Celebrating 118 Years of Rugby
Eastern Suburbs District Rugby Union Football Club was formed at a meeting at the Paddington Town Hall on Thursday, March 22 1900. In an assembly presided over by the mayor and aldermen of Woollahra Council, 200 Eastern Suburbs residents turned out to hear Colonel J.C. Nield put forward a case for the birth of a local rugby club. The famous sports journalist Jack Davis motioned for the formation of the club and, from that point forth, Eastern Suburbs Rugby Union Football club came in to being. To this day, Easts Rugby is the oldest district rugby union club in Australia.
Since then, Easts Rugby has seen a lot of great players. The first ever try-scorer for Eastern Suburbs in a first grade premiership match was H.D. Thompson, who scored a try on May 19, 1900 playing Glebe at the Sydney Cricket Ground. That same day, Leo Finn made the conversion and became Easts first goal scorer. That year, Easts Rugby was honoured to have test forward A.J. (Tiger) Kelly become its first NSW representative, when he helped lead NSW to victory over QLD 11-9 in Sydney on July 21, 1900. However, it wasn’t until 1903, when J.W Maund was named in the Australian side, that Easts saw its first Wallaby.
As the years moved on, Easts Rugby saw glory on many occasions. The club was helped along by a raft of talent that included such luminaries as H.H. (Dally) Messenger, G.C. (Wakka) Walker, sports star Harald Baker, and Victorian Cross winner Bede Kenny. Easts also had a touch of glamour in the backline when Stanley R. Rowley – Australia’s first Olympic sprint medalist – graced the team in the early 1900s. Other noted players included Dr Alex Ross, Robert Westfield, Colin J. Sefton, Wallaby Murray Tate, famous goal-kicker John Cox, World Cup winners Tony Daly and Jason Little, the worlds best number 8 in his era Tim Gavin and H.R. (Perc) Newton who played a record 264 grade games for Easts.
In all, Easts Rugby has won a total of 79 premiership titles or shields across Grade and Colts from 1900 to 2013. Along with this, they have won 9 club championships and continue to be a breeding ground for superstars of the future.
Nowadays, Easts Rugby is served by a dedicated group of players, supporters, administrators and board members who are looking to carry on over 110 years of strong traditions and write the next chapter in the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Union history pages.