Club History

Melbourne Rugby Union Football Club is one of the oldest clubs in Victoria and was officially established in 1909, although a club played under the ‘Melbourne Rugby Union' banner as early as 1888. Three games are recorded as being played that year:- one against an English touring team and two against a New Zealand Maoris side.  All three games resulted in losses - but the game they play in heaven had arrived in Victoria.
 
The establishment of Melbourne Rugby club, along with four other clubs before 1914, led to a regular competition, but few records of this era survive.   Victorian rugby was a somewhat stop start affair, due in no small part to the impact of World War I.
 
The Victorian Rugby Union (VRU) was established in early 1926 which, in turn, led to the formation later that year of four more clubs, namely St Kilda, Kiwis, Navy and Air Force.
 
Melbourne’s playing colours have changed over the years. Initially, the club adopted the colours of the then President H.G.Penwill's former club, Newport RFC (Wales), a founding club of the Welsh Rugby Union, namely gold and black hooped jerseys, black shorts and black socks with gold tops.
 
During the period 1930-35, Mr D.L. Cowper became the club's and Victoria's first Australian international representative and, in 1933, captained Australia against the Springboks in South Africa.
 
After the Second World War, Melbourne switched to playing in an 'Australian Green' jersey, generously donated by Randwick RUFC (Sydney) - primarily due to the shortage of all woollen/cotton sports gear in the early days after the war. This "temporary loan" of colours lasted from 1946 to 1998.
 
In the early days of the late 1920s and 1930s, Melbourne Rugby Club's motto of that era was "Praemia Post Habeas Ludo" (loosely translated as "After the Battle, Enjoy the Prize"). Following the club's amalgamation in 1939 with Old Boys Rugby Club and prior to his departure, for military duties in World War II, the club accepted the recommendation of club member E.E."Weary" Dunlop that the rampant unicorn become the club emblem along with his suggested new club motto "Never a step backward".
 
Both the emblem and the motto along with the club's victory song "We're on the Road With Melbourne's Army" are still deeply embedded in the Melbourne Rugby Club 'psyche.' Another mark of recognition of Melbourne RUFC was introduced by R.I. Kingman in the early Sixties. The sound of 'Who's that man with the big red nose' has become synonymous with MRUFC throughout Victorian rugby circles.
 
In recent years, MRUFC's playing kit has reverted to the stripes of old. In 1998, Melbourne began playing in their latest strip.
 
In 1999 MRUFC gained the rights to play on Romanis Reserve.  Now known as Orrong Romanis Park, it is situated on Orrong Road, between High Street and Malvern Roads, Prahran (opposite Toorak Park), and is regarded as one of the best playing surfaces in the Victorian union.
 
Wallaby Reps - Cowper 1931-33 (captain '33), Gourlay 1946, Hills 1950, Wakefield 1951, Magee 1953, Douglas 1962, Gibbs, Tulloch & Webb 1966, Fitter 2005 
 
Club Champions – 1949, 1950, 1958, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1983, 2000, 2010 & 2011
 
First Grade Premiers - 1909, 1912, 1913, 1930, 1935, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1954, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011
 
Second Grade Premiers – 1932, 1934, 1948, 1963, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1995, 2004, 2005 & 2010
 
Third Grade Premiers – 1932, 1933, 1972, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, 2001, 2010 & 2011
 
Fourth Grade Premiers – 1964, 1983, 2010 & 2011
 
Colts Premiers – 1970, 1973, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006
 
Social Grade Premiers – 1986, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995
 
Women's Grade Premiers – 1997, 1998, 1999
 
Under 16s Premiers – 2001
 
Under 14s Premiers – 2001
 
Under 12s Premiers - 2009

Photos: 
Melbourne Rugby Club's First Jersey
The Mertle Green of Randwick, Ella Brothers