Lionel John "Leo" Reynolds

  • 2Caps
  • 114Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthMay 3, 1888
Place of BirthEssendon, Melbourne
SchoolThe King's School
Debut ClubUniversity (Sydney)
Other ClubNorth Sydney
Debut Test Match1910 Wallabies v New Zealand, 2nd Test Sydney
Final Test Match1910 Wallabies v New Zealand, 3rd Test Sydney
DiedOctober 12, 1957


‘Leo’ Reynolds, the son of a grazier from Cumnock, was a graduate of The King’s School who went on to Sydney University to study Engineering. At King’s he was in the 1905 Shooting team and that year was on the Athletics squad. Illness prevented him making the first XV. However at Sydney University he came into his own in rugby, accumulating an incredible six “Blues’, in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911 and 1913. He also played for NSW 11 times from 1908 to 1914. He would captain the University team. It was his third year at the University, 1908, when he got an opportunity against a touring team, as a lock against the Anglo-Welsh, playing for NSW.

It was a spirited game in which the ‘Blues’ came out victors. In 1910 he came into his own. At this time the union game was under siege from the strengthening league code, 14 of the 1908-09 Wallabies switching to the professional code. The New Zealand visit of 1910 rekindled interest, and provided opportunities for individuals like Reynolds to play at a higher level. Reynolds was in the first match against them, as a backrower, and the New Zealand team won handily by 21 to 8. He held his position in the return match, the Blues going down once more by 11 to 17. Howell, et al, in ‘They Came to Conquer’, noted that ‘Row, Tom Griffin and Leo Reynolds stood out in a hard-working pack.” Reynolds did not make the first Test team, but came on in the second Test as a replacement. The Australian squad for Reynold’s first Test was Larry Dwyer, Bert Gilbert, Dinny Campbell, Ward Prentice, Alf Dunbar, Charlie Hodgens, Fred Wood, Norm Row, Syd Middleton (capt.), Bob Stuart, Fred Timbury (replaced by Leo Reynolds), Paddy Murphy, Harold George, Tom Griffin and Jimmy Clarken.

Australia won by 11 to 0 to square the series, NZ having won the first Test by 6 to 0. The result was a significant milestone in Australian rugby. It represented the first Test win over New Zealand in seven meetings (one match had been drawn) and the first time Australia had held an opponent scoreless. At a time of turmoil for the game, Australia’s second Test win was a real fillip. Leo Reynolds was in the starting team for the third and final Test, which Australia lost by 13 to 28. This would be the extent of Reynold’s Test career. However, in the same year, 1910, he captained Sydney University in their 17 to 6 win over the visiting American Universities’ squad. He also captained the University in their second encounter, also won 10 to 9, and he scored a try. Against the Maori that year, he was in the NSW team that beat them 11 to 0.This marked the end of his representative career. As well as his two Tests, he played 60 matches for Sydney University and 27 for North Sydney. His grandson was Ross Reynolds, Wallaby 1982 to 1987.

‘We sincerely regret that we received no report of the death of this distinguished Old Boy prior to the December issue of the Magazine. He died on October 12th, 1957, at the age of 69. Lionel Evans, with his younger brother Roy, entered the School in February, 1904. They were the sons of Mr. S.P. Reynolds of Burrawong, Cumnock, and had previously been at school at Wallaroi, Orange. Their youngest brother, Aubrey, followed them here two years later. All of them had sons here in more recent years. Of strong physique and imbued with qualities of leadership, these three brothers soon made their presence felt in the School. All acceded to monitorships, Roy captained the XV in his last year and Aubrey was captain of the School in his final year.

Lionel, although a dashing young footballer in the lower grades, was precluded by an unfortunate illness in his last season from gaining a place in the first XV. However, his brilliant football career began when he left school and proceeded to the University of Sydney to enter the Faculty of Engineering. Completely restored to health, he soon gained a place in the University XV, and throughout his course was a tower of strength to the team, eventually becoming captain. Whilst still at the University, he was selected to represent NSW against a visiting English team. He successfully captained the S.U. team against a Combined NZ University team and against a visiting USA team.

Upon his graduation in Engineering and his departure from the University, he played for North Sydney and was selected to represent NSW against NZ and to represent Australia against NZ. In the same year he represented the State against the NZ Maori. From 1910 to 1914 inclusive he represented NSW against Queensland. Since graduation he has carried on the practice of a consulting engineer- electrical, mechanical and hydraulic. Of late years he has had in partnership his son John, who left the School in 1933 and did his engineering training at the Sydney Technical College. Lionel was a very active member of the Institute of Engineers of Australia.

He was a foundation associate of this Institution and held, from time to time, many important offices in it. From 1923 to 1925 he was honorary secretary of the Sydney Division. For the next three years he was on the committee of this Division. He was a vice-chairman in 1929 and 1930, chairman in 1932 and past-chairman in 1932. He was back on the committee of the Sydney Division from 1933 to 1937, a member of the Council in 1934, and Chairman of the Consulting Engineers’ Panel from 1937 up to 1947. He was chairman of the Aeronautical Engineers’ Branch in 1930 and again in 1937. For about ten years Lionel’s services were retained by the Council of the School as consulting engineer.

His last big job at the School was in connection with the erection of the School Houses-Baker and Forrest. There were many problems involved concerned with the levelling and drainage of the site, and those of us who were then at the School met with him frequently and we learned to appreciate his very kindly and courteous nature. This quality is characteristic of the Reynolds brothers of Cumnock and the fine sons that followed them to the School. His was a useful and active career right up to the time of his death, and the community in general and the ranks of distinguished Old Boys in particular the poorer for his passing. Obituary, May 1958.

Lionel John "Leo" Reynolds