Rugbys start in NZ, in Nelson

You could call this Part III, but I have finally managed to get a photo of the new signboard, as in….

To their credit, the citizen’s of Nelson, particularly Alan Turley, have erected an excellent signboard at the venue of the first game, Botanical Reserve, and a memorial at Nelson College….”

And perhaps its a good place for a rugby primer with these excerpts from a talk stored at the Palmerston North library….

“…a background of early sports should be given. In Britain organised sports was not part of the education in schools until about the 1840s. Many schools did not have grassed playing fields, boys kicking a ball about on the cobblestone courtyards. These schools played a style of football which today we know as soccer.

At Rugby School the large playing field allowed a more aggressive form of football with frequent contact with the ground.

Early immigrants to NZ brought with them the style of football they had learnt in Britain. Other early settlers came via Australia where they had learnt a different variation of football now known as Aussie Rules.

So in early NZ there were many forms of football being played the rules varying between each region, some playing the games of the old English public schools, others adopting the Australian version.

Many wealthier early settlers sent their sons back to England for education. Prominent politician Sir David Monro sent his son Charles to London and when Charles returned home to Nelson in 1870, the 19 year-old Monro suggested to the Nelson club to try the rugby rules.

After establishing rugby in Nelson, Monro organised a game in Wellington later in the year and the game spread rapidly over the following years.

The game’s founder, Charles Monro, came to Palmerston in 1888 and from 1890 until his death in 1933 lived at the home he built, Craiglockhart, which still stands out at Massey.

While rugby was born in Nelson, the three leading figures, the secretary, captain and coach later moved to Manawatu. Although Monro spent his youth in Nelson, Palmerston Nth was to become his home-town for much of his adult life and he became involved in several local organisations including golf, polo, croquet and opera.”

Photos [large size versions Photo 1 ~ Photo 2 ~ Photo 3 here]

And here is a close up of the actual signboard featuring in Photo 1 above, at the Nelson Botannic Reserve