- 10Wallaby Number
Marks was the first player from Sydney Grammar School and Sydney University to represent Australia in rugby. He was a very disciplined forward who played nine matches for NSW and two Tests against the Reverend Matthew Mullineaux’s visiting British team in 1899. Australia won the first Test 13 to 3 but lost the next three Tests, 11-0, 11-10, and 13-0. Marks was appointed on the teaching staff at Sydney Grammar School in 1901, where he taught Maths and French. He took over the coaching of the First XV and was also the sportsmaster from 1910. During his tenure as rugby coach, the School described it as the “Golden Age.” He guided the school to eight GPS premierships and by 1929 Grammar had eleven premierships, which bettered the famous rugby nursery school, St Joseph’s College, which had only seven.
The success came with having good players and many of them became internationals, the likes of Malcolm Blair, Edwin Carr, Cliff Campbell, Huck Finlay, Charlie Fox, William George, Bill Hemingway, Walter Ives, Bob Loudon, Billy Mann, Frank O’Brien, Walter Phipps, Roland Raymond, Alec Ross, Norman Smith, Alby Stone, Geoff and Keith Storey, Gordon Walker and Johnnie Wallace. The Waratahs 1927-28 tour of Britain and France contained seven former Grammar Students, Wallace (capt.), Fox (vice-capt.), Geoff Storey, Blair, Finlay, Ross and Mann. Marks retired from the school in 1943. He was a believer of the true spirit of sportsmanship and his speech to the boys before the game was the three “S”s, “Don’t squeal, don’t squib, don’t skite!”
During his career Hyam Marks would play in two Tests, both in 1899. He got Blues at Sydney University for the period 1893-99, and 1900, but in the former period the exact years were not specified in the records. A photograph of Marks in Sense of Unionshows the moustached Marks on the 1900 team, hair receding. Hyam Marks first poked his nose into the representative scene with the arrival of the Rev. Mathew Mullineux’s British side, the first to play Tests for Australia. He appeared for NSW in Britain’s second game , at the SCG. NSW narrowly lost, 3 to 4. It was generally held that the locals were superior on the day. Three days later he fronted up for the Metropolis against them, it being another close loss, 5 to 8. Though a mid-week game, it drew 25,000 spectators. Four days later Hyam Marks became part of history as he was in the first Test team ever played by Australia.
The Australian team on that important day was Bob McCowan, Charlie White, Frank Row (capt.), Lonnie Spragg, ‘Poley’ Evans, Peter Ward, Austin Gralton, Alf Colton, Charlie Ellis, Alex Kelly, Walter Davis, Hyam Marks, Patrick Carew, James Carson and Bill Tanner. It was a glorious 13 to 3 win for Australia. As the Sydney Daily Telegraph put it: “It was the celebration of the most conspicuous triumph ever gained by an Australian team upon a football field.” Hyam Marks was also in the second Test at Bowen Park Exhibition Ground, Brisbane. There was a majority of Queenslanders in the team, and as the captain was voted in by the players just before the game, it was understandably a Queenslander, Bob McCowan. There was drama before the game when the British team refused to accept the leading Queensland referee, Alf Faulkner. Queensland’s Bill Beattie did the job. Australia lost the Test 0-11. He played for NSW in a return encounter (5-11), but was not in the Australian team for the last two Tests. It is entirely possible that he was injured. Thus his representative career ended.