1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain

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The 1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was the second ever Kangaroo tour and was actually a tour by an "Australasia" team, which included four New Zealand players, rather than the Australian team alone.[1] It took place over the British winter of 1911-12 and this time, to help promote the game of Rugby league in New Zealand, the Northern Rugby Football Union invited an 'Australasian' team for the 1911-12 tour. They became the first tourists to win the Ashes[2] and the last to do so on British soil for over half a century.[3]

Touring squad[edit]

Prior to the tour a three-way series of matches between New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand was organised as a basis of selection for the tour.[4] The New South Welshmen dominated the touring side, with four New Zealanders and only one Queenslander selected. However counted amongst the New South Welshmen was Con Sullivan, who had moved to Australia from New Zealand a few years before. Due to family and business commitments, rugby league great Dally Messenger declined to tour with the 1911-12 Kangaroos.[5] His friend and team-mate Sandy Pearce also chose not to go.[6] Chris McKivat who had captained the 1908 Wallabies to Olympic Gold was at age 32 a natural selection as tour captain. The Heads/Middleton reference describes McKivat as being revered on that tour – a magnificent general, tough, durable and an inspiration to the men around him. It quotes Johnny Quinlan the tour co-manager "He always set a splendid example in conduct and training – a natural leader"[7] Tour vice-captain was Paddy McCue. Tour managers were Charles H Ford and John Quinlan. The team sailed to England on the RMS Orvieto. The tourists were paid £4/5/ per week and received a bonus of £178 each.[8]

New South Wales[edit]

All eight teams of the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership were represented in the touring squad.

New Zealand[edit]

The New Zealand players that accompanied the Australians on tour have been listed in the Australian Rugby League's Kangaroos players register.[9]


Robert "Harold" Nicholson of Queensland was also selected for the tour but withdrew.[10]


Played: 35 Won: 28 Drew: 2 Lost: 5 Ashes: Australia 2-0

7 October 1911 win v Wales, 28-20 at Ebbw Vale, Wales (7,000)

18 October 1911 win v England, 11-6 at Fulham, England (6,000)

First Ashes test[edit]

Test # 12

8 November 1911
Australasia 19 - 10 Great Britain
5 Tries:
V. Farnsworth (2)
H. Hallett
W. Cann
A. Francis
2 Goals:
W. Cann
A. Francis
[1] 2 Tries:
W. Davies

2 Goals:
J. Thomas
St James' Park, Newcastle England
Attendance: 5,317
Referee/s: B Ennion
The Kangaroos performing their war cry before the first Test.

By playing in this match, Australia's Charles Fraser set a new record for youngest Australian test player at 18 years and 301 days which would stand until 2007.

6 December 1911 loss v England, 3-5 at Nottingham (3,000)

Second Ashes test[edit]

Test # 13

16 December 1911
Australasia 11 - 11 Great Britain
3 Tries:
D. Frawley
C. McKivat
C. Russell
1 Goal:
A. Francis
[2] 3 Tries:
H. Wagstaff (2)
J. Lomas

1 Goal:
A. Wood
Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh Scotland
Attendance: 8,000

Third Ashes test[edit]

Test # 14

1 January 1912
Australasia 33 - 8 Great Britain
9 Tries:
T. Berecry (2)
D. Frawley (2)
P. McCue (2)
C. McKivat (2)
V. Farnsworth
3 Gaols:
D. Frawley (2)
H. Gilbert
[3] 2 Tries:
D. Clark
J. Lomas

1 Gaol:
A. Wood
Villa Park, Birmingham England
Attendance: 4,000


  1. ^ John Coffey, Bernie Wood (2008). 100 years: Māori rugby league, 1908-2008. Huia Publishers. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-86969-331-2. 
  2. ^ "The history of rugby league". centenaryofrugbyleague.com.au. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  3. ^ Cunneen, Chris (2001). The best ever Australian Sports Writing. Australia: Black Inc. p. 321. ISBN 1-86395-266-7. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Fagan, Sean. "New Zealand 'Kangaroos'". rl1908.com. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  5. ^ Cuneen, Chris (2006). "Messenger, Herbert Henry (Dally) (1883 - 1959)". Australian dictionary of biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  6. ^ Kristine, Corcoran. "Pearce, Sidney Charles (Sandy) (1883–1930)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Ian Heads & David Middleton (2008). A Centenary of Rugby League. MacMillan Publishers. p. 47. 
  8. ^ W. A. Cann (1946-06-12). "1908-09 Kangaroos blazed R. L. trail". Sydney Morning Herald, The. p. 9. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  9. ^ ARL. "Australian Kangaroos players register". australianrugbyleague.com.au. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  10. ^ QRL. "QRL History". Queensland representatives. qrl.com.au. Retrieved 2009-07-06. [dead link]
  11. ^ Wigan RL History - 1911-12 Season at wigan.rlfans.com Archived 11 August 2009 at WebCite
  12. ^ "1911 Tour Match: Wigan 7 Australia 2". cherryandwhite.co.uk. RLFANS.COM. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 

External links[edit]