Charles Ackroyd "Bull" Hammand
- 95Wallaby Number
Charles (`Bull’) Hammand was a Sydney Grammar School product who went on to do Medicine at Sydney University. He was the youngest, at 20 -years -of -age, in the pack and was second youngest on the squad, that honour going to the 18-year-old Dan Carroll. He was, at the time of the 1908-09 tour, 5 ft 11 inch and 13 stone 2 lb. He played for Sydney University as a prop and a hooker, but seemed to have been utilised in more of a utility role in the 1908-09 touring party. His hair was curly, and parted down the middle, which was fashionable in those far-off days.
His popularity increased when it was found out that he was an accomplished pianist. In those days there were often dinner-dances after games and it was not unusual for members of the touring party to be asked to sing, play, or give the `war cry’. In a programme that has come down to us, there was a concert on the RHS Omrah. The chairman of the evening was Dr Moran, the Australian captain. Those presenting songs were Ernest Booth, an international who was a reporter during the tour, Ward Prentice, Tom Griffin, Stan Wickham (assistant manager) and Ward Prentice again, while Hammand gave a pianoforte selection and was listed as an accompanist, with Miss Dods.
On the surface, it appears that Hammand may have been fortunate in making the team, as quite a number were unable to for professional and educational reasons. The Anglo-Welsh team visited Australia and New Zealand in 1908. They played their first match in Australia against NSW on 5 March 1908, then returned to play a match on 8 August 1908, again against NSW, and Hammand was the hooker in the match. This was his first match, eventually he would play six. Following this match, the players and 4000 spectators came down to the wharf at Circular Quay to farewell the 1908-09 Australian team.
It was Australia’s first visit to England, and the longest tour undertaken by them. They were to play 38 matches. The team arrived home in March, and hence the team was away for twelve months, and were paid the munificent sum of three shillings a day. `Wine money’, it was called, but only Wales and England went up against them in the internationals, as the Scots in particular felt it was an act of professionalism to give the players anything as a daily allowance. `Bull’ Hammand played against Western Australia on the way over (58 – 6), and played in the very first game in England against Devon (24 – 3). In fact he was in the first five games, against Devon, then Gloucestershire (16 – 0), Cornwall (18 – 5), Glamorgan (16 – 3) and Penygraig (11 – 3). He was rested against Neath and Aberavon (15 – 0) and Llanelly (3 – 8), the latter the first tour loss. He then played London (24 – 3), but was not picked for the Cornwall match (32 – 3), which gained for the players a gold medal in the 1908 Olympics.
It would be fair to say that the significance of the Olympic contest was not really known in the time period. He missed the Combined Army and Navy game (8 – 6), but was back against Durham (29 – 7), Northumberland and Cumberland (18 – 6), Cheshire (37 – 3), London (24 – 3), Cambridge University (11 – 9) and Oxford University (19 – 3). He was proving to be a real workhorse, but mussed the game against Yorkshire (24 – 0) and Lancashire (12 – 6). Next up for Hammand was Somerset (8 – 0). He missed the Combined Midland and East Midland Counties match (16 – 5) but was back on the field for the Anglo -Welsh match (24 – 0).
The next match was the international against Wales at Cardiff, on 12 December 1908. The Australian team on that day was Phil Carmichael, Dan Carroll, Eric Mandible, Darb Hickey, Charlie Russell, Ward Prentice, Chris McKivat, Bob Craig, Paddy Moran (capt.), Tom Richards, Paddy McCue, Son Burge, Jack Barnett, Tom Griffin and Charles Hammand. It was a close and exciting match, Wales eventually running out winners by 9 to 6. Hammand did not play against the Glamorgan League that followed, but was at it once more against Newport (5 – 3), Abertillery (3 – 3), Swansea (6 – 0) and Cardiff (8 – 24). It was a heavy schedule, as much hinged on the struggle against England that followed.
Moran was not selected by the Selection Panel, and Australia triumphed in a tight match by 9 to 3. The Times reported: “The Australians were naturally delighted at their victory and deserve to be warmly congratulated, especially as on this occasion they played the game in the spirit and in the manner to which Englishman are accustomed.” Hammand was on the team, so he had been selected in the only two Tests that tour. Hammand had two more matches in the British Isles, against Bristol and Clifton (11 – 3) and Plymouth (15 – 6), before embarking on the North American section of the tour, during which he played in five games, and against NSW on his return.
At the end of the 1909 season, 14 of the Wallaby team defected to rugby league. He was not one of those defections, but dropped out of top-class rugby, concentrating on his medical studies instead. A robust player, he had a fine tour, playing in two Tests and 27 non-Test games.