History of Army Rugby


In the Field and On the Field
A Highlight History of the Australian Army Rugby Union

Rugby Union is a sporting code that has been played by generations of service people since the earliest days of Australia’s armed forces.

The story of Rugby Union in the Australian Army is an important component of the Services rugby tradition, and indeed an integral part of the history of the code itself in Australia.

The Australian Army Rugby Union’s (AARU) mission is to promote and develop Rugby Union throughout the Australian Army.

The AARU’s ethos is based on the Army’s values - courage, initiative and teamwork – and the history clearly demonstrates that it has and continues to be a central feature of the sport in the Australian Army. Indeed, the Army’s values have been shaped by competition in sports like Rugby Union over a century.

In striving to fulfil its mission, the AARU commissioned a research project to produce a ‘highlight’ history of Rugby Union in the Australian Army.

The goals of the project were to:

·      Recover, reconstruct and document as much of the AARU’s history as possible.

·      Strengthen the understanding of the AARU’s place within the Army.

·      Recognise key events, characters, stories and anecdotes about the AARU.

Significantly, the project identified that the first truly representative Australian Army Rugby Union team was formed in 1919 in France immediately following the Armistice.

From this project a high quality hard cover book of the highlight history of Rugby Union in the Australian Army has been produced.

The book highlights the players, teams and events that have contributed to the development and successes of Army Rugby Union.

It includes many of the key matches, results and anecdotes about the sport as it was played in Australia and abroad.

The book includes interviews with Ian Mackay, Arthur Fittock, Angie Fairweather and Charles Wilson and contains a large number of photographs - most in colour.

In the Field and On the Field – A Highlight History of the Australian Army Rugby Union is available for purchase here.

A sample view of the book is available here.

The project was completed by Cooee History and Heritage.

 

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