Randwick District Rugby Union Football Club Premiers 1930The club was formed in 1882 and is one of the oldest in Australia. It was the leading club in the last decade of the nineteenth century, dropped from the first division in 1900, returned to first division for one season in 1914 and then again in 1923 when after World War 1. Randwick was the leading NSW club in the 1930s and 1940s and has been pre-eminent in Australian rugby since I959.


Back row: C Towers, J Morrison, H Baker (coach) J Carlton, D Watts
Middle row: N Garvey, D Emerson, B Miller, L Palfryman, B Hunt,W White,V Phillips
Front row: O Crossman, J O'Connor, W Meagher, (Capt.) H Crowe, R Westfield


The Randwick Rugby Club was formed in 1882 and is one of the oldest in Australia. It was admitted to the New South Wales first division in 1889 and was the leading club in the last decade of the nineteenth century winning 4 consecutive first grade premierships from 1894 to 1897, as well as 3 other first grade competitions. In those years the club provided 26 representatives to NSW teams. Its home ground was Randwick Reserve, now Alison Park, in Alison Road, opposite Marcellin College.

Randwick dropped from the first division when district football, as distinct from club football, was introduced in 1900, and played in what is now the sub-districts competition. Following the formation of rugby league in 1907, which took many players from the rugby union ranks, most district rugby clubs had problems in fielding lower grade teams. Randwick was invited back to first division football in 1908, fielding second and third grade sides in the NSW first division competition and, after some success in these grades, fielded a first grade side in 1914. All rugby in Australia ceased at the end of that season following the outbreak of World War 1.


After the war the Randwick Club was reformed and played sub-districts football with success from 1919 to 1922 and in 1923 was re-admitted to the ranks of NSW first division rugby clubs. Its home ground was the small Randwick Oval, now part of the University of New South Wales, at the corner of High Street and Wansey Road, west and south of the Moreton Bay fig trees which are still there, and which overlook Randwick racecourse. In 1926 Randwick's home ground became Coogee Oval and has remained so ever since. In 1928 the club adopted its current myrtle green colours, replacing its previous red and white hoops.

Randwick RugbyRandwick was the leading NSW club in the 1930s and 1940s and has been prominent in Australia since 1959. In the seasons from 1959 to 2006 Randwick missed making the first grade semi finals on 7 occasions, won 32 premierships, played in all grand finals from 1977 to 1992, won 5 successive premierships (1978 to 1982) and 6 successive premierships (1987 to 1992). Randwick has won the Australian Club Championship 5 times.

In addition to its 32 first grade premiership wins, Randwick has won the New South Wales club championship — awarded to the club which is most successful in all grades — on 28 occasions, has won 76 lower grade premierships and 23 colts' premierships.

In 1988 Randwick became the only Australian club side to play against an international side in the 20th century, the New Zealand All Blacks. The All Blacks, who were then World Champions, won 25 to 9, scoring 2 tries to 1. Randwick's performance that day exceeded the subsequent performances by the Australian national side against the All Blacks.

In recent years Randwick has competed with success in the Melrose and Hawick (Scotland) seven-a-side competitions, the Singapore sevens, and the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) ten-a-side rugby competition. Among British rugby clubs which Randwick has played and beaten in the last 3 decades are Bath, London Scottish and Oxbridge (a combined Oxford and Cambridge Universities team) and in 1999 Randwick, without its Super 12 players, defeated the Japanese World Cup squad in 2002. A Randwick team defeated the Portuguese national side in 2003.

Some of the best rugby players of all time have played for Randwick. Many are now rugby legends — players such as Owen Crossman, Wally Meagher, Cyril Towers, the Windon brothers, Keith and Colin, Nick Shehadie, Ken Catchpole, Peter Johnson, Michael Cleary — who still shares the record for the most individual tries in a club game (7) — Russell Fairfax, the Ella brothers, Mark, Glen and Gary, Simon Poidevin, Phil Kearns, Ewen McKenzie, Warwick Waugh, Owen Finegan, David Knox, the greatest point scorer in Australian club rugby, David Campese, the most spectacular and talked about rugby player in the history of the game, Chris Whitaker and George Gregan, a long-standing Australian Captain.

Randwick men prominent in Australia's coaching ranks include Bob Dwyer (Rugby World Cup winning coach, former Australian and NSW coach), Eddie Jones (England Coach 2016, RWC Coach Japan 2015, former Australian Capital Territory, Australian and later Queensland coach), Ian Kennedy (former NSW and Australian under 21 coach), Ewen McKenzie (former Wallaby coach, Queensland coach) and Gary Ella (former Assistant Coach NSW) and Glen Ella (Asst England Coach 2016, former Assistant Australian Coach and Australian 7s Coach).  Other Randwick players to coach NSW include, Cyril Towers, 1948, Wally Meagher 1953, 1954, 1958, Mick Cremin 1968, 1969, Bob Outterside 1972 and Jeff Sayle 1981.  All were former Australian test players.

Michael Cheika, who with David Knox coached Randwick to its 2004 first grade premiership, went on to coach Stade Français in Paris and Allan Gaffney returned to coaching at the NSW Waratahs. Michael Cheika coached the NSW Waratahs to a Super Rugby premiership in 2014 and was appointed the coach of the Wallabies following the resignation of Ewen McKenzie. During the 1950s Max Howell, a Randwick and Australian representative, coached the Canadian national side.

So far, the club has produced 101 Australian representative footballers and 195 New South Wales representatives. Since 1996, when rugby went professional, 11 Randwick men have made their first appearances for Australia and 33 have made their first appearances for NSW.

The last time an Australian side toured abroad without at least one Randwick club man was in 1933, to South Africa.

131 years on the Randwick Club continues to achieve success (2015).

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6 April 2019
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