Allan Henry Ware
A diminutive centre/winger with pace and swerve, Allan Ware was an outstanding schoolboy sportsman who grew up during World War II and played all of his senior rugby from 1945 to 1949.
Born on 30 December 1925 at Ipswich, Allan attended the Ipswich Grammar School from 1939 to 1942. He was an outstanding all-round sportsman, excelling at cricket, rugby and athletics. He was in the First XI and the First XV. In his final year at I.G.S., Allan was selected in the combined GPS cricket XI. Indeed, his supporters would not have been surprised if Ware had made the representative scene in cricket rather than rugby, because he showed so much promise at cricket.
Speaking of his early years, Ware remarked: “When I completed the Senior Public Examination in November 1942, I was only 16 –years- of- age and too young to be called up for the War, so I went back to Ipswich Grammar to teach in 1943. There was no rugby union in Ipswich at the time – only rugby league, so I did nothing during the rugby season. But, when I was playing cricket at the end of the year, some guys said, ‘Why don’t you come down to train with GPS at the Brisbane Grammar oval.’ I did that and the next year, they picked me in reserve grade but, when I turned up for the game, they told me I was in A Grade because Howard Daniels had run into a goal post at training and had six stitches inserted in his eyebrow.
“In those days with the War on, you didn’t know who you had in your team until you arrived at the ground. It was the protected industries people who were the backbone of the teams with men like Eddie Bonis who kept the game going; and then you had the servicemen who were coming in all the time. Cyril Burke, the Wallaby halfback from Newcastle, was in the Air Force up here and he played for YMCA with Eddie Bonis.”
When the War finally ended, the QRU was quick to arrange an interstate match in August 1945. At the time, there were only four clubs playing rugby and they were struggling to stay alive. The NSWRU sent up a side captained by Mick Cremin. Eddie Bonis was the Queensland captain in his last match for the State.
Only 19 -years -of -age, Ware was chosen in the centres to partner another teenage schoolboy star in Nudgee College’s Kevin ‘Kanga’ Kennedy. At the time, Ware was a nuggety 170cms and 70 kgs but he possessed speed and acceleration that made him a potent attacking force. Between them, Ware and Kennedy cut the New South Wales defence to ribbons and they had a big hand in Queensland’s victory by 19 points to 14. The media hailed the duo as potentially a great centre combination and repeatedly harked back to their total domination of the NSW centres.
By 1946, the servicemen had returned and, at GPS, Ware played with Bill McLean, the ex-commando, who was to captain the Wallabies later in the year, and the well-known ‘Wallaby’ Bob McMaster.
Ware played for GPS from 1944 to 1950 and was the captain in 1949 and 1950. In the opening interstate fixture of the season, the speedy youngsters could not hold the NSW centres Trevor Allan and Paul Johnson who ran riot to set up a 36-11 win. There were howls of outrage in the media when the State selectors spilt the pair in the aftermath and Kevin Bourke, who had played halfback for Brothers before the War, replaced Ware. After Queensland was humiliated by a score of 30-0, Ware was recalled for the Wallaby tour trials in Sydney but was played on the wing and missed the final trial match for the Wallaby side to tour New Zealand.
When the All Blacks toured in 1947, Ware was again stationed on the wing with Bourke and University’s Peter Bridgman in the centres. This was Ware’s first match against an international team. The All Blacks won 23-14. Unable to get leave from his position at Ipswich Grammar, Ware was unavailable for the return match in Toowoomba.
In 1948, Ware returned to the outside centre position for Queensland on their southern tour with matches at Armidale and Sydney. However, when the return interstate matches in Brisbane arrived, Ware was forced to withdraw through injury and his GPS team- mate, Peter Thompson, took his place. A former Australian Rules player, Thompson played a Test against the Lions in 1950.
When the 1949 season arrived, Ware found he had consolidated his position at centre for Queensland and could look forward to playing the New Zealand Maori team that made an 11- match tour of Australia. Once again Ware paired with Bridgman in the centres with Johnny Fogarty on the wing. The Maori had just played an eight-all draw with Australia two days earlier and were a little jaded against a Queensland side that pushed them all the way before going down 13-8 after a storming finish.
In the interstate matches that year, Ware was in sparkling form and his displays in Sydney led to his selection in the Wallaby team to tour New Zealand. Ware made his Wallaby debut on the left wing against King Country and raced away for a try after Nev Cottrell won a tighthead and the Wallabies spread the ball along the backline. For Australia’s third tour match against Poverty Bay-East Coast, Ware found himself on the right wing and scored another try.
For the next two games, Ware played centre as first John Blomley was rested and then Trevor Allan had a spell. Ware reverted to the wing in two further matches to give him a total of six games on tour for a total of two tries. Basking in the after -glow of a successful tour when the Wallabies wrested back the Bledisloe Cup, Ware returned to Australia with hopes of playing against the 1950 British Lions but a knee ligament injury ended his active sporting career and he was left to concentrate on his profession.
During the next few years at the I.G.S., Ware was given more responsibilities until he was Joint Senior Master, Senior Resident Master, Head of Geography, Sports Master, Track and Field Coach, First XV Coach and First XI Coach. He coached Bruce Barnett and Ken Donald, two exceptionally fast sprinters, who were outstanding in GPS athletics. Donald, of course, was also an outstanding footballer who went on to tour with the 1957/8 Wallabies.
In 1965, Ware moved to the Gold Coast to teach at The Southport School and forged another glorious career as an educator at the School. The boys, who were greatly impressed by having a former Wallaby at the School, named him ‘Wallaby Ware’ and this name stayed with him for the rest of his career. Greatly respected in GPS circles, Ware was honoured by TSS when the School named one of its ovals after him.
After a long battle with cancer, Allan Henry Ware died on 8 September 1996.