Friendships will be renewed, memories relived and stories retold, with an exaggeration or two thrown in, when The Waratahs Rugby Union Club hosts its 80th anniversary luncheon this month.
The organisation is calling on past and present players, such as former Australian Wallaby Ron Harvey, to celebrate the occasion at the Hamilton North Bowling Club on Friday 18 June from noon until late.
Tickets are $100 – or $80 for Old Boy members – and can be made payable to the Old Boys account at Greater Bank (BSB 637 000; AC 715 493 713 – mark payment with your name and 80th Luncheon).
The Waratahs, formed in 1940, had planned an event last year to commemorate eight decades, however COVID-19 restrictions put paid to those arrangements.
President of the club’s Old Boys’ Association Paul Paisley said it was important to acknowledge the organisation’s establishment.
“When we found out the guys still wanted to celebrate the milestone, we made plans to host a ‘retro’ function in 2021,” he explained.
“We received a lot of interest in the anniversary luncheon when it was originally planned.
“So, our past players didn’t want to see 80 years of history disappear without any recognition.”
Peter “Fab” Fenton, a renowned raconteur and rugby’s unofficial poet laureate, will be guest speaker on 18 June.
He played more than 200 games for Parramatta, coached them to their first premiership and also took the reins of Eastwood and Sydney.
His maiden book, entitled Sport The Way I Speak It, is a series of anecdotes on his coaching career and in excess of 50 poems on Australian sport.
Paisley also asked all ex-Waratahs to bring some memorabilia to display on the day.
“The Waratahs is one of the most well-known rugby clubs in Newcastle and has produced 33 international players in men’s, women’s, Australian Combined Services, under-21s and juniors,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“Players such as Cyril Burke, John Hipwell, Peter Horton, Dom Vaughan, Mike Fitzgerald and Maya Stewart are such famous names – and they all played for The Waratahs.
“Take Ron Harvey for instance.
“He was selected, in 1957, in both the Newcastle and NSW Country teams before being named in the 1957-58 Wallaby tour to the British Isles, France, Canada and the USA.
“He made his Test debut against France and scored 92 points on tour from six tries, 16 conversions, 10 penalties and four field goals.
“He captained the Wallabies twice over there, too.
“In fact, Ron was the club’s third Wallaby after Cyril Burke and Jack Marshall.
“He played for NSW in rugby as well, while representing the state in Sheffield Shield cricket.
“There is great camaraderie in the club, which is reflected by the undefeated 1971 minor and major premiers, who recently staged their 50th anniversary reunion which proved a popular event.
“Players came from Queensland, Sydney and Gloucester for the function.”
Paisley remains hopeful The Waratahs, currently contesting the divisional format, will make a triumphant return to Hunter Rugby’s Premier 1 one day.
“It’s definitely the goal,” he said.
“However, it will depend on many things, such as demographics, logistics and numbers.”
Full details of the 80th anniversary luncheon can be found on the club’s website www.thewaratahsrugbyunionclub.com.au or by telephoning Old Boys’ Association secretary Keith Powell on 0434 060 862.
Round eight results:
Premier 1 –
Maitland defeated University of Newcastle 29-17
Hamilton Hawks defeated Singleton 35-24
Wanderers defeated Southern Beaches 43-19
Merewether Carlton defeated Nelson Bay 55-7
Bye: Lake Macquarie
Premier 2 –
Merewether Carlton defeated Nelson Bay 61-5
Southern Beaches drew with Wanderers 24-all
Singleton defeated Hamilton Hawks 51-0
University of Newcastle defeated Maitland 25-17
Bye: Lake Macquarie
Premier 3 –
Merewether Carlton defeated Medowie 44-7
Maitland defeated University of Newcastle 37-17
Singleton defeated Hamilton Hawks 47-7
Wanderers defeated Southern Beaches 27-26
Bye: Merewether Carlton
Muswellbrook defeated Cessnock 41-5
Griffins d Singleton Army 25-12
The Waratahs defeated Cooks Hill 28-10
Pokolbin defeated Merewether Carlton 24-18