View Full Version : Demise of Bulimba Cup - Official Announcement ?

The Partisan
08-10-2005, 01:30 PM
To all the history buffs out there,

Was there an official announcement regarding the demise of the Bulimba Cup or did it just fade away ? Would like to know of any relevant dates if anyone has any information.

Might be spending some time at State Library over summer months researching the game. Reading some of those Interstate game reports of the 70's is a great read, especially over a coldie at the nearby Colmslie Hotel.

On a another note, if anyone has the dates of when Toowoomba played the Poms during their tours it would be most appreciated.

Kevin Boshammer
08-10-2005, 02:23 PM
Hello Partisan,
The last Bulimba Cup series was played in 1972. Toowoomba had defeated Brisbane in the qualifying rounds at the Athletic Oval, but were soundly beaten by Brisbane in the Final at Lang Park in about May of 1972.
As I recall, the announcement about the cessation of the famous competition was made by the QRL in about October of 1972, in an official press release to the Courier-Mail and other papers like the Queensland Times and the Toowoomba Chronicle. The Bulimba Cup had long been the subject of a vilification campaign by moronic Brisbane journalists like Jack Reardon and George Long.
The competition had lasted from 1925 to 1972, but Brisbane's enormous population growth and the increasing professionalism of the Brisbane club competition made the Bulimba Cup an untenable proposition.
Ipswich was particularly uncompetitive, being so much closer to Brisbane and with most of the BRL first grade sides containing several Ipswich products. The Ipswich Rugby League also suffered badly from a long succession of poorly-educated and barely literate officials. Toowoomba could probably have toughed it out in the Bulimba Cup for several more seasons, but the basis of and the rationale for the competition was increasingly doubtful by the early 1970's.
The very fact that the Toowoomba and Ipswich teams remained so strongly competitive with the State Capital's representative team for so long into the twentieth century is a complete indictment of the incompetence and drunkenness of the BRL club officials who ran the BRL clubs in the post-war years from 1945 through to the early 1970's.
For example, Brisbane failed to win the Bulimba Cup on any occasion between 1951 and 1960 - at a time of enormous population and economic growth of the State Capital. What does that say about how poorly run were the Brisbane clubs and the BRL itself in that period?
As regards Toowoomba and Great Britain games - Toowoomba played Great Britain on most tours from 1910 onwards, and after World War II in 1946, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1968 (World Cup tour), 1970, 1974, 1975 (v England, World Cup tour) 1979, 1984 and 1988.
Toowoomba beat Great Britain in 1924, 1979 and 1984.
I'm sure the Toowoomba Chronicle could help you with match reports from their archives. I saw the tour games of 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1968, all before big crowds at the Athletic Oval and with the Clydesdales fiercely competitive in all of these games.
Vince Karalius and Dick Huddart had huge games for Great Britain in the 1958 match.
Good luck with your research on the Clydesdales and on Rugby League in Toowoomba, "The University of Rugby League", as the fabled mountain city was known during the great Duncan Thompson's coaching reign from 1951-1956.

09-10-2005, 01:58 PM
Great stuff.

I can't help with dates but a book I've got lists the following Toowoomba v Great Britain matches :

1920 GB 48 def Twba 28 (Crowd 4000)
1924 Twba 23 def GB 20 (10000)
1932 GB 7 drew with Twba 7 (10861)
1936 GB 10 def Twba 8
1946 GB 29 def Twba 12 (5500)
1950 GB 44 def Twba 12 (7000)
1954 GB 25 def Twba 14 (13310)
1958 GB 36 def Twba 19 (7500)
1962 GB 36 def Twba 12 (10491)
1966 GB 38 def Twba 10 (6220)
1970 GB 37 def Twba 13 (6549)
1974 GB 42 def Twba 16 (4160)
1979 Twba 19 def GB 16 (5500)
1984 Twba 18 def GB 16 (4051)
1988 GB 28 def Twba 14 (4500)

Haven't got the details from the 1968 game.

09-10-2005, 02:01 PM
This is also an interesting site regarding the legendary Toowoomba teams -


Kevin Boshammer
09-10-2005, 02:42 PM
Toowoomba's Undisputed Champions by Sean Fagan of RL1908.com

"A champion team must be almost obsessed with teamwork. Individual brilliance is expendable."

"Contract football is flowing football. It has no relation to bash and barge stuff. It is what Rugby League is all about - or is supposed to be."

"The player does not die with the ball. It moves on and on. Ideally no ball carrier is so smothered that he must play the ball."

Duncan Thompson,
Toowoomba Clydesdales


They revolutionised how the game was played.
This team was the mighty Toowoomba Clydesdales.
The Light Blues. 1924 to '25.

From the Darling Downs, west of Brisbane. An inland city of 30,000 inhabitants. "Where they breed them big."

A skyrocket team. Tom Gorman, Herb Steinohrt, Duncan Thompson, Vic Armbruster, Dan Dempsey, Mick Madsen, Edwin Brown, Bill Spencer, Jim Bennett.

Their dynasty began with a match against Jonty Parkin's English tourists.

It is Wednesday 18 June 1924...

The cream of English footballers will cross swords with Toowoomba.
"Yes, we have heard something of Toowoomba. We are told that your boys are cracks of the 13 aside game - we realise that we will have to put our best foot forward when we meet them."

The streets of the city were crowded from 11.30 onwards, and from that hour there was a continuous stream of people up to the Athletic Oval. Never in its history has the railway station presented such a busy appearance.

The special trains kept arriving. There were 450 passengers on the Wallangarra train, 500 on the Killarney, 500 on the Chinchilla, the two specials from Pittsworth and Clifton were packed. They came from below the Range, as well as from all the intervening centres. The 'sweeper' from Brisbane was overflowing when it arrived, it left practically empty. Hundreds also came by motor cars, sulkies, and motor cycles.

Admission tickets were sold at the railway station, and Duncan Thompson's sports store. But even sellers with large quantities were quickly sold out. Cars lined the streets, for a 100 yards, some were even left within the Park.

The biggest crowd ever seen at a Toowoomba sports fixture. The stand is full to overflowing, still hours before the big game is to start. The side lines and the spaces at both ends of the arena are packed with crowded masses of spectators. More than 10,000. The late arrivals could obtain only a very poor view of the game.

Inspector McNamara and Senior Sergeant Hawkes could not have been bettered - their expert supervision of the ground and the lines of traffic was splendid.

A strong westerly was blowing, the belt of shade trees on the Mary-street side broke the force of the wind. In most respects, the day was ideal for football. The sun shone. Late afternoon winter light.

Boys with football programmes were literally rushed, and did a roaring business.

ENGLAND (colour, white): Full back, J. Sullivan; three-quarters, C.Carr, C. Pollard, S. Evans, T. Howley; five-eighth, S. Whitty; half back W. Mooney; forwards, F. Gallagher, J. Thompson, W.Cunliffe, H. Bowman, R.Sloman, D. Rees.

TOOWOOMBA (colour, light blue): Full back, M. Ryan; three-quarters, W. Spencer, T. Gorman, J. Cuneen, J. Lindsay; five-eighth, C. Thompson; half back, D.F. Thompson; forwards, C. Broadfoot, V. Armbruster, H. Leibke, J. Bennett, J. Dempsey, H. Steinohrt.

Tommy Gorman won the toss. The Queensland Governor, Sir Matthew Nathan, set the ball rolling at 3.33pm. He didn't send it "far enough."

A scrum was set at half-way. Dempsey heeled to Australia's wizard half; away went Duncan Thompson at his top. Sent to Colin Thompson who cut in nicely, before giving it to Gorman. Tom sidled past two opponents, he could have scored. Unselfishly, he gave to Bill Spencer, who went over. Duncan Thompson goaled. Toowoomba 5 points to nil.

England's Cunliffe looked like scoring, he knocked on. Howley brought off a fine intercept, and went far before he was brought down. Toowoomba were on the defensive, but the English could not hold the ball.
Poor 'John Bull.'

The second try to the local side came just as suddenly as the first. Spencer, receiving near half, brushed off Carr, Cunliffe and Sullivan, and touched down under the posts. Toowoomba 10 points to nil.

Ten points in eight minutes was some going, but the Englishmen never lost heart.

Sullivan sent in a fine line kick which gained 40 yards for his side. The visitors kept pegging away, and eventually the ball came to Sullivan, who in-passed to Evans, to Pollard, who went over. Sullivan failed at goal. Toowoomba 10 points to 3.

Duncan Thompson, receiving from a scrum close to the England line, sent to his brother Colin, to Gorman, who could have scored again, but sent to Spencer who went over a third time. Duncan Thompson raised the flags - Toowoomba 15 to 3.

The open, fast play of the Toowoomba backs had the tremendous crowd upon their feet time after time with their flashes of brilliance. From a free, Sullivan sent in a beauty between the uprights. Toowoomba 15 to 5.

England kept pressing, and eventually a movement between Carr, who burst through nicely, to Cunliffe, to Howley, resulted in a good try. Sullivan goaled. Toowoomba 15 points to 10.

A free to England and Sullivan's kick was worth 50 yards. Another free kick to England, Sullivan lands the goal. Toowoomba 15 points to 12.

Jonty Parkin, the tour captain, watches "a titanic struggle" from the Press table.

First scrum in the second half. It happened again! Duncan Thompson receiving from the pack, sent to Colin Thompson, to Gorman, Cuneen and Lindsay, the latter crossing for a brilliant try. Toowoomba 18 points to 12.

The Englishmen dribbled the leather. Whitty kicked through, followed quickly, regained, but was smothered by Steinohrt on the line. Mart Ryan retired from the game, having injured his knee. Broadfoot leaving the scrum and filling the position. On resuming Duncan Thompson worked the blind, and gave to Lindsay, who ran over half the length of the field to touch down behind the posts. Duncan Thompson goaled - Toowoomba 23 to 12.

England hit back immediately, for Mooney sent an inside pass to his team mate, Thompson, who went over. Sullivan failed - Toowoomba 23 to 15. Toowoomba again went on the attack but were brought down close to the line. Sullivan then sent in the best line kick of the match, gaining over 80 yards. England tried hard to score in the next five minutes, but were unsuccessful. Nearing time, Bowman dribbled finely on his own all the way to the line, Rees fell on it for the score. Sullivan secured the goal. Toowoomba 23 to 20.

Great excitement marked the last few minutes of play. Toowoomba did all they knew to stop England scoring again. A few more onslaughts from the visiting vanguard might have carried victory to the white-guernseyed men of England.

The referee, James Ollier, blew the whistle for full time. The shadows had crossed the field, it was now almost ten minutes past 5 o'clock.

Toowoomba had won a memorable game, 23 to 20. The crowd were in delightful joy at the conclusion. They carried the leading Toowoomba men shoulder high from the field back to the sheds.

There was a fearful crush at the so-called gates as the crowd departed, and the wonder is that no one was seriously hurt. Many of the ladies had a bad time and several were on the verge of collapse when they finally got through. It took a very long time for the crowd to make its way out.

Standing in the centre of town it was a fine sight to see the cars coming from the grounds down Margaret-street. As far as the eye could see in an easterly direction there was one continuous line of motor cars returning from the match. For 15 minutes the cars passed by. The footpaths for over 20 minutes were thronged with people returning from the match.

All the special trains returned at night, and needless to say all were filled with jubilant supporters of the Toowoomba team. One enthusiast from Chinchilla stated, "They are marvellous, and showed us how the League game should be played."

Of the English, the nuggety and weighty Mooney was perhaps the best. Sullivan, who is only 20 years of age, should go very far in the Rugby League football world.

This great encounter will linger long in the memory of those many thousands who witnessed it, and it has had the effect of putting Toowoomba "on the map" in a football sense as it never was before.

The match will probably be talked about when the smallest boy who saw it will be white with the snows of time. Toowoomba deserved its great victory, but the vanquished men of England deserve every credit for the way they stuck to their guns throughout and fought back with true British determination.

Supporters of the game in our city are entitled to feel highly elated over the great victory. "The men played like galloping clydesdales," said Mayor Annand.

Toowoomba were unbeaten for the rest of the 1924 season, and all of the next - twelve games - 323 points for, to 136 against. They conquered the NSW state team, New Zealand, Brisbane, Ipswich, Victoria and South Sydney. This wonderful team of hard, skilled and entertaining footballers rebuked every attempt to claim their crown.

Toowoomba achieved what looked to be impossible.

Such a parallel will probably be unknown for all time.

History Article Sean Fagan / RL1908
Source material: Steinohrt family collection and the Toowoomba Chronicle

RL1908 Feature Articles (http://www.rl1908.com/rugby-league-news-archive.htm)

Kevin Boshammer
09-10-2005, 03:03 PM
Great Britain visited Australia in 1968 for the World Cup tournament of that year.

The Brits played several tour games in Queensland following the World Cup Final, in which Australia defeated France 20-2.

Great Britain defeated Toowoomba 28-10 in this 1968 game, with late tries inflating the final winning margin for the Chooms.

In 1975, both England and Wales participated in the Rugby League World Series tournament that was conducted in Australia, New Zealand, England, Wales and France in June and November of that year.

The English team played Toowoomba on that 1975 tour and went down to the Clydesdales by 25-16 at the Athletic Oval. I'm reliably advised that the English coach Alex Murphy, the genius Great Britain Test half-back described by Frank Hyde as being the greatest player in the history of both codes of rugby, went absolutely ballistic in the Athletic Oval dressing rooms after the game!

The Partisan
09-10-2005, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the info guys. Will be busy by the looks of things ! I had seen the RL1908 article, a good read.

I am thinking of contacting the Toowoomba Rugby League / Toowoomba Chronicle to find out if any recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Bulimba Cup series is being considered. It was this year Toowoomba claimed its sixth consecutive title - a Cup record I believe. I heard some bloke was organising a gathering of 50's players but the details were scarce and sketchy.

Toowoomba last great domestic moment must have been beating North Sydney 22 - 13 during the 1975 Amco Cup.