We regret to inform the Gordon community of the passing of Wallaby #530, Bruce Taafe.
In his time at Gordon, Bruce Taafe was recognised as an uncompromising hooker and as an inspiring leader. Taafe’s play in the exceedingly talented 1967 first grade side, helped the side to an unlikely grand final appearance. His great skill and courageous forward play in Gordon tartan was rewarded with selection in the 1969 Tour of South Africa.
While a spate of injuries cut his international career short, Bruce left his mark on the Australian and international sporting landscape. As the apartheid regime ended in South Africa, Bruce Taafe was honoured with the Medal of Freedom by President Nelson Mandela. This came as recognition for Bruce’s steadfast opposition to systemic racism abroad – his decision to withdraw from the 1971 tour to South Africa, along with six other players, ultimately led to Gough Whitlam’s government suspending sporting competition with South Africa.
Bruce’s strength of character, selflessness and integrity remain a lesson for Australian sportsmen and sportswomen as well as the wider community.
He will be proudly remembered by Gordon and Australian Rugby as an outstanding footballer, a leader, a man of great courage and of discernment.