left the gate with the NSW Football League to further enhance the game in Sydney.  But, the league battled.  There was never any real foresight, planning and strategies put in place to develop and grow the game in the early days.  They merely survived from year to year.

One club that did visit Sydney on four occasions was the Melbourne Football Club.

They played NSW or a Combined Sydney side on four separate occasions, winning one and losing three, but two of those were within a very close margin.

The game they crowed about was the win in 1911.  NSW won the game 14-12 (96) to 10-14 (74) and didn’t the local press pump up the win.  One headline read: Victors a Trifle Superior All Round, and Home Team Wins Brilliantly but the best read: NSW Whips Melbourne.  Were victories against these interstate teams all that rare – The Answer: Yes.

Players Strike!

1930 East v Sydney at Trumper Park smallIn late July 1929, a number of the Eastern Suburbs Football Club players refused to take their place in the team at Erskineville Oval in a match against South Sydney.

The game was originally scheduled for Trumper Park but the South Sydney club thought they could secure a bigger gate if the game was moved to Erskineville.

At that stage, South Sydney was sitting in second place with five wins and three losses, while Eastern Suburbs was in fifth spot with four wins and four losses. East had won their first round encounter against the Rabbits and naturally enough, were reluctant to give their opponents any perceived advantage in the match.

South Sydney put the proposal to change the venue to a meeting of the League on July 22 which voted 9-2 in favour.

On the day, only seven from East’s eighteen took the field, the remainder of the team was made up of reserve grade players, all of whom had backed-up.

Two of East’s stars, Stan Milton (pictured), after whom the Sydney Football Goalkicking Award is named and Fred Davies, who later went on to 1930 - Stan Milton smallcaptain Fitzroy, were among those who stood out.

With a scheduled 3.00pm start, it was not until 15 minutes before that it was certain that East would field a team. Sam Organ, Kean, Sanders, Hyland, Stoppelbein, Nicholas and Lindsay Kelton were the only senior players who made up the first grade team that day.

It turns out that the decision not to play was not without warning.  It had been made in the week prior to the match and this decision was conveyed to the League Secretary by the president and secretary of the club. It stated that their team would not take the field against South Sydney unless the game was played at the originally scheduled venue of Trumper Park.

In anticipation of no game the League had made arrangements for patrons to be reimbursed their entry fee.

The decision by the players was not a popular one with the public and League officials besieged with complaints and seeking information as to what action could be taken against the recalcitrant players.

At a subsequent meeting of the League, Eastern Suburbs FC officials said they had arranged a meeting with all their players over the matter. It was pointed out however, that the club had fulfilled its obligation and did field a team in the match.

The League however refused to select any of the subject Eastern Suburbs players to play for NSW against the visiting Perth FC team the following week.

At their club meeting an amicable agreement had been arrived at and a guarantee given that no further trouble would be found from these players.

This result was placed before a League meeting where the offending players were pardoned after they had expressed regret for their action and had promised not to offend in a like manner again.

Whether as a result of this decision or not, Arch Kerr, a former League Secretary, submitted his resignation at that meeting from all positions on the League, accusing those in charge of the league of “apathy and mismanagement”.

It was later ascertained that Kerr’s resignation was due to the parlous financial position the League had found itself in.  At the meeting it was revealed that the League was one hundred and sixty pounds ($11,860 in today’s money) in debt with the incumbent secretary informing the league that he had been unable to convene a quorum of the management committee for over a month.

A Reason For The Score?

whiskey glass smallIn June 1928 a team of footballers representing NSW travelled to Melbourne to play a VFL side.  They were belted 26-13 (169) to 14-11 (95).

Now there was an obvious disparity between football in the two states but a newspaper article we have unearthed may well explain the score:

FOOTBALLERS’ ORGY OF DRUNKENNESS

The drunken carousal with which Sydney footballers were entertained by several club officials in Melbourne last week calls for drastic protest from the New South Wales National Football League (Australian Rules). Several Sydney players were approached by officials to join Melbourne clubs, and a goodly quantity of whiskey was employed as a seductive supplement to the honeyed words of those endeavoring – to strike attractive bargains. A representative team visits another State to play football, not to get soaked in booze.

One young player was handed his ticket to return home to Sydney, and another was so blind drunk that he moved more like a rickety wheelbarrow than a highly-trained footballer on the field.WHEN footballers representing one State visit another, they are supposed to be the guests of that other State. This implies a gesture of the usual and ordinary courtesies extended to accredited representatives of any sporting organisation. Unhappily, this custom was honored in the breach when the team of Australian Rules footballers, representing New South Wales played last week-end in Melbourne.

No sooner had they arrived at Spencer-street than several Victorian officials buttonholed some of our players, and hurried them off to the nearest hotel to swill their thirsty tongues, while they filled their ears with pleasing tales of the money they could earn if they were to join one of the Melbourne clubs.

This filching of our players by the Victorian clubs has been severely commented upon at other times, but this is the first occasion we have heard of whiskey being used in such a huge quantity as was the case on this trip, to act as a further inducement. The Melbourne whiskey dispensers were so active, and produced such a pitiable effect on one of our youngest players that he was actually given his rail ticket to return immediately to Sydney.

Another player, whom club-mates say would full over at the smell of his second glass, but whose services were keenly in demand by a Melbourne club, was so blithered on the first afternoon of his arrival that he was unfit to play in the match. Not content with dogging the footsteps of these players from the train, they were taken frequently to the rooms of the Victorian Football League, where the hospitality was so warm that the key of the cupboard was practically handed over to them.

At all hours of the day and night, the whiskey tap was running at high speed, and with such effect that quite a number of our players were more than ready to concede that the ‘lil’ ole town — hic — of Melbourne — hic — do me a — double hic. In one instance, this hospitality developed into an orgy of crude drunkenness, and one player’s eyes were so swollen with the devil’s own cocktail on Saturday afternoon, that he couldn’t see the ball, much less kick it!

This is positively disgraceful. Whilst every broad-minded sportsman may be willing to wink his eye at a little conviviality and bonhomie that are necessarily associated with Interstate visits, yet he would be a ‘beer-corned sportsman’ who would deliberately take a young member of a visiting team, and whittle him with whiskey for the purpose of inducing him to join another club.

This potvaliant attitude of hospitality on the part of the Victorian League officials is very difficult to understand when one probes a little deeper into the matter. On their return from Melbourne, players freely stated that the impression’ they formed was that they were not wanted as a. team, though individually several of them were in great demand. That is more than an impression, it is a fact.1 For many years now, Victoria has invited a team across on fairly attractive terms to the controlling body in Sydney, and has also sent their own team to Sydney mainly for tho purpose of helping in the development of the game here.

But at the commencement of this sea son, the Victorian League Informed the Sydney body that they would not send a team across, and that they would alter the financial terms of the game to be played in Melbourne. This communication caused much consternation in Sydney, for it was felt that the Victorian League was deserting the State it had fostered for so many years. Money, of course, was at the bottom of the whole business. ‘We have spent too much money already in Sydney,’ they said. But that argument was not sincere.

If the money that was used in purchasing booze that certain Melbourne club officials poured down the necks of our players during their recent visit were applied in the direction of developing the game, instead of the stomach, it would go a long way towards helping the New South Wales League to balance its books at the end of the season.

We have depended on Victoria for financial assistance. That has been part of the policy laid down by the Australasian Football Council, and pursued with success for many years. It was our birthright when the Victorian Dengue planted its game in Sydney. But apparently, on the assumption that the baby is now a grown man, he prefers to have his appetite cloyed with whiskey that will lull him into a happy siesta throughout his otherwise dull journey back to Sydney. If the Victorian League doesn’t wish to give us money for the purpose of developing their game, then we don’t want their whiskey for the purpose of seducing our players to join their clubs.”

And so you have it!

Bryan Rush

Bryan Rush smallBryan Rush was one of eight brothers.  He was born at Port Fairy, Victoria in 1893 and was part of a family of footballers.

He and four of his brothers all played with Collingwood.  The elder, Bob, turned out on 143 occasions for the Pies between 1899-1908.  Such was his influence on the club that in 1965 a stand at Victoria Park, Collingwood’s former home ground, was named after him.  Bryan on the other hand, played 17 games for Collingwood prior to the outbreak of WWI and it was probably this conflict that interrupted his football career.

This article is about Bryan and we are indebted to his son, also named Bryan, for supplying information about his father.

I can hear your brain asking, “What is so good about Bryan Rush?”

In 1921, Brian was transferred to Sydney in the Commonwealth Public Service following five years service in the 1st AIF.  He did spend a limited time in Melbourne after the war undertaking a medcial degree but support for his further education was unfortunately removed.

Upon his move to Sydney Bryan took up with the North Shore Club “then called North Sydney, and in 1921 he was part of their incredible premiership in the clubs first year back from a WWI recess.  In 1922 he took over the reigns but could not emulate their previous year’s performance;  they finished fifth.

After a short period in Newcastle as secretary to the Newcastle Gas Company, Bryan returned to Sydney teaming up with a former army cobber to set up an accounting firm which would go on to become a major player in Sydney’s commercial and financial scene over the succeeding number of years.

He gave up football upon his return to Sydney however the 32 year old kept an interest in the game serving several seasons as state selector.  He had represented NSW on 10 occasions: once in 1921, four times in 1922 and five in 1924, which included several appearances for the state in the national carnival at Hobart, so he knew his footy.

Rush was often named as one of the best players in these interstate games.

Fortunately for us, Bryan junior, at 81, amongst other things, recently donated his father’s 1924 representative certificate along with a quite unique service certificate awarded to his father in 1935 for his contribution to the game in NSW over a fourteen year period.  We have never before seen these type of documents.

Bryan Joseph Rush Carnival Certificate 1924 small Bryan Joseph Rush Honour Certificate smaller

Besides his football, Bryan Snr played first grade cricket with Manly.

He rarely talked about his sporting experiences, perhaps due to his dislike of attending meetings in Newtown where selection of the NSW teams were discussed.  It was here, he maintained, that he would have his tyres slashed if no Newtown players were chosen in the NSW team.

At the outbreak of WWII Bryan again served in the army at Victoria Barracks, Paddington where, at the rank of major, he was District Finance Officer.

He died in Melbourne in 1982, aged 89.

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