Announcing: “A Celebration of 110 Years of Club Rugby in Upper Hutt”

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Our Club with the support of the Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club is proud to announce the initiation of a community wide programme to celebrate 110 years of Club Rugby in Upper Hutt.

Let’s go back to the beginning:
J A Kelleher in his publication “Upper Hutt – The History” wrote:

“Upper Hutt Rugby Football Club, originally the Upper Hutt Star Club, was formed in 1906 at a meeting at the Provincial Hotel chaired by Dave Greig. About 20 prospective members were present, and the chairman later was appointed captain and also secretary. The colours adopted at that time were black and yellow hoops with white star.

The first regular games were played on a field in Queen Street behind the Provincial. Fairly informal games had been played here since about 1899, also at Campbell’s sawmill site on the other side of the railway, and behind the Railway Hotel, Fortune Lane. The games were mainly between railwaymen. Opposing clubs included Kia Toa of Taita and Petone.

In 1909 the club affiliated to the Wellington Rugby Union and played in the third grade. It changed its colours a number of times in the next few years. During World War War 1 it played under the auspices of the Trentham Military Forces, and reaffiliated with the WRFU in 1920”.

The first written record of a Rugby game being played in Upper Hutt is found in the Evening Post 23 June 1905 reporting that at a weekly meeting of the Management Committee of the Wellington Rugby Union “the Railway team was granted permission to play a game against an Upper Hutt team…”

The only photographic evidence that can be found of Upper Hutt Rugby teams prior to affiliation in 1909 is a copy of a photograph of an Upper Hutt Star Football Club team 1908. This photograph was included in the Club’s publication “A Jubilee History 1970-1995 Volume 2”.

Early in 1909 the Evening Post reported that the Union’s Management Committee decided to reply to an application from the Upper Hutt Football Club, that “unless the club could procure a ground convenient to town, its nomination could not be accepted”, followed by an article published on 1 April reporting “For the first time in its history the Upper Hutt Rugby Football Club has become affiliated to the Rugby Union. The team, which is entering for the third-class competition, has been strengthened considerably of late, and should give a good account of itself during the coming season. Hitherto the club has only indulged in off matches.”

This marked the starting point for Club Rugby in Upper Hutt.

1. Informal games of Rugby were played in Upper Hutt from around 1899,
2. The Upper Hutt Rugby Football Club was formed in 1906,
3. The Club affiliated with the Wellington Rugby Football Union in 1909,
4. During the World War I period the Upper Hutt Rugby Club had 1 team playing Third Class and Junior through to conclusion of the 1916 Season when it withdrew membership of the WRFU. During the War period players in the WRFU Competitions were confined to those under 20 years of age. Trentham Camp had 3/4 teams entered in the Senior Competition.
4. The Club reaffiliated with the WRU in 1920,
5. 2014: Upper Hutt and Rimutaka Rams RFCs dissolved and Upper Hutt Rams RFC established.

The proposed programme under discussion for the Celebration includes:

  • Kick off with Old Timers Day, 27 April 2019. We play Paremata-Plimmerton on this day and have extended a cordial invitation to their Old Timers to join with us in the Celebration,
  • Grand Finale – Dinner and Club activities Queens Birthday Weekend 2020 – Venue Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club,
  • Yellow Bellies Reunion – suggested that YB’s should bid to hold the 2020 BONGO biennial tournament in Upper Hutt
  • Junior Section Reunion
  • Maidstone United Netball Club Reunion
  • Rimutaka Netball Club Reunion

Let’s get started – your help is required:

Events of recent years have unfortunately resulted in a loss of connections with past and present members and their families.

To help correct this a Website has been established with pages dedicated to the Celebration. It also includes a Blog with features which we hope will create an outreach and patronage to re-establish lost and new connections.

To also assist in the process we also have a Webpage “Over the Years” which we hope to fill with ours and your and your families’ stories recollecting the past. The “Comment” feature may be used to give us your stories and images relating to the past

I have the first story nearly completed. It relates to the Southee family – Stump, Charlie, Randall and Kerry.

The idea to create this “memory bank” arises from the fact that in conducting the research for this Blog it was interesting to note the great number of families from those very early days that still reside in Upper Hutt and/or have Rugby connections there.

Above you will find Buttons allowing you to share our Blogs through a number of the social media sites with which you may have accounts together with, at the bottom an email sharing facility to achieve the same. We would very much appreciate your assistance in spreading the word through these channels.

Bob Vine

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