Historic records lift lid on local origins of Rugby League

A rare minute book which charts the major decisions being taken as the sport of Rugby League got off the ground in Central West NSW is being handed over to the community.

The book, which contains the minutes from the Central Western Rugby Football League’s Inaugural Meeting on 20 April 1912, has been given to Orange City Council by Grant Jaeger and his family.

The book had been stored in a shed at the back of Jack Jaeger’s shop at the intersection in East Orange known as the Five Ways. The book was then passed onto Jack’s son Trevor (former Orange City Councillor), and then onto Trevor’s son, Grant Jaeger.


GIFT: An event in Orange’s early sporting history was captured in a minutes record book, donated to the community of Orange. Pictured (l. to r.) Grant Jaeger, Library staff Julie Sykes, Jan Richards and Mayor Reg Kidd. (Click to see larger image).

“It’s important that such a rare book with this important local history is be given back to the city,” Grant Jaeger said. “This way it can be looked after and preserved for future generations.”

Mayor Reg Kidd said he was grateful to the Jaegar family for their generous gift to the City of Orange.

“The Minute Book is significant because it tells the sporting history of early football in Orange and the district”, Cr Reg Kidd said. “This is a wonderful acquisition for the City of Orange.”

“A lot of our history has disappeared because no one at the time through it was important.”

Mayor Reg Kidd believes his grandfather was the secretary of the ‘Old Boys’ football club.

Four years after the first Rugby League competition began in Australia, the sport was popular enough that locals wanted to start a competition here in Orange. Minutes of a meeting can be a very dry document, but here are contemporary records tracing the first couple of years at the start of a major football code.”

The book contains reports on the inaugural meeting of the Central West Rugby Football League, held at Forrester’s Hall in Lords Place, Orange. One of the aims was to start a new sporting competition where players, if injured, would receive payment to cover out of pocket expenses.

The first meeting was held Saturday 20 April 1912 with Frank Ford as the Chair. Keith McClymont moved the first motion to form the league which was seconded by Roy Gardiner. Teams represented at the meeting included Our Boys, West End Pirates, Spring Hill and Waratahs.

There are more than 200 pages about Orange’s sporting history written in the book from 1912-1914. Old family names from Orange, team names, the first challenge and rules of the competition are mentioned.

The minute book will be conserved, digitised and made available for the public to view via online platforms.

Members of the community will be able to read decisions made and endorsed by the committee during the two-year period it covers. The events touched on include preparations for Balmain coming to Orange to play on 1st and 3rd June 1912, along with competition rules, presentations and match results.


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WINNERS: The winning team of the 1909 Orange Rugby Union competition, known as the Skidmore Cup, are pictured at the rear of the Wade Park grandstand. (Click to see larger image).

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