History of Forest Rugby Club

The Forest Rugby Club was incorporated in 1958, to serve the community, not only as a Rugby club but also to assist in the development of the youth in the Forest area. The club has grown dramatically since its inception and now fields junior teams from U6’s to U18’s.

The club has become one of NSW strongest and now fields 5 senior teams and U21 Colts in the NSW Suburban Rugby Union 2nd Division Baraclough Cup.

1957 The Forest Rugby story began when a small group of men from the French’s Forest area, who used to meet for a drink after work in a Chatswood Hotel, decided they would like their sons to play rugby. As there was no organised rugby in the area, one of the fathers Bill Holmes, formed a team of boys to enter the Gordon, Northern Districts competition. The team was coached by Dick Healy and managed by Bill Holmes and Les Cowan.

1958 With numbers of players, officials and supporters increasing it was time to form a club. The first meeting was held in Soldiers Hall, Forestville on 10th February 1958. The clubs colours of Bottle Green and White were chosen. The home ground would be French’s Forest Primary School Oval.

1963 The clubs first constitution was drafted and accepted.

1964 The clubs home ground was changed to Forestville Primary School Oval

1965 The clubs junior teams numbered 14 and 250 players were registered

1966 The War Memorial Playing Fields was used as the clubs home ground for the first time. Peter Sullivan was the first player from the club to be selected to play for NSW. The clubs numbers had grown to 300 and 16 teams were being fielded.

1970 The club became the GNDJRU Club Champions. The first life membership was granted to founding member Bill Holmes. 1971 Peter Sullivan was selected in the Australian Test team to play the Springboks and became the clubs first international. Peter went on to play in the Wallaby touring side and later captained Australia.

1972 The club entered its first team in the Sydney Sub-District Competition. The club also won the GNDJRU Club Championship for the 3rd consecutive year.

1973 The Sub-District sides played in the Third Division – McClean, Grose & Walker Cups

1975 Forest’s favourite son Peter Sullivan returns to coach the Sub District 1st XV

1976 The club took out the Stockdale Cup and were runners up in the Barraclough Cup

1977 The club won GNDJRU Club Champs again. 105 senior players making up 4 teams

1978 The club won the 1st Grade Premiership.

1979 The club was invited to join the newly formed 3rd Division. In April, the club played its first, grade match against Hawkesbury Ag College at Richmond. It is now history that the club were beaten 3 – 12 by Mosman in the 1st grade Grand Final of that year

1980 The club had 3 players selected in the 3rd Division Rep Team. The 2 colts teams had a successful year taking out the clubs first Divisional Premiership in the Sydney 2nd Division colts Competition.

1981 The vast amount of travelling took its toll and the club had difficulty fielding teams in all 4 grades.

1982 The decision was made to return to Sub-District competition and the club entered 3 teams in the 3rd Division McClean Cup. Not only had difficulty been experienced in fielding teams in the seniors, but a continual drop-off was occurring at junior level. The juniors were playing in composite Forest/Killarney teams from U7 to U15. On 22 September 1982 the new junior club to be known as the Forest Killarney Shamrocks was formed. In 1983 the Forest District Rugby Club controlled senior rugby and the Forest/Killarney Shamrocks controlled the juniors.

1983 The 1st grade won the McClean Cup Premiership. The club itself won the divisional club championship.

1984 The new change room facilities at Melwood Oval were completed for the start of the season. For the 2nd season in succession the club took out the club championship. Premiers in both 1st & 2nd grade.

1985 With increasing player numbers, the club was promoted to 2nd division. The club struggled to field a 4th grade side and lack of coaching staff made it a difficult time. At the end of the 1985 season the club embarked on an end-of-season trip to Hawaii

1987 Barry Sullivan returned to 1st grade coach. Finished 2nd in club championship. 3rd grade won Blunt Cup

1988 Rob Derwin coached 2nd grade to the first of many Stockdale Cup Premiership. The successful 30th year ball was attended by some 300 past & present members. The club had 106 players and could field 5 grades

1989 Forest won the Club Championship and the 2nd grade title. Won promotion to Kentwell Cup. Embarked on another end-of-season trip to Hawaii. Competed in the Hawaiian World club Championship being defeated in the quarterfinals after winning their pool. Brought home the trophy for Most Social Team. The juniors also returned to play under the banner of Forest. The first submission is put to council for our own clubhouse

1990 Forest first season in the 1st Division amazed everyone. 1st grade led the comp at the halfway mark, eventually being defeated in the final against Waverley. Finished 3rd in the club champs. Approval is granted to construct the clubhouse

1991 Andrew Mills is selected in the Australian U17 to become our first junior international

1992 Work commences on the Clubhouse with a team of workers led by Alan Astley. Club has over 130 players and fields 6 senior grades. Also embarks on its first World Tour.

1993 Due to the Metropolitan Clubs coming into the Suburban Rugby Union, 1st Division, of which Forest was part of, ran a 20 club competition to sort out the strongest clubs, The Forest club finished 12th in the club championship so therefore would play in the 2nd division the following year. Numbers in the seniors were down a little on the previous years but the club regularly fielded 5 grade sides. The juniors continued to struggle, but we still managed to field under 7’s to under 9’s.

1994 Playing in the 2nd division competition, it was once again a 20 club competition, but this year the Forest fared much better finishing the season in 9th spot on the club championship, therefore allowing them to remain in 2nd division. Senior numbers had picked up and Forest each week fielded a 5th grade. The juniors numbers increased in the mini’s with under 7’s to under 10’s fielding sides each week.

1995 This year saw an influx of players and new coaching staff, and the seniors performed extremely well, picking up the Stockdale Cup (2nd grade) and Blunt Cup (3rd grade) Premiership. The club also finished 3rd on the club championship.

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