Every six months, some of Australian Rugby’s most important figures assemble at Ettalong on the Central Coast. For almost 30 years, Wallabies representatives from the 1940s, 50s and 60s have stayed in touch through these twice yearly reunions. It is an afternoon of reminiscing, good cheer and making certain those who need help get it. On Tuesday, Wallabies such as Jim Phipps, Kevin Ryan, Jim Boyce and Saxon White, together with former international referees, administrators and their partners met to debate everything good and bad about Australian rugby.
In recent years, the most important guest has been Eric Tweedale, a mighty prop forward who first played rugby in 1937 when the legendary Wallaby forward enforcer «Wild Bill» Cerutti persuaded him to have a game. Tweedale’s first international was in 1946, against the All Blacks in Australia’s initial post-war Test. He went on to become part of one of the most famous touring teams, the 1947-48 Wallabies, who did not have their line crossed in internationals against Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England.
Several weeks ago, Tweedale, who proudly holds the honour of being the oldest surviving Wallaby, turned 98.
The 10-Test representative attends these reunions to ensure the memories and reputations of all his Australian teammates who have passed on are not forgotten, including his Wallabies front-row partner and tour roommate Sir Nicholas Shehadie. They were the closest of mates for well over 70 years, with the late Sir Nick picking Tweedale in his «ideal Australian XV».