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Detailed History


Detailed History

The Hillies have a reputation as a competitive, innovative and social club with a long and proud history of participating and winning in various levels of Suburban Rugby.

Records of the early history of the Hunters Hill Rugby Union Football Club are rather scanty largely due to the fire which destroyed most of the records of the Rugby Union in 1973. However, old Hunters Hill Council records show that in 1892 the Hunters Hill Rugby Union Football Club was formed, that in 1895 the Club colours were dark and light blue, that they won only five out of nine matches in 1896 and names of the early official are quoted. The Club played in the now traditional black and white bars from 1907 and these are world registered.

From 1904 onward we have photographs of the best team in each year until the First World War and thereafter up to the Second World War. During this time the Club was under the guidance of the late Charlie Fairland who was in the 1904 team.

The early pattern consisted only of social matches arranged between Clubs and according to verbal and written reports these were sometimes pretty wild affairs. In 1906, or earlier, however, the club affiliated with City and Suburban Competition and stayed with this until the formation of Metropolitan Sub-District Rugby Union in 1923, when the Kentwell and Burke Cups were introduced.

In Kentwell Cup the Club competed in the Grand Final in 1930, 1932, and 1938 and were successful in 1972.

The Whiddon Cup, which was introduced in 1933, we won in 1949, 1951, 1955, and 1969 and followed that with a win in Barraclough Cup in 1971, the first year in which this cup was allocated to the equivalent standard of Burke Cup. Other than the two World Wars, there is only one gap in continuity in the Senior section of the Club between 1957 and 1965, but throughout this period the Juniors were flourishing and fielded 8 to 10 teams in the last four years before the Seniors started their comeback.

The nature of this comeback in the Seniors is illustrated by the fact that after two years with only one team, we were elevated to two teams for a further two years, then three teams for two years and finally to the First Divisions with four teams. When it is realized that elevation has to be earned in Sub-District Rugby Union, it was a fine performance to achieve the ultimate in six years. Few teams have survived long term after being promoted but we are the exception. After winning the Barraclough Cup and the Second Division Club Championship in 1971, we were promoted and took out the Kentwell Cup the following year. With a strong committee guided by Morrie Wilcoxsin (an ex-official from Eastwood Juniors) and expert coaching from John Francis (former Wallaby) we again became the force that we once were in the late 20's and early 30's.

In 1977 our Kentwell Cup side became the first undefeated team since the Moore Park Playground Club in 1951. We won the Kentwell Cup in 1978 and 1979 thus becoming the first Club ever to have won the premier Sub-District Cup three years in succession. 1977 also saw us win our first Club Championship and break another record by being the first Club to hold the Kentwell, Burke and Whiddon Cups in the same year.

In 1978 our top three grades made it to the grand finals, winning Kentwell and Whiddon Cups and coming second in the Club Championship. Of the 48 teams that contested the Sub-District First Division Grand Finals from 1977 to 1983 we supplied 22 teams. In the same period we won 12 premierships and held the Club Championship four times.

In 1979, 1980 and 1981 we had all four teams in their respective cup grand finals. The Club Championship was ours again for these three years and we had wins in Kentwell Cup (1979, 1981), Burke Cup (1980), Whiddon Cup (1980) and Judd Cup (1979, 1980). All teams reach the semi-finals in 1982 with the Whiddon Cup side going on to win the Grand Final. Fifth Grade (Robertson Cup) was introduced in 1983 for the first time.

The top four teams against made the semi finals, the Whiddon and Judd Cups winning the grand finals. Only the Whiddon Cup side made it through to the semi finals in 1984, while Fifth Grade was third in their competition. The Club finished eighth in the Club Championship in 1985, however the Judd Cup side were premiers.

1986 saw the Kentwell and Whiddon Cup sides make the Grand Finals with Kentwell going down and Whiddon Cup, coached by John White, winning.

1987 was one of the strongest year in the Clubs on-field history, winning the First Division Club Championship and Kentwell and Burke Cup premierships.

Hunters Hill Rugby Union Football Club was incorporated in 1988 and the Whiddon Cup side won the Grand Final. The Kentwell and Judd Cup sides made the semi finals in 1989.

In 1990 the Kentwell Cup side again made it to the semi finals with the Burke Cup side missing our by one point (for and against). We entered an Under 21 Night Competition and finished runners up. The Club also finished runners up in the Forest Seven Plate. The Club was relegated to Second Division in 1991.The Juniors came back to life in the mid eighties for a short time and have again been revived in 1999.

Two "Think Tanks" have been held by the Club, one in the mid eighties and the other in December, 1991. The results of the last were an extensive advertising and recruitment campaign, more specific task allotments for the management committee and a change to include two independent selectors to work with the coaches. Better organisation resulting in better discipline was the reason a record number of fees were collected.

Our 1992 Centenary year celebrations included a trip to Hong Kong for the 'Sevens', a Ball at Darling Harbour, a Mystery Lunch and a golf and test match day/night. A Centenary Dinner and Reunion was held at Waratah Stadium and attended by over 165 people. Boronia Park was the venue for the Centenary Gala Day - 16 teams were hosted and the highlight of the day was the President's Fifteen playing a Suburban selection. First Grade played the year in a special Centenary Strip incorporating the light and dark blue colours used by the Club in the 1901's.

On the playing field the top four grades made it into the semi finals, with the top grades going on the Grand Finals. The Stockdale Cup (second grade) winning their Grand Final. We were second in the Second Division Club Championship. The Second Division Club Championship was ours in 1993 with the two top teams Barraclough and Stockdale Cups being runners up in the Grand Finals and third grade Blunt Cup being eliminated in the Final. Meetings and discussions were held about an amalgamation with Drummoyne.

In 1994 we again we won the Second Division Club Championship and this meant we were promoted in 1995 to First Division, which now included teams from the old Sydney Rugby Union Second Division. The top three teams made it to the Grand Finals with Third Grade (Blunt Cup, coached by Malcolm Baird) being the only winners. Gary Lane approached the Club Management and with their financial assistance inaugurated "The Cats" Golden Oldies.

The Club expanded in 1995 by forming a Colts Team (mainly through Jim Lloyd's connection with St Joseph's College) who made the play offs at the end of the season. We competed and won the NSWSRU Sevens and also completed and won the first ever night Midweek Competition. Five senior teams were fielded in the First Division with the Burke Cup side making it to the final. Our Kentwell Cup Side won the Grand Final in our first year of promotion emulating the 1972 Kentwell Team. We were a close second in the Club Championship. The Colts were the only team to make the semi finals in 1996. While in 1997 the Kentwell Cup side won the Grand Final for the second time in three years, completing a rare hat trick, ‘77, 87, and ’97.

The Club was 1st grade grand finalists in 2000 and 2001 (minor premiers) with the Colts side winning the competition in 2000.

The year 2005, with the Club now in Division Three of the Suburban competition, saw the Club’s under 19’s side win the premiership alongside the Club’s 4th Grade side, who also saluted in 2008.

In 2009, the arrival of Rod Salmon of President of the Club fostered a renewed era of success. All four Senior sides made the Grand Final in 2009, each taking home the runners-up title. This success translated into the securing of the Doc Harris Shield as Division Three Club Champions which saw the Club promoted to Division Two for 2010.

 In 2010, Second Grade was successful in winning the Stockdale Cup alongside the Club’s re-established Colts team who won the Robertson Cup.

In 2011, the Club’s First Grade side defeated UNSW in the Barraclough Cup Grand Final, securing the Division Two Club Championship, the overall club championship in the form of the Cowboy Cup and promotion to the Kentwell Cup once again.

The Club enjoyed two seasons in Division One of Suburban rugby before being relegated to Division Two where it was a strong challenger, with a First Grade Barraclough Cup Premiership in 2016 & a Third Grade Blunt Cup Premiership in 2017 (along with a First Grade Grand Final loss).

2017 was a massive year for the Club as it also saw the club colours represented by the GIO NSW Gladiators in Wheelchair Rugby & The Hunters Hill Women's Rugby Union Football Club playing both their first games and winning their first competition games. With the Seniors winning the 2nd Division Club of the Year trophy and earning promotion back up into Division 1, Hunters Hill RUFC took out the 2017 NSW Rugby Club of the Year Award.