Mosman Rugby Club History

Mosman Rugby Club was established in 1893 and is one of the oldest rugby union clubs in Australia, with a long proud history forged on mateship and camaraderie. Also known as the Mosman Whales, after the whaling station at what is now Mosman Bay, we are located on the lower north shore of Sydney Harbour, only 15 minutes from the Sydney CBD and from the popular seaside suburb of Manly. We play our home games at Rawson Park, and train at Balmoral Oval every Tuesday and Thursday night. Balmoral Beach being one of the most picturesque beaches within Sydney Harbour.

In 1894 the Club was inaugurated and Mr J Cannon elected the first President. The Club entered into the competition the same year, playing in what was known as the Third Junior ‘B’ Division involving ten teams. That year Mosman officially finished the season in seventh position with four wins and five losses. Mosman played this first official match in navy blue jumpers with a four inch pink band against the now defunct Marylebone Club from Redfern, though the result has been lost down the years.

In the late 19th Century, Mosman Rugby would have had a strong side as second-rower Denis ‘Dinny’ Lutge went on to become a duel international. In 1900, ‘Dinny’ joined North Sydney District Rugby before then representing Australia against New Zealand in 1903 and Great Britain in 1904. In 1907 he turned to league and captained the first Kangaroos tour to the UK in 1908.

Two of the most prestigious and sought after 1st Division Suburban cups, the Kentwell Cup (1st Grade) and Burke Cup (2nd Grade) come from humble beginnings at Mosman Rugby. Here is an exert from the NSW Suburban Rugby Union website … “Since inception in 1923, the Kentwell Cup has been the pinnacle of Suburban Rugby. One of Suburban’s two sterling silver Cups, the Kentwell Cup has great history and value. At the beginning of the 1923 season, W.H. Kentwell, president of the Mosman Rugby Club, presented the Kentwell Cup for perpetual competition in the second grade division, or what was in fact the first grade of the non-district clubs at the time. Eight teams competed and, coincidentally, it was won by Mosman, with Hunters Hill the runners-up. The George Burke Memorial Cup was first presented by Mosman Vice-President Jas. A. Burke in 1924. It was won by Mosman in its inaugural year”. And most recently in 2009!

The Whales’ most successful period to date occurred in the 1970’s when the Club captured 4 Club Championships and 24 premierships, including four 1st grade premierships. Mosman won promotion to 1st division (modern day District Premiership) in 1977, however declined the invitation after an overwhelming vote of the players decided that it was in the Club’s long term interest to remain in 2nd Division, a decision that has no doubt been proven correct given the fate of other clubs that ventured into the cut-throat world of premiership rugby.

In 1989 the Club embarked on its most ambitious project, the refurbishment of its home ground facilities at Rawson Park. This required a huge effort on the part of the Committee of the day – dealing with Local Council and State and Federal Governments of different political persuasions proved interesting. Four years and $500,000 later, and with the help of Mosman Council and Telecom, the doors to the Clubhouse were opened on 26 September 1992.

To this day, Mosman Rugby continue to use the club house to celebrate long into the night after and host some our events throughout the season. Countless life-long friendships have been formed sharing a beer in the ‘Whalehouse’.

During seasons 2007-11, the Whales experienced success, both on and off the field. We took home a whopping 8 Premierships, and were Runners-Up in a further 8 Grand Finals. We were also named NSWSRU Club of the Year in 2007, and Division 1 Club of the Year on two further occasions.

From 2015 until 2020, most had its most successful period since returning to Division 1. The club had 7 grades and 3 colts teams and appeared in 22 grand finals, winning 12 premierships. This included the Kentwell Cup (1st Grade), which had not been one by Mosman since 1956. The club also won 2 club championships in Division 1 and 3 Cowboy cups.

We field up to 7 seniors teams (over 21) and two Colts teams (u21) in Division 1 of the NSW Suburban Rugby Union competition (see The sheer size of our Club means we are able to cater for all levels of ability, ranging from up-and-coming super stars to guys who just like to turn up on Saturday and have a bit of a laugh with their mates. We draw players from all walks of life, from tradies to bankers, to uni students and the self-employed. And with players of backgrounds from the UK & Ireland, Japan, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Fiji, France, Denmark and the Cook Islands (to name a few), the Whales are indeed an international family.

As a Club, we party hard when we win, and stick together when we lose. If you like getting dirty on the footy field, making new mates, meeting beautiful ladies and drinking cold beers, then come and have a run with the Mosman Whales – the Two Blues will welcome you!