1969: Vung Tau

Much has been written about the South Sydney ‘Rabbitohs’ in the lead up to tonight’s National Rugby League Grand Final – and now doubt much more will be written now they have won their first flag in forty three years. But here’s a little curiosity I dug up from 1969, the year South Sydney finished top of the NSWRL ladder, only to lose to Balmain in the Grand Final.

You might recall – or just plain know – that in 1969 the Australian military had a presence in a place called Vietnam. And when news of the Rabbitoh’s defeat filtered through to the 1st Australian Logistic Support Group in Vung Tau, a few bets were called in, and a parade, of sorts, drew a crowd:

Warrant Officer John Cunneen of Kingsford, NSW, led the parade by pushing a wheelbarrow containing a stuffed rabbit. Both he and the rabbit were wearing South Sydney guernsies.

Cunneen was followed by a Victorian on a Vietnamese bicycle, a Canberran dressed in an aodai, and a Queenslander putting a golf ball (!). Parading over two miles of muddy track, the Australians drew a quite a crowd of interested onlookers, before stopping at the US Air Force Communications Base. Once there:

the stuffed rabbit was ceremoniously buried to the strains of the South Sydney victory song…played at half speed.

Well I reckon Russell Crowe will make sure the South Sydney song is played at correct speed, long and loud tonight. And as the Australian military prepare to go into battle, (oops I mean ‘advise and assist’ the Iraqi army) it’s a nice reminder that sport can offer moments of light relief in difficult circumstances.

*      *      *

Many thanks for those of you who have wondered where I have been the last couple of weeks, as my weekly posts have stretched out to almost fortnightly. Well fear not – it is just that we are doing what we can to keep the Australian economy afloat by renovating our house. So if The Sport History Project goes ‘Off Air’ for a little while, it will just mean that we’ve gone to choose carpet or pull down a wall. I promise to keep the sporting curios coming when I can, so please stay subscribed and keep posted. And in between times – may the sport be with you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Sport History Project

meanderings through our sporting pasts

YOUNG CHRISTIAN WORKERS

The YCW Organises, Educates, and Empowers young people to be a positive change within their own lives and their wider community. www.ycw.org.au.

Australian Football World

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Critical Heritage

the critical heritage group at University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Through the Green Fuse...

Explorations in one John Waddingham's family story

Timor Archives

Clearing House for Archival Records on Timor Inc. (CHART )

Jack Chadwick

illustration | cartoons | storyboards

101 London Museums

A celebration of London's diverse Museums

%d bloggers like this: