A Brief History of the Colleagues Rugby Club

The Club was formed in 1933 and was originally the brainchild of five individuals. Ewen Pizzey, Jim Wishart, Dave Higgins and Harry Kershaw were the original impresarios of the Club.

After the initial administrative processes had been adhered to in complying with NSWRU regulations, Colleagues fielded their first team on the first Saturday in May 1933. This game was played at Lyne Park Rose Bay against Bondi Lifesavers who proved to be too strong for Colleagues defeating the Giants 11-3.

To establish a rugby club during this period would have been a major challenge given that Australia was in the grip of the Great Depression. Despite these challenging economic circumstances, in the following years Colleagues consolidated and expanded and by 1938 were fielding Kentwell, Burke and Whiddon Cup teams. Such was our strength that this translated into our first victory in winning the Club Championship in 1937, and subsequently in 1938 and 39.  Undoubtedly part of this success was due to the unifying social and touring nature of the club. Colleagues embarked on a tour to play Duntroon Military College in Canberra (in 1938) which resulted in a 15-11 victory and further united the club in spirit.

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V.SLowry author: “Sky Blue Winters”: 80 years of Woollahra Colleagues Rugby Union Football Club (published March 2012)


‘Sky Blue Winters’ traces the history of the Woollahra Colleagues rugby union football club.

It examines its origins with the foundation of the club in 1933, the evolution through the Depression and difficult war time years and the post war growth, expansion and development until present day.

The club’s history is segmented into decades.

The book scrutinizes the characters of Colleagues profiling (sometimes humourously) their contribution to the club.

It also deals with the human face of the club outlining some of the distinctive human drama and tragedy (such as the Bali bombing in 2002) that have confronted members at various times during their lives. The stability, dignity, endurance, and success of Colleagues are a constant theme over the club’s eighty year existence.

‘Sky Blue Winters’ emphasises the inclusivity of the club including through the admittance of Australia’s first gay rugby team, the Colleagues ‘Convicts.’ Their growth and evolution is also covered including their success in the recent world gay rugby cup (the Bingham Cup) played in Manchester in June 2012.

An extensive appendix covering all of Colleagues honours is listed at the back of the book.

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