Nicholas Shehadie

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Sir Nicholas Shehadie
75th Lord Mayor of Sydney
In office
24 September 1973 – 26 September 1975
Deputy Barrett Lewis
Leo Port
Preceded by David Griffin
Succeeded by Leo Port
Personal details
Born (1925-11-15) 15 November 1925 (age 92)
Sydney, New South Wales
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Dame Marie Bashir

Sir Nicholas Michael Shehadie, AC, OBE (born 15 November 1925) is a former Lord Mayor of Sydney (1973–1975) and national representative rugby union captain, who made thirty career Test appearances for Australia between 1947 and 1958. He is an inductee into both the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame and the IRB Hall of Fame.

Forebears and early life[edit]

His grandfather Nicholas Shehadie was a clergyman in the Antioch Orthodox Church who migrated from Lebanon in 1910 and later became the head of that church in Australia and New Zealand.[1] Sir Nicholas' father Michael remained in Lebanon due to the outbreak of World War I, won a scholarship to study chemistry at the University of Kiev and in the 1920s chose to migrate to Australia to join his father in Sydney's growing Lebanese community. Michael earnt a living as a chemist and shopkeeper, and having been ordained in Russia took over as the pastoral head of the Antioch Church upon the death of Nicholas senior in 1934.[2]

Nick Shehadie was born in Coogee, New South Wales and grew up in the inner-Sydney suburb of Redfern, attending Cleveland St Public and later Crown St Commercial schools.

Rugby career[edit]

Sir Nick Shehadie.jpg
Early rugby days 1940s
Full name Nicholas Michael Shehadie
Place of birth Coogee, New South Wales
School Cleveland St Public School
Crown St Commercial School
Rugby union career
Position(s) Front row/Second row
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1942–1958 Randwick DRUFC 175 ()
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1943–1957 New South Wales 37 ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1947–1958 Australia 30 ()

The young Shehadie embraced Sydney's sporting lifestyle and joined the Coogee Surf Club where many of the surfers were avid rugby players, Keith and Colin Windon among them. He joined the Randwick Rugby Club and was first picked as a replacement in first grade when he was still aged fifteen. He made his first representative appearance for New South Wales against a Combined Services side at age sixteen.[3] In 1947 he appeared in a New South Wales XV against New Zealand and then made his debut for Australia in the final Test against those same touring All Blacks.

He was selected on the 1947–48 Wallaby tour, the fourth youngest of the 30-man squad. He dislocated his shoulder in the fourth tour match against Cardiff but recovered to make 24 tour appearances including the final two Tests against England and France. He finished the tour in the Wallabies side that met the Barbarians in their inaugural match against an international touring team.

Shehadie made representative appearances against the New Zealand Māori in 1949 and that year toured New Zealand in Trevor Allan's team which first time in history returned victorious with the Bledisloe Cup.[3] He made further representative showings against the British and Irish Lions in 1950, the All Blacks in 1951 and Fiji in 1952.

He made his second tour of New Zealand in 1952 and then on the 1953 Wallaby tour of South Africa he was honoured with the Australian captaincy in eight tour matches and in one Test. He continued to represent at the highest level from 1954 to 1956 and then in 1957 he made history as the first Wallaby to repeat a tour of the British Isles and Europe. While he played in 24 matches of the trip including two Tests, the tour was a disappointment with the Wallabies losing all five Tests. Shehadie was signally honoured however when he became the first tourist to be asked to play for the Barbarians in the final tour match against his own team.[3]

All up, Shehadie made 175 appearances for Randwick in a 16-year club career. He represented for Australia on 114 occasions – the first player to reach the century mark. He played 30 Tests – a record at the time – 3 of them as captain.[4]

Business and public life[edit]

Shehadie worked in the 1950s selling fire doors and securities systems for Wormald Industries and later became a sales manager with an asphalt company. When his footballing days ended he commenced a business supplying and fixing vinyl tiles used in hotel bars and in computer room installations requiring anti-static floors. The business was successful being first to market with a product in high demand by the growing information technology departments of corporate Australia.[5]

Lord Mayor[edit]

His career in public office commenced in 1962 when he stood as an alderman for the council elections of the City of Sydney. He ran on a ticket with the Civic Reform Association, a non-aligned ratepayers' association.[6] He was elected and then served a second term from 1966. When city council boundaries were changed in 1967, his ward moved into the South Sydney precinct and he and his fellow councillors were dismissed overnight. In the next election of 1969 he stood again and was chosen as Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney. He was instrumental in an administration that presided over the development of Martin Place including its beautification and closure to traffic. This leadership also pioneered a system enabling the transfer by sale of city building site ratios whereby owners of historic buildings would no longer be penalised because they weren't able to develop the building.[7]

In 1973 he was elected as Lord Mayor of Sydney. He was in office at the time of the opening of the Sydney Opera House by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973. He officiated at visits by Charles, Prince of Wales in 1972 and by Anne, Princess Royal in 1974. He was in office during the Green Bans when the New South Wales Builders' Labourers Federation led a campaign to protect the built and natural environment of Sydney's Woolloomooloo area from excessive development.

Sydney Cricket Ground[edit]

Shehadie had been a member of the Sydney Cricket Ground for 29 years when in 1978 he was invited by the New South Wales, Minister for Sport, Ken Booth to become a Trustee. At the time he was patron of the Randwick Rugby Club and a committee member of the Sydney Turf Club. He served as Trustee of the SCG from 1978–2001 and was chairman from 1990–2001. His time on the trust saw the installation of lights at the Cricket Ground and the building of the Sydney Football Stadium where a stand was named in his honour. In his final year as chairman a Walk of Honour was opened, with thirty-three plaques honouring sporting champions who have performed at the SCG. Sir Nicholas Shehadie is one of the thirty-three.

Rugby Administration[edit]

He was appointed Chairman of the New South Wales Rugby Union in 1979, a position which gave him a seat on the Australian Rugby Union board, where he was immediately selected Deputy President. In 1980 he became President of the ARU, a position held till 1987. He was instrumental in the schoolboy rule changes which outlawed forceful scrum engagements aimed to avoid neck injuries and make schoolboy rugby safer. He performed as tour manager on the 1981-82 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland.

He was first involved in discussions regarding a Rugby World Cup from 1983 when the ARU raised the matter with the International Rugby Football Board. Initial resistance came from the Home Nation unions with the push coming from Australia and New Zealand. After much international lobbying a 1985 vote saw France, New Zealand and Australia all for it; Scotland and Ireland against it; with England and Wales both split. The vote was carried and Shehadie was appointed joint chairman on the inaugural Rugby World Cup committee with John Kendall-Carpenter of the IRB and Dick Littlejohn of the New Zealand Rugby Union. Shehadie retired after the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup and was made a life member of the ARU.

On 24 October 2011, at the IRB Awards ceremony in Auckland, Shehadie was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in recognition of his role in the creation of the Rugby World Cup.[8]

SBS Broadcasting[edit]

He was appointed as Chairman of the Special Broadcasting Service in 1981 and served that organisation until 1999. SBS is a government-funded Australian public broadcasting radio and television network, chartered to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that reflect Australia's multicultural society.

Duke of Edinburgh's International Award[edit]

From 1992 to 1994 Sir Nicholas was national Chair for the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, Australia

Family life[edit]

In February 1957 Shehadie married Marie Bashir. She was the Governor of New South Wales between 2001 and 2014. They have three children and six grandchildren.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shehadie, A Life Worth living pp11-12
  2. ^ Shehadie, A Life Worth Living pp14-15
  3. ^ a b c Howell, Wallaby Test Captains p147
  4. ^ "Sir Nicholas Michael Shehadie AC OBE". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Shehadie, A Life Worth Living pp105-107
  6. ^ Shehadie, A Life Worth Living pp115
  7. ^ Shehadie, A Life Worth Living pp123
  8. ^ "RWC legends inducted into IRB Hall of Fame" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 26 October 2011. Archived from the original on 27 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Nicholas Michael Shehadie OBE". Australian Government. 1971. Retrieved 11 July 2008. 
  10. ^ "Sir Nicholas Michael Shehadie". Australian Government. 1976. Retrieved 11 July 2008. 
  11. ^ "Nicholas Michael Shehadie AC". Australian Government. 1990. Retrieved 11 July 2008. 
  12. ^ "Governor-General's Program – 17 May 2001". Governor-General of Australia. Archived from the original on 3 August 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  13. ^ "Nicholas Michael Shehadie". Australian Government. 2000. Retrieved 11 July 2008. 
  14. ^ "Nicholas Michael Shehadie". Australian Government. 2001. Retrieved 11 July 2008. 
  15. ^ "Nicholas Shehadie OBE". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 


  • Shehadie, Nicholas (2003) A Life Worth Living, Simon & Schuster Australia
  • Howell, Max (2005) Born to Lead – Wallaby Test Captains, Celebrity Books, Auckland NZ

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Solomon
Australian national rugby union captain
Succeeded by
Alan Cameron
Civic offices
Title last held by
Joseph Bradford
Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney
Succeeded by
Barrett Lewis
Preceded by
David Griffin
Lord Mayor of Sydney
Succeeded by
Leo Port
Media offices
Preceded by
Grisha Sklovsky
Chairman of the Special Broadcasting Service
Succeeded by
Carla Zampatti