The Original Concept
The concept of establishing a Rugby Club first evolved on 9 October 1943 when New South Wales Rugby Union appointed a provisional committee to investigate whether the idea was feasible. The committee decided it was and events subsequently moved as swiftly as wartime privations allowed.
On 14 February 1944 the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Club were finalised.
Prospective members were to be offered two kinds of membership, namely Foundation and Foundation Life membership.
In June 1944 Judge Leslie Herron (later Sir Leslie Herron, Chief Justice of New South Wales) issued a letter, which was circulated to all rugby enthusiasts in New South Wales, regarding the formation of the Rugby Club of New South Wales under the direction of the New South Wales Rugby Union.
The letter opened by stating:
“In the years during which the Union has been in existence, there exists no place to mark the headquarters of the game in New South Wales and it has therefore been decided to establish a clubhouse for New South Wales Rugby Union. The decision is not a hasty one but the result of much consideration. It results from a desire to have a permanent, central meeting place for supporters of the amateur game and to provide congenial surroundings where rugby enthusiasts may gather.
Many feel also that the present administrative offices of the Union are below the standard required by the status of the game in this state and of the officials who transact your business there and it is hoped to combine the necessary offices and rooms for the sporting and social activities of the Club under the one roof. To have a centre at which our country and interstate visitors and overseas rugby representatives can meet us is thought to be most desirable.”
Judge Herron also noted that the Club would, “be a worthy memorial to our members who have made the supreme sacrifice for the Empire and to past generations of players and officials.”
Judge Herron was one of a number of prominent Sydney people who helped get the Club off the ground. Various politicians, city aldermen and leading businessmen lent support. Former players were also active in promoting the concept. The provisional committee established to oversee the Club’s formation included the former test hooker John “Jock” Blackwood, the former test backrower John Breckenridge, the former NSW player, official and referee, Bill Hill, and the former test backrower Arnold Tancred.
By August 1945 157 people had joined as Foundation members and 81 as Foundation Life members, which was a sufficient number to enable the committee to take the final step and bring the Club into being.
On 29 August 1945 the Club was incorporated as Rugby Union Club.
The first General Meeting of members commenced at 7.45 pm on Monday, 15 October 1945 in the Chamber of Manufacturers’ office in O’Connell Street, Sydney.
On 14 July 1982 the Club changed its name to Rugby Club Limited.