Edward Joseph Fahey

  • 4Caps
  • 117Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthAugust 26, 1888
Place of BirthAppin, NSW
SchoolSt. Joseph's College, Hunters Hill
Debut ClubEastern Suburbs (Sydney)
Other ClubRandwick
Debut Test Match1912 Wallabies v American All Stars, California
Final Test Match1914 Wallabies v New Zealand, 3rd Test Sydney
DiedAugust 23, 1950
Service Number19075


A lock forward from Eastern Suburbs who was to captain Australia and NSW in his career, he was an imposing figure at 6 foot and 14 stone. By modern standards 6 foot is not tall, but in those days it was. A product of Sydney’s St Joseph’s College, he came under the influence of Blair Swannell there. Swannell was a former international, coming to Australia with the Great Britain side in 1899 and 1904, and remaining there after the latter tour. A hard-nosed, controversial man, Herbert Moran wrote of him in Viewless Winds: “Blair Swannell was, for a number of years, a bad influence in Sydney football... His conception of Rugby was one of trained violence.... he had no enlightened ideas about sport and used to teach schoolboys all sorts of tricks and tactics which were highly objectionable.” Swannell would play for Australia, thus becoming a dual international, and would lose his life at Gallipoli, one rumour having it that he was shot by his own men.

Maybe Fahey learned a trick or two from Swannell, and if so it seemed to pay off, as he was to captain St. Joseph’s to the GPS premiership, and then led the Combined GPS team in 1907. Fahey went to the Eastern Suburbs Club in 1908, and he would play 73 matches for them in first grade. In those days one could only play for clubs defined in specific boundaries in the 1914 season, and at this time the rugby authorities re-defined its boundaries. Because of this, Ted Fahey, Bill Cody, Ron Bolden and Harold Baker came to Randwick from Eastern Suburbs, and Jimmy Clarken from Glebe. Fahey would captain Randwick in 1914 and play 11 games for them.

Fahey was in active service during the war, but when rugby competitions resumed, they had been cancelled for the duration, Ted Fahey returned to Easts and captained them in 1919, which was a most difficult season for rugby union, as rugby league competitions had continued throughout the war and taken over public interest. As Fahey began club rugby in 1908, one year out of school, he had little chance of making the 1908-09 Wallaby tour of the British Isles and North America. It was in 1910 that he had his opportunity at the higher levels, being selected on the NSW team against New Zealand (2) and New Zealand Maori (2). Unfortunately there were no tours to or from Australia in 1911, otherwise young Fahey would have been a prime candidate as he was firmly ensconced in the State side. He played two games for the State against Queensland, NSW winning handily by 34-14 and 35-14.

In 1912 a team was selected to tour the USA and Canada, and three from Easts made the team: ASB (‘Wakka’) Walker, a 19-year-old, Harold George and Ted Fahey. They went by ship to the USA on the Moana from September 7 to October 3. Ted was one of those to ‘feed the fishes’ as he departed the Heads, and he and Walker were two of the four ‘sickies’ who could not leave their cabin for a full four days. They played two matches two and three days after their arrival, winning against the Barbarians 29-8 (Fahey scoring a try) and then Santa Clara College 20-8 (Fahey kicking one of six conversion attempts). It was not a successful tour, Australia winning only 11 of 16 games. Fortunately they won the only Test against the USA 12 to 8, and this was to be his first Test.

Australia was behind most of the game, scoring 12 points in the last 18 minutes to win the Test. Some 24 players, under captain Ward Prentice and managed by Dr. Otto Bohrsmann and assisted by W.W. (Billy) Hill, were on the trip, and Ted Fahey would play 15 of the 16 games. The three matches in Canada, against Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada, were lost. One major problem was that the team was housed in fraternity houses, and no external discipline could be imposed on them. Bob Adamson, a Sydney University player, was asked to give his verdict after the tour had ended. “We were never in bed. That was the trouble. I never had such a time in my life." Fahey was one whose reputation remained intact, and he captained Eastern Suburbs to a premiership win in 1913, and played for NSW against Queensland and twice against the visiting Maori.

No Tests were played against the Maori team. That same year, 1913, Australia toured NZ under fullback and captain Larry Dwyer, with Ted Fahey as vice-captain. Fahey would play in six of the nine games. Dwyer was injured against Wanganui in the third match, so the burden of captaincy of Australia fell to Fahey, who captained Australia in the first two Tests, as well as in the ‘minor’ games against Southland. Against South Canterbury Fahey himself was injured, and missed the final two games, including one Test.

In 1914 New Zealand came to Australia, and this was the ‘Declaration of War’ tour, the war breaking out midway through its tour. Fahey played for NSW (2) and Metropolitan (1) against them, and made the final Test. After his active service, Fahey returned to Eastern Suburbs in 1919. He captained NSW against the AIF team that year, as well as Australia twice. These matches have not been counted as Tests, though it is highly debatable. If so, he would have played six Tests, and been captain not twice but four times. Ted Fahey is a name not remembered to any extent these days, but he was a stalwart for his club Eastern Suburbs, he played 25 matches for his country, of which four were Tests. He made two tours with Australia, to the USA and Canada in 1912 and NZ in 1913. A loyal team man, he gave of his best in every match he played.

A lock and prop forward who joined Randwick from Eastern Suburbs at the commencement of the1914 season and captained the first grade side in his eleven matches that year. He represented NSW four times in 1914 and played in one Test match that year, against New Zealand. In his whole career he played four Tests and represented NSW 31 times. He toured North America in 1912 and captained the Australian team that toured New Zealand in 1913. He was also a member of the AIF team in 1919 and returned to Eastern Suburbs that year to help in the rugby rebuilding process after World War I. He learned his rugby at St Joseph's College.

Edward Joseph Fahey