Our Story

Welcome to the official site of The Gordon Highlanders:
Gordon Rugby Football Club, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


The original Gordon Rugby Football Club was established 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. It 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 Gordon tartan colours and its club song “A Gordon For Me”, emphasising the strong Scottish influence within the club.

First-grade premierships were achieved in 1949, 1952, 1956, 1958, 1976, 1993, 1995, 1998 and 2020. 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 14 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 promoting the game at all levels, its tremendous club spirit, its enthusiastic supporters and an excellent and supportive administration.

Under Gordon Rugby’s banner, the Gordon Rugby Football Club Ltd currently fields four grade and three colts sides, plus reserves and representative junior sides from village clubs Chatswood, Hornsby, Killara / West Pymble (KWP), Lane Cove, Lindfield, Roseville, St Ives and Wahroonga.

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 commemorative stone found at Rugby School, celebrating the birth of rugby union

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.

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”.


The only known portrait of William Webb Ellis (1857), from the Illustrated London News.

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.

Rugby School – Where the Game Began


A view of Rugby School from ‘The Close’ – the playing field where according to legend, Rugby was invented.

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).

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

Click here for more information on the Gordon Highlanders Infantry Regiment

Honour Board

Club Game Milestones

400+ Games
M. Spalding

300+ Games
B. Nicholas
K. Sutherland
D. Logan
A. Lennon
K. Cowan
J. Mortlock
M. Cuneen


Name Wallaby Number Position Caps
Frank O’Brien 310 Wing 2
Trevor Allan* 323 Centre 14
Brian Piper 334 Fullback 12
Athur Tonkin 355 Wing 6
Bevan Wilson 370 Prop 2
Robert (Bob) Davidson* 389 Prop 13
Brian Johnson 391 Flanker 9
James Phipps 399 Centre 11
Peter Phipps Touring Side Fullback
Neil Latimer 428 Lock 1
Arthur Summons 431 Fly-Half 10
Eddie Purkiss 434 Flanker 2
Ken Yanz 437 Flanker 1
Don Logan 439 Scrum-Half 1
David Shepherd 495 No. 8 5
Desmond Carrick Touring Side Centre
Rod Batterham 507 Wing 2
Bruce Taafe 530 Hooker 3
Peter Sullivan* 538 Flanker 13
David Burnet 548 Centre 6
Laurie Monaghan 567 Wing 17
John Ryan 584 Wing 6
Anthony (Tony) Daly 679 Prop 41
Steve Cutler 630 Lock 40
Mark Hartill 656 Prop 20
Anthony Ekert Touring Side Scrum-Half
Alistair Murdoch 711 Wing 2
Tim Wallace 718 Fly-Half 2
Anthony (Tony) Dempsey Touring Side Flanker
Andrew Blades 733 Prop 32
Cameron Blades 738 Prop 1
John Langford 740 Lock 4
Mitch Hardy 735 Wing 7
Stirling Mortlock* 759 Centre 80

*Australian Captain


Seva Rokobaro

New Zealand
Maurice Graham

Mike Hercus

Andrew Mower
Alexander “Sandy” Hinshelwood

Rob Andrew

British and Irish Lions
Rob Andrew
Alexander “Sandy” Hinshelwood

Super Rugby Representatives

N.S.W Waratahs
M. Hartill
A. Blades
A. Ekert
A. Murdoch
K. O’Kane
T. Wallace
A. Dempsey
B. O’Neil
B. Harrison
C. Blades
P. Scarr
M. Crick
S. Qutivi
M. Hercus
J. West
M. Dowling
C. Alcock
H. Roodt
J. Dempsey

A.C.T Brumbies
S. Mortlock
M. Hardy
J. Wilson
J. Huxley

Western Force
J. Turner
B. Whittaker
D. Haylett-Petty

Queensland Reds
S. Kerr

Honarary Life Members

H D Boland
C C Pike
H Crow
C Burton-Smith
T J Harrison
G A Wilson
G H Townsend
P C Harrison
R G Hill
B F Shirvington
L D Evans
R A Davidson
G M Fountain
J B Carroll
J S Neal
N J Campbell
R N Heather
W D Twible
R A Pearson
S W Rhall
W G Gibson
A B Frew
D L Logan
P J Kearney
D A Ditton
J H Knox
Mrs F Warman
W G Hearl
F E McMahon
A C Rea
J E Kable
H Naughton
T Allan
B J Wilson
P Serisier

Australian Under 20 / Under 21

D. Haylet-Petty
B. Whittaker
J. Turner
J. Dempsey
H. Rorke

Australian Sevens

V. Ratu
D. Harvey

North Harbour Rays

Player Position Year
Jack Dempsey Flanker 2015-16
Tobias Gukibau Prop 2015
Tom Matthews Centre 2015
Nick Fraser Prop 2015-16
Terry Preston Scrum-Half 2015
Ruairidh Wilson Second Row 2016
James Wilkonson Hooker 2016
Harry Rorke Utility Back Row 2016
Sione Ala Utility Back 2016

Gordon Rugby Song Lyrics


(To the tune of the Scottish folk song of the same name)

I’m Georgie McHugh of the Gordon RU, I’m fond of a lassie and drappie or two. One day when out walking I chanced to see, a bonnie wee lass wi’ a glint in her ee.

Says I to the lassie will ye walk for a while, I’ll buy ye a bonnet and we’ll do it in style. My kilt is the tartan of the Gordon RU, she looked at me shyly and said, Is that true?

A Gordon for me, a Gordon for me, if you’re not a Gordon you’re no use to me. The Eastwoods are braw, the Randwicks an a ’But the cocky wee Gordon’s the pride of them all.

I courted that girl on the Banks of the Dee, and made up my mind she was fashioned for me. And soon I was thinking how nice it would be, if she would consent to get married to me.

The day we were wed the grass was so green, the sun was as bright as the light in her een. Now we’ve two bonnie lassies who sit on her knee, while she sings the song that she once sang to me.

A Gordon for me, a Gordon for me, if you’re not a Gordon you’re no use to me. The Eastwoods are braw, the Randwicks an a’ But the cocky wee Gordon’s the pride of them all.

Gordon Rugby Premierships

Club Championships – 13 – 1949 1952 1957 1962 1971 1974 1975 1976 1978 1990 1993 1998 & 2020

1st Grade Premierships – 9 – 1949, 1952, 1956, 1958, 1976, 1993, 1995, 1998 & 2020
Runners Up – 1950, 1955, 1957, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1980, 1992

2nd Grade Premierships – 5 – 1961, 1972, 1974, 1976 & 1981.
Runners Up – 1950, 1952, 1955, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1975, 1980, 2008 & 2009.

3rd Grade Premierships – 10 – 1959, 1960, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1977, 1983, 1993, 2008, 2009, 2019 & 2020
Runners Up – 1948, 1951, 1962, 1966, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1992, 1994, 1999 & 2000.

4th Grade Premierships – 18 – 1949, 1952, 1953,1955, 1958, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000 & 2007.
Runners Up – 1950, 1954, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1977, 1983 & 1987.