Centenary of Illawarra Rugby LeaguePrint Page
Sculpture commemorates the centenary of rugby league in the Illawarra in 2011.
The first Rugby League competition in the Illawarra region (on the NSW coast south of Sydney) began just two seasons after the birth of the game in Australia. In 1910 supporters of the new game formed clubs in the Wollongong, Mt Keira and Bulli areas who played 'friendly' games against each other.
A link with Sydney was immediately established with matches organised against clubs from the lower grade Sydney competitions. In 1911 the first local competition was played, involving teams from Dapto, Unanderra, Mt Keira, Helensburgh and Wollongong. The Illawarra competition was suspended during WW1 but the game quickly rebuilt and began to thrive over the next few decades.
The first NSW player selected from the Illawarra was Archie O'Neill in 1927 from the Wollongong club. He was soon followed by team-mate Fed Buchanan. The first Australian player was Charlie Hazelton - a pacy 19 year old winger from the Port Kembla club - who was part of the 1937 Kangaroos.
From 1946 the region began to play against touring international teams - initially under the name of 'Southern Division' before changing to 'Illawarra' in 1974. That first match in 1946 was against Great Britain at Wollongong Showground. A crowd of 12,000 provided vocal support as their side held on to win by 15-12. This set a trend for following Lions tours and it wasn't until 1958 that Great Britain were able to defeat Southern Division.
|Address:||Crown and Harbour Streets , WIN Stadium, Wollongong, 2500|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -34.427214|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
|Approx. Event Start Date:||1911|
|Approx. Event End Date:||2011|
|Monument Designer:||Lis Johnston|
|Actual Monument Dedication Date:||Saturday 10th December, 2011|
1911 - 2011
This Sculpture was unveiled by
The Hon. Barry O'Farrell MP, Premier of New South Wales
on 10 December 2011 to commemorate 100 years of
RUGBY LEAGUE In ILLAWARRA
1911 - 2011
The players of the first century were custodians of the game and established Illawarra as "Rugby League`s Nursery of Champions". The responsibility for the next 100 years is passed on to the Illawarra Juniors of the future.
Sculptor - Lis Johnson
Major Contributors to this Historical Sculpture and
Illawarra Rugby Leagues` Centenary Year in 2011
New South Wales Government
Wollongong City Council
Dapto Leagues Club
St Georges Leagues Club
Australian Workers` Union
BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal
Illawarra Credit Union
Collegians RL Club
National Rugby League