The foundation of league’s future

Adam Kidd Roar Rookie

By Adam Kidd, Adam Kidd is a Roar Rookie

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    All that’s missing from rugby league’s first museum are the Vaseline stains on Arthur Beetson’s Queensland jersey.

    The shoulder pads of the game’s first superstar, Dally Messenger, hang beside original jerseys worn by Clive Churchill and Arthur Summons. Leather boots worn by Norm Provan show their age beside modern-day warrior Paul Gallen’s, and the golden pencil of James J. Giltinan conjures the ghosts of league’s glorious past.

    rugby league Central is now home to the history of the game as well as the future.

    “In the house where the big decisions of the future are made, the history will be available and the doors open to the people,” said ARLC chairman John Grant.

    Grant joined current and former stars including John Raper, Bob McCarthy, the Churchill family and Andrew Ryan in officially opening the museum on Thursday.

    The highlight of the launch was rugby league’s oldest surviving premiership winner, former detective and world-famous acrobat Bill Harris.

    Harris, 96 years-old, reflected on memories from a simpler time – training twice a year, wrestling the late Frank ‘Bumper’ Farrell, and team-mates like George Ellery, who played with only one eye.

    Rugby league now has a home for many artefacts that were hidden from sight for far too long.

    “The game’s photos and treasures have mainly adorned largely unseen office hallways or been packed in gloomy storerooms. Today, everything changes,” announced league writer Ian Heads.

    The 1.76 metre tall Courtney Goodwill Trophy previously lived under a staircase at the old headquarters of NSW rugby league.

    “I’ve seen this trophy my whole life, it used to live under a staircase because there was no room for it anywhere else,” said Scott Carr of CRL.

    “It took four or five of us to move it here, it’s great for people to finally see this and remember how far the game has come.”

    As Peter Sterling hosted a video tribute to the memorable moments of the last 104-years, the eyes of Bob McCarthy, Joyce Churchill and Bill Harris sparkled at the names on screen – Messenger, Brown, Langlands, Fulton, Lewis, Meninga, Johns and Inglis.

    Rugby league’s true value was revealed on Thursday – memories not even $1.025 billion could buy.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • September 1st 2012 @ 6:28am
      oikee said | September 1st 2012 @ 6:28am | ! Report

      Its amazing. Good reason to visit Sydney.

      • Roar Guru

        September 1st 2012 @ 6:54am
        steve b said | September 1st 2012 @ 6:54am | ! Report

        Yes mate which i’ll be doing this arvo to go and see Parra’s last game ,i’ll have to try and make time next week to go and have a look,,,

        • September 1st 2012 @ 1:33pm
          JVGO said | September 1st 2012 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

          Only open a couple of days a week I believe Steve so make sure you check the opening hours.

    • September 1st 2012 @ 8:22am
      Bring back the Bears said | September 1st 2012 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      I’m keen to hit this up. Isn’t it only open Wed and Thursday though?…

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • September 1st 2012 @ 8:32am
      Greg said | September 1st 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      Where abouts in Sydney is this place?

    • September 1st 2012 @ 12:34pm
      Warren said | September 1st 2012 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

      About time. This is an important step to build loyalty within the code. I can see many school excursions along with the ordinary fan who grew up supporting the game with some many great memories.

    • September 1st 2012 @ 1:18pm
      Hardwick said | September 1st 2012 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

      This looks great. More history please!

    • September 1st 2012 @ 4:08pm
      Heart of Sydney said | September 1st 2012 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

      In the mid to late 70s Kevin Humphries and Ken Stephen of the NSWRL handed over the League’s entire collection of 16mm and 8mm films and newsreels dating from the early 30s and perhaps before to a film hire library as the work of managing the collection was deemed too arduous for the Phillip Street cabal.

      The film library did not regard the collection too highly as fundamentally the films were only ever rented out to clubs for “sportmen’s smokos” and the like, When they were returned they were often damaged and those not returned were not chased up. When video tape took over in the early 80s the library folded and the remaining stock disappeared.

      The old International Rugby League Supporters Federation attempted to get the league to recover the collection but were ignored.

      Thus a huge amount of RL history was lost which included film of the highlights of the 1951 French Tour Tests featuring Puig Aubert having a drag on a ciggie on the sideline. One does not wish to speak ill of the long dead but Humphries and Stephen have a lot to answer for for their maladministration of the code and this neglect of irreplaceable visual history must rank of one their most egregious if little known acts.

      • September 1st 2012 @ 5:17pm
        oikee said | September 1st 2012 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

        Didn’t they lose the World cup trophy at one stage. Amazing we still have that.

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