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Vale Rugby historian John Mulford

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The Australian Rugby community is in mourning over the passing of Australian Rugby Union historian, archivist and writer, John Mulford. 

While he played Rugby in the late 40s and early 50s, it was off the pitch where Mulford’s impact on Rugby was most keenly felt, from books to governance and preservation of the game’s history.

In 2000, John was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to the game of rugby union and the youth of Australia.

That same year, the ARU recognised John’s outstanding contribution to Australian rugby with the Joe French Award.

“John was a wonderful soul and always represented the values of sport," said Classic Wallabies Manager Stephen Hoiles.

“Although he never had the honour of wearing the gold jumper, his legacy with the Classics and Rugby will be the history and all of the players being remembered and respected the right way, through his tireless efforts in establishing the Rugby Archive here at the ARU.

“We have lost one of the true gentlemen of our sport.”

Mulford attended Fort Street Boys’ High School before studying economics at the University of Sydney, captaining the undefeated Drummoyne District Rugby Football Club’s State Junior Premiership teams of 1947-8 and the Combined State U21 team.

He played First Grade from 1949-52 and then became a First Grade referee, going on to become President of the Club from 1982-1987, and Club patron in 2001.

In 1989-90 he was elected president of the Sydney Rugby Union, and then Chairman and Senior Vice-President of the New South Wales Rugby Union in 1990, eventually named an Honorary Life Member.

In 1994 he established the Rugby Archives and was the honorary archivist for the New South Wales and Australian Rugby Unions.

In 2005, John’s “Guardians of the Game -  The Definitive History of the New South Wales Rugby Union 1874-2004 was published by HarperCollins.

The same year John authored the 2nd edition of ‘Men in Scarlet: History of the Balmain, Glebe and Drummoyne Rugby Clubs 1874-2004’.