• 20th Tom Brock Lecture – Rugby League Retrospective

    4 September 2018
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    Date: Wednesday 19 September 2018
    Time: 6 for 6.30 pm
    Place: Club York, 99 York Street, Sydney

    The Annual Tom Brock Lecture began in 1999. This year is an occasion to reflect on how rugby league has changed in the past two decades and how these have been reflected in the annual lectures. A Q & A panel featuring some prominent commentators in rugby league, drawn from different backgrounds, will provide a lively and informative way of looking at a number of issues. These include commercialisation, rationalisation of clubs, governance, international football, greater prominence of women and threats to the rugby league brand. An exploration of the past will provide opportunities to consider both the present and the future.

    Members of the panel

    Terry Williams – moderator
    Brian Canavan
    Tracey Holmes
    Roy Masters ll

    RSVP and details at the Tom Brock Website.

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  • 18th Tom Brock Lecture

    12 August 2016
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    The Tom Brock Committee is delighted to announce that Dean Widders will deliver the XVIIIth Tom Brock Lecture with a presentation entitled: My Game, My People.

    Date: Tuesday 20th September 2016
    Time: 6 for 6.30 pm
    Venue: “99 on York”, 95-99 York St, Sydney NSW 2000


    Indigenous footballers have contributed more to rugby league than perhaps to any other Australian sport, and the game is a huge part of Indigenous communities. Participation in rugby league has brought many positive outcomes for Indigenous communities but there have also been some challenges along the way. Dean Widders will examine the place of rugby league in those communities through his own experience and look at the ways the game can affect a positive change.


    Dean Widders grew up in Armidale in country NSW where rugby league gave the Indigenous community a chance to make progress provided a strong voice of unity to the Indigenous community. As a player he spent nine years in first grade with the Roosters, Parramatta and South Sydney before finishing his career in England with Castleford. His passion for the game and for helping the Indigenous community has combined to provide him with great opportunities to learn more about the power of his culture. This power motivated him in his career on the field and still motivates him today in his career off the field where he works as an Indigenous leader in rugby league. These days he is employed educating Indigenous players about their responsibilities as role models to our communities, but also seeks to ensure they are armed with the skills and knowledge to have a strong positive voice to create a better Australia.

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  • 17th Tom Brock Lecture 2015

    5 June 2015
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    The Tom Brock Committee is delighted to announce that Ross McMullin will deliver the XVIIth Tom Brock Lecture with a presentation entitled: Retrieving Ted Larkin (1880–1915): Outstanding footballer, acclaimed organizer, original Anzac

    Date: Wednesday 16th September 2015
    Time: 6 for 6.30 pm
    Venue: 99 York Street Club, 95-99 York St, Sydney NSW 2000


    Rugby league in its earliest years displayed clear potential, but success proved elusive until a capable administrator, Ted Larkin, was handed the reins in 1909 when he became the league’s first full-time secretary. Larkin is little known today, but it was under his leadership that rugby league advanced from the unpropitious plight it was in when he took over and rapidly became the most popular winter sport in Sydney and beyond.

    The 2015 Tom Brock lecture will analyse the vital role of Ted Larkin. It will illuminate how he came to be in charge of rugby league; evaluate how and why he made it successful; underline how strenuously the rugby league officials tried to retain him even after he moved into another sphere with a spectacular triumph;
    and outline what happened to him afterwards — a sequence of events that stirred profound emotion among those familiar with the circumstances.


    Dr Ross McMullin is a historian and biographer whose main interests are Australian history, politics and sport. His book Pompey Elliott won awards for biography and literature. Another biography, Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius, was commended by the judges of the National Biography Award. He also wrote the commissioned ALP centenary history The Light on the Hill, and another political history So Monstrous a Travesty: Chris Watson and the World’s First National Labour Government.

    His latest book, Farewell, Dear People: Biographies of Australia’s Lost Generation, is a multi-biography of ten exceptional Australians who died in World War I. Among them is Ted Larkin, who played a significant role in the early years of Rugby League. Farewell, Dear People has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History and the National Cultural Award.

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  • Tom Brock Scholarship 2012: Call for Applications

    7 October 2011
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    The Tom Brock Bequest Committee was established by the Australian Society for Sports History to promote research and writing on the history of Rugby League, with a major focus on the South Sydney district. One of the Committee’s functions is the award of an annual scholarship intended to assist early career researchers.

    The scholarship will be awarded to assist in the completion of a relevant project in the field of history or a related humanities or social science discipline, preferably related to:

    • The social history of rugby league in Australia, OR
    • The history of the relationship of rugby league to other sports in Australia

    For more information and details on how to apply, please click here. The closing date for applications is 4 November 2011.

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  • Tom Brock Scholar 2010

    7 December 2010
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    The Tom Brock Bequest Committee is delighted to announce that Dr Mark Falcous from the University of Otago will be the 2010 Tom Brock Scholar. Mark’s project is entitled “Policies and People in the Marginalization of Rugby League in Aotearoa New Zealand 1908-1995” and will examine available primary data to identify the socio-historical contexts of rugby league in New Zealand.

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