The Southee Family UH Rugby Club Connections & Recollections

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This is the first in an intended series of Blogs telling the stories of some of the identities involved in the 110 years of Club Rugby in Upper Hutt to be celebrated 2019 – 2020.

I take the cue for this from the extraordinary number of families involved from the very early days as players, supporters and administrators who are still involved in some way.

Here is a photograph of the Upper Hutt Third Grade Team, Runners-Up in the Grade Championship in 1920. This photograph was included in the Upper Hutt Rugby Football Club Jubilee History 1970-1995 researched and edited by Dudley Hercock and includes team members Charlie and Stump Southee.

J A Kelliher in his publication “Upper Hutt – The History” records that the first of the Southees, millwright and then seaman John, and his second wife Sophia, nee Sharpe, with his 6 children, arrived in New Zealand in 1841 in the Lady Nugent. Their second son George with his wife Maria Sunnex were the family’s Akatarawa pioneers.

Charles and Albert Henry (Stump) commonly called “Alf” were sons of Henry Alfred, the son of George and Maria.

Alf, a Carrier and Drover by trade, was also prominent in Upper Hutt with the Axemen’s Club and was accidentally killed at Trentham in 1940 in a vehicle accident.

He gained some notoriety with the officials in Upper Hutt for his practice of understating the number of sheep he had driven through the town, thus avoiding payment of the full amount of the charge payable under the Bylaws.

Alf’s Grandson, Kerry, a prominent present day Upper Hutt Rugby identity, recalls that Grandfather Alf joined the Salvation Army as a result of some discontent with the Roman Catholic Church which his family supported. Alf’s major role was as the Collector attached to the “Sallies” Band on Friday nights canvassing Main Street in Upper Hutt.

Kerry has told me that Alf, who was Deaf, walked everywhere. It was on a walk home to Upper Hutt from the Salvation Army Church in Lower Hutt on a Sunday that he had the misfortune of being hit by a motor vehicle.

For the record Alf’s brother Chas. Southee received the award for the most improved Back in the 1912 Season.

Charlie Southee 1922. Somewhat different physique to Kerry’s.

Another Southee family connection was George Farrow, a Life Member of the UHRFC, elected in 1931. The Upper Leader, 12 March 1959 reported that at the Club’s AGM George had been congratulated on having reached the age of 80 Years – “a high scorer”.

George, Kerry’s Grandfather, was the Great Grandfather of All Black T J Perenara and Father of Terry Farrow of the Titahi Bay and Norths Clubs, the donor of the Terry Farrow Cup played annually between Upper Hutt and Norths. Terry’s mother had been born at Cross Creek and Terry in Russell Street, Upper Hutt.

Another Southee was Randall “Huckleberry/Huck Southee (Kerry’s Uncle) who played for the Club in the 1930s.

Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Vol. 8, Issue 41, 24 September 1937

From the Upper Hutt Leader, 13 June 1940: “Another player who is a toiler, but is liable through eagerness to become offside is Southee. this player is yet another asset to the team.”

K J (Kerry) Southee played through many grades with the UHRFC and was playing with the UH Senior Second side which won its Grade in 1968, Vice-Captain in 1969, Captain 1970-72 and then moved on to coaching – Second Grade 1st Division 1973, Presidents Grade 1975 and Senior Thirds 1977. In 1965 Kerry was selected for the WRFU Senior 2nd Representative Team. He was a prodigious worker for the Club giving it the advantage of his carpentry experience and skills.

Captain Kerry Southee leads the Seniors out for the first game played on completion of the new Club Rooms and Stand 1972.

It is interesting to note that Rugby in Upper Hutt was not the sole domain of the Rugby Club. The Upper Hutt Leader 5 October 1961 reported that the U.H. Axemen’s Club “Last weekend a team of 26 sportsmen “flew to Nelson by a chartered aircraft to play a challenge rugby match against a combined Nelson Marlborough team. An interesting feature of the combined team was the presence of four current Nelson representatives. The combined team took the lead early in the game by using their heavier forwards thus giving their backs a decisive advantage allowing them to build up a lead of 11 points. Just before half-time lan Simpson scored a good forward- try from loose play to make the half-time score 11-3. Upper Hutt showing renewed vigour opened the scoring in the second half when Colin Rose scored between the posts from “a dribbling rush”. This try was converted narrowing the margin by .11-8. Five minutes later the ,combined team kicked a good penalty- furthering their lead by 14-8. With 10′ minutes to go Bob Christie, showing his old dash cut through their defence to run ’50 yards and score between the posts. This try was converted to make the score -14-13. With a minute to go the pace was really on. Colin Rose won a tight head on the combined 25, Gordon Wyeth ran the blind side where -a reverse pass was taken by Kerry Southee who cut through to score mid-way between the post and corner flag to clinch the game, with the final score of 16-14. This victory highlighted an undefeated season by the ‘Axemen’s’ team who scored a total of 89 points for and 31 against.”

Kerry took time out in the mining industry in Australia for a period and on his return started where he had left off leading the many maintenance projects around the Club Rooms, in particular he is remembered for the replacement of the roof.

I am hopeful that this Blog will encourage others with an interest in Upper Hutt Rugby to contribute anecdotes, pictures etc to help build a history base to back our Celebration of 110 Years of Club Rugby in Upper Hutt. Turn your memories my way at bobvine697@gmail.com and I would be delighted to included them in this blogging chain.

Please also help with building our contact list by signing up for our news publications via the block bottom right. Much appreciated.

Bob Vine
4 April 2019

  • Sue Campbell April 12, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Brilliant and great work bob

  • Jack Smith April 13, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Great reading

  • Mike Hancock April 13, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    An excellent expose on the UHRFC , principally, the Southee family contribution. I was privileged to have played in 2 successful sides coached by Kerry Southee, who I also had an excellent relationship with as a sub contractor for his building operations, one with Tom Costello, the other solely in Kerrys’ name ..

  • Arthur Andrews April 13, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    I would spend some time at tthe club but Im severely deaf and that makes it difficult.loved reading the blog on the Southees.

  • Kelly Southee April 18, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    I’m very proud of my father Kerry Southee’s contribution to Upper Hutt Rugby. And the long line of Southees before him. Dad knows so many people and is a great story teller of local history.

  • Kelvin griffin April 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Nice work Kerry.I still remember you lifting me up off the deck after Shusta of Oriental Rongotai just about knocked me out after scoring a try in our Senior 2nd match, about 1968. No body beat you back to the Club house from our Wallaceville Hill pre season training. All great memories.

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