August 19 1905

Australia v Wellington-Wairarapa-Horowhenua


Three weeks after “The Originals” left on their tour of Britain the 1905 Australian side opened their tour of New Zealand at Athletic Park. Their opponents were a combined side, two from Wairarapa, one from Horowhenua and the rest from Wellington. Despite the absence of the star player en route to Britain the home side had a comfortable victory.

 This Australian team played in maroon and blue hooped jerseys, a combination of the Queensland New South Wales colours.






 The visiting Australian team played its first match at the Athletic Park on Saturday, when it met the representatives of the Wellington Province. A fresh southerly breeze swept the field, which was very heavy in parts after last week’s rain. The attendance was large, amounting to something like 8,000, and the spectators were enthusiastic and generally impartial.

Although the visitprs were beaten by 23 to 7, and never once crossed the Wellington line, better things may be expected of them as the tour progresses. They are not likely to meet a stronger,, is as strong, a forward team in New Zealand as the one they were pitted against on Saturday. Playing with the wind behind them in the first half, the Australians gave the Provincial team any amount of defensive work, and they were dangerously close to the line on several occasions. The early part of the second term, however, was a procession of tries for the Wellington, and the spell was well advanced before the visitors placed a check on the career of the Wellington men. The Australian forwards are a likely lot, perhaps more promising than any other Australian vanguard which has visited Wellington of late years. The back play pretty well the same game as they have played previously in New Zealand, but they have advanced the centre kick which was worked with such good effect in Australia by the English team. The visitors showed some brilliant tackling at times, and on the whole handled the ball cleaner than their opponents. The scrum-half scooped the ball away from he scrum from almost impossible positions, and away it went from the five eights(sic) to the centre, and so on without variation. The passing was pretty, but not very effective. When cornered the backs three the ball anywhere, and trusted to Providence. A noticeable fault of some of the rearguard was waiting for the ball to bounce instead of taking it on the full. The Wellington scrummagers played a fine game, but there is room for improvement in the rearguard, The place kicking of Wickham, captain of the visitors, who placed two goals from halfway, was a feature of the game.


 Australia (Colours, Maroon and Blue) – Fullback,A F Penman (12,3); threequarters, S Wickham (Captain, 12.5), P Carmichael (11.6), B Smith (13.4); five eighths, C Russell (12.3; halfbacks; E A Anlezark (10.13), M Dore (10.9); forwards, A Burdon (12.3), E A Oxlade (11.7), J Clarken (11.4), H A Judd (13.1), P Burge (13.3), W Hirschberg (13.4), B I Swannell (12.7), C Murrin (12.7).


Wellington (Colours, Black) – Fullback, G Spencer (12.0); threequarters, M Winiata (12.10), J O’Leary (11.4), E Wrigley (13.6); five-eighths, M Sharpe (11.6); halfback, A Ramsden (10.10); forwars, E H Dodd (13.2), E L Watkins (13.4), T Cross (14.5), H R Wright (13.6), J Spencer (Captain, 13.8), A A Wylie (12.0), C Gillespie (13.6), W Warner (11.2), W Hardham (12.8).


J Spencer kicked off for Wellington against the wind, and an exchange of kicks saw play settle about midfield. The visitors pressed, and were assisted by a mull by O’Leary. The blacks drove them out, and then Dore got the ball out to his backs, who gained ground by clean handling of the leather. Oxlade and Burge headed a rush into Wellington quarters, where J Spencer broke through with a good opening before him but knocked on. The visitors kept up the attack, but J O’Leary at length set Wellington in the ascendant. They worked into the visitor’s twenty-five, and gradually forged along towards the line. From a scrum about five yards out the ball came out, but Sharpe was smothered. The black forwards came on again, and Penman saved by a mark on his own line. Another onslaught followed, and resulted in a free kick against Wellington close to the line. Following this Wellington rushed the ball across the field close to the line, and a kick from Penman rebounding, Winiata secured the leather, and, after beating two opponents, crossed the line. G Spencer converted.

Wellington     5

Australia        0

From the kick out Wellington returned to the charge, and settled in the visitor’s twenty-five, but Anlezark relieved with a smart punt, a performance which was repeated a little later by Carmichael. Anlezark was mainly responsible for transferring play to Wellington’s twenty-five. Wickham made a fine attempt to place a goal from past half way, the ball going close to the posts. Oxlade and Murrin were prominent in a subsequent attack by the visitors, but G Spencer saved. The Australian forwards were now playing a good game, and were keeping Wellington well within the halfway flag. At length Judd secured a mark, and Wickham landed a lovely goal from two yards inside of halfway.

Wellington     5

Australia        4

Fast following and an effective tackle by Watkins set Wellington in the ascendant again. The forwards worked to within a few yards of the line, where Penman and Murrin relieved by good kicking. Another rush headed by Dodd, Warner and Cross carried Wellington close to their opponent’s line, and a scrum ensued. Wellington got the ball, with the result that Wrigley dashed over the line. No goal resulted.

Wellington     8

Australia        4

Smart following up by Anlezark caught G Spencer napping, and the Australians set about a vigorous attack in Wellington’s twenty-five. The visitors obtained another mark about half-way, and Wickham made a good effort to convert. The Australian captain put in two clever dodgy runs, on of which ended with his being brought down within a few inches of the line. The visitors maintained a vigorous attack, and a likely looking passing run was upset by a fine tackle by Sharpe. The visitors were having all the best of the play at this stage, and eventually they added another three points, Wickham placing a penalty goal from half-way. The spell ended:

Wellington     8

Australia        7

On resuming the visitors held their own for a spell, Burdon doing some fine work. At length Wellington came on and the visitors forced down as the result of a hard kick. Wellington returned to the charge, and from a scrum about twenty yards from the line the ball came out to Wrigley, who made a brilliant run through the opposition and scored near the corner. No goal.

Wellington     11

Australia        7

Immediately following this, from a scrum in front of the posts, a passing run – Ramsden, Sharp, O’Leary, Wrigley – saw the latter run in again at the corner. The kick failed.

Wellington     14

Australia        7

The Provincial team again pressed and Warner secured a clever mark in front of the posts, but G Spencer did not improve the score. The visitors now rallied, and worked past the half-way flag for the first time. They were not allowed to stay there long, however, but succeeded in holding Wellington in check for some time, and eventually got up as far as the twenty-five line. Open play followed for a time, and ended in O’Leary getting the ball about forty yards out and potting a lovely goal.

Wellington     18

Australia        7

A mull by Anlezark brought trouble on the line, but the visitors staved off the attack. Hardham and Warner came through with the ball at toe, but luck was against them, the leather rebounding   off one of the uprights when a try seemed a certainty. Hard scrumming ensued on the visitor’s line and at last wellington got the ball out and J O’Leary cleverly eluded his opponents and scored under the posts. G Spencer converted.

Wellington     23

Australia        7

This was the final score of the game. Wellington put in a long attack, and then play evened up, and the visitors held their end up well, keeping the blacks in check for a considerable time before time sounded.


The pick of the visitors’ backs were Anlezark, a clever little half-back of more than average ability. Dore, the scrum half, was also up to the mark. Wickham was the pick of the three-quarters, and he was seconded by Carmichael, who played fullback in the second term. Penman was dis appointing. Of the forwards, Murrin, Judd, Burge and Burdon were consistently to the fore.


Wrigley, the young Wairarapa three-quarter, was the best back on the ground. His defence was perfect, and he proved himself a most dangerous man on attack on a good ground. O’Leary, the other Wairarapa man, also performed creditably, though he did not handle the ball cleanly at the outset. Of the forwards, J Spencer, Wright, Watkins, Dodd, Hardham, and Warner all did fine work.

Mr Peter Mackie was referee.

In a conversation after the game, Mr P Mackie, the officiating referee, stated that while the Australians were beaten, no doubt the state of the ground militated against their style of play. Mr Mackie is also of the opinion that the Australians were not seen at their best and Saturday’s play is no criterion of what may be confidently expected in their future games. The referee speaks in high terms of the sportsmanlike spirit that the Australians evinced during the match.——-10–1—-0–