The original Gordon Rugby Football Club was founded in 1927 on Sydney’s North Shore, playing in the Metropolitan Junior Competitions and its home games on Roseville Chase
Oval. The club was disbanded in 1930 and the following year, many of its players transferred to the newly formed Roseville Junior Rugby Union Football Club, whose home ground was Chatswood Oval. In the 1935 season, the club won the Metropolitan Junior Club Championship, the Kentwell Cup and its second grade, the Bourke Cup.
Following its success the club was admitted to the Grade Competition in 1936 and changed its name to the Gordon District Rugby Union Football Club, fielding four grade and two junior sides, which participated in the Metropolitan Junior Competition.
By 1939, the 1st XV had won the minor premiership but were defeated in the final by the ultimate premiers. Apart from the 4th grade team winning a premiership in 1946, it was 1949 before Gordon won the Club Championship with its 1st and 4th grade teams, with all four teams playing in the semi-finals.
In 1949, the club adopted a new jersey incorporating the colours of the Gordon tartan and its club song “A Gordon For Me”, emphasising the strong Scottish influence within the club.
First grade premierships were achieved in 1952, 1954, 1956, 1958, 1976, 1993, 1995 and 1998. Over the years, the lower grade sides have played prominently at or near the top of the competition tables with Gordon winning the Club Championship 13 times.
Many Gordon players have earned representative honours playing for the state and Australia – far too many to list here. Trevor Allan, who has won lasting international acclaim, together with Bob Davidson and Peter Sullivan have all captained Australian touring teams.
In addition to the club’s attractive style of play it is renowned for its dedication to the promotion of the game at all levels, its tremendous club spirit, its enthusiastic supporters and an excellent and supportive administration.
Under the banner of Gordon Rugby, the Gordon Rugby Football Club Ltd currently fields five grade and four colts sides, plus reserves and representative junior sides from village clubs Chatswood, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Killara-West Pymble, Lane Cove, Lindfield, Roseville, St Ives, Wahroonga, and even Mosman, Norths and Drummoyne!
The rugby club has a strong association with the licensed club ‘Gordon Social & Recreation Club’, which is located in the Mandarin Centre immediately adjacent to Chatswood Oval.
History of Rugby Union
“who with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it…”
The game of football has a long tradition around the world and had most likely been played at Rugby School for two hundred years before three boys published the first set of written rules for the game in 1845. The rules had always been determined by the pupils instead of the masters and they were frequently modified with each new intake of students. Changes in the rules, such as the legality of carrying or running with the ball were often agreed upon shortly before the commencement of a game.
Above: The commemorative stone found at
Rugby School, celebrating the birth of rugby union
There were thus no formal rules for football during the time William Webb Ellis was at Rugby School (1816-1825), which led to the legendary story in 1823 of the boy “who with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it”.
This story first appeared in 1876 (some four years after the death of Webb Ellis) and is attributed to a local antiquarian and former ‘Rugbeian’ named Matthew Bloxam. Bloxam was not a contemporary of Webb Ellis and vaguely quoted an unnamed person as informing him of the incident that had supposedly happened 53 years earlier. The story has been dismissed as unlikely since an official investigation by the Old Rugbeian Society in 1895. However, the trophy for the Rugby Union World Cup is named “Webb Ellis” in his honour, and a plaque at the school commemorates the achievement (seen above).
Rugby football has strong claims to the world’s first and oldest “football club” – the Guy’s Hospital Football Club, formed in London in 1843 by old boys from Rugby School. Around the anglosphere (England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa), a number of other clubs formed to play games based on the Rugby School rules. One of these, the Dublin University Football Club was founded in 1854 and is arguably the world’s oldest surviving football club in any code. The Blackheath Rugby Club in London was founded in 1858 and is the oldest surviving non-university rugby club.
Above: The only known portrait of William Webb Ellis (1857), from the Illustrated London News.
Rugby School – Where the Game Began
Rugby School is located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire. It is one of the oldest public schools in England and is considered one of the top co-educational boarding schools in the country. The school was founded in 1567 as a provision in the will of Lawrence Sheriff to Sean Tilford, an Irishman who had made his fortune supplying groceries to Queen Elizabeth I of England. It is one of the nine “great” English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act (1868).
Above: A view of Rugby School from ‘The Close’ – the
playing field where according to legend, Rugby was invented.
Gordon Highlanders – Where Does the Name Come From?
The Gordon Highlanders was a British Army infantry regiment from 1881 until 1994. The regiment recruited principally from Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland.
The figure to the right depicts a corporal ‘bomber’ of the 1/4th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders at the time of the Ancre Battle, 1916. Note the battalion/brigade identification of three light blue bars worn on the sleeves; and the bulky appearance created by the fleece waistcoat, grenade carrier and kilt apron. The equipment is that of the 1914-pattern leather set with respirator haversacks. The grenades carried are
the No. 5 pattern, `Mills bombs’, by far the most reliable and widely used by late 1916. Note the bomber’s badge on the right sleeve; and the Gordon tartan of the kilt.
Source: Essential Somme