Montague Massy-Westropp

  • 1Caps
  • 146Wallaby Number
PositionWinger
Date Of Birth31 July 1891
Place Of BirthRobertson, NSW
SchoolThe King's School
Debut ClubGlebe (Sydney)
Other ClubsSydney, Western Suburbs (Sydney)
ProvinceNSW
Died1 July 1974
Debut Test Match1914 Wallabies v New Zealand, 3rd Test Sydney

Biography

‘Monty’ Massy-Westropp’s father was a policeman, and it must have stretched the family’s resources somewhat to send their child to The King’s School. While there he was on the Rugby 1st XV in 1907, 1908 and 1909, received his Honour Cup for Rugby 1908/09, and was on the GPS 1st XV in 1909. He was called ‘Monty’ in rugby circles , but throughout Berrima district of NSW he was remembered as ‘Massy’. A winger, he had speed a-plenty, and playing first for Sydney and then Glebe he led the Sydney try-scoring competition two years, in 1912 (14 tries) and 1914 (15 tries). His first appearance against a touring team was for the Metropolitan Union versus the NZ Maori in 1913 at Sydney University Oval, the Maori winning by 6 to 3.

It was in 1914 that he had his moment at the top. Though ignored for the State team against New Zealand, he played for the Metropolitan Union against them, going down in a thrilling match by 6 to 11. He scored a try in the defeat. Australia had lost the series against NZ by 5 to 0 and 17 to 0, so ‘Monty’ got his opportunity in the third Test, replacing Queensland’s Eric Francis. Australia lost the match by 7 to 22, and he impressed with several fine runs , one of them almost resulting in a try. It was an historic Test to be in , as war had been declared, and minds were elsewhere. The next Test would not be played until 1920. It was important for ‘Monty’ as arguably he would have had more opportunities at the top.

The team that played on 15 August 1914 was Jackie Beith, Ernest Carr, Larry Dwyer, Larry Wogan, Montague Massy-Westropp, Bill Tasker, Fred Wood (capt.), Clarrie Prentice, David Williams, Harald George, Ted Fahey, Doss Wallach, Harald Baker, Fred Thompson and ‘Paddy’ Murphy. Harold George and Fred Thompson were both killed at Gallipoli, where Bill Tasker was seriously injured. Major James Macmanemey, the President of the NSWRU, was killed in the Dardanelles, and the vast majority of players who represented Australian teams on this tour served in some capacity. The following obituary was sent by Peter Raffin and Jenny Pearce , the Archivist at The Kings School. Many references have his name as Massey-Westropp, but it appears as if it were Massy-Westropp.

Obituary:- From Ireland came Massy-Westropp, Snr., the name an old Protestant Irish family one dating back to the dim ages. He was “Monty’s” Father who first went to Canada, and was a Sergeant with the Canadian Mounties for some time, before moving on to Australia. He had a letter with him to the NSW Commissioner of Police. He was appointed to a position in the Nowra district , then given charge of the Robertson area. It was from here his son, nicknamed “Monty”, was sent to The Kings School in 1904. A good natural “all rounder”, scholar, cricket, athletics, he excelled to become one of the School’s most famous footballers.

Too numerous, to mention but a few, the following are some who were there during his school days. These, all now deceased except “Bunny” and “Jock” Baird in NZ, could include “Bede” and N.D.Smith, F.E. “Bunny” Bundock, “Dolly” Buckland (115 matches) 1908-12, E.T.Hewitt, “Trammie” Hodgson, “Joe” Gardiner, “Bill” Durham, “Curly” Bowman, “Willy” Pitt-Brown, “Bubba” Lord, “Jim” See, and “Jock” Baird. After School he was a member of two Clubs, St Leonards, and Glebe District RUFC. A brilliant player he was with the latter Club when they won the District Premiership. He also represented and got his Caps (in addition to the School ones), for NSW, several times , and to top his career, played for Australia against the All Blacks in 1914.

All his old football gear, relics of his football days, including his Australian jersey, and many photos all without blemish, have been gifted by his family to the “Robbo” Museum. During these same years “Monty” was Hon. Secretary of T.K.S. Old Boys’ Union. My office was next door, so we often met and discussed OBU affairs. “Trelly” was at School 1909-11, and after experience with “the Loan” returned to Wellington. “Kobadah” is his home. Subsequently “Monty” took up clerical work with Contracting firms, one laying the second rail line from Moss Vale to Goulburn in the early twenties , and the other later constructing several miles of concrete roadway near Marulan.

He then farmed about 300 acres in Upper Kangaroo Valley. The first “Haven Terrace”, and then “Mundroola” . Sold out and moved to Robertson, and became interested in football again. League had taken over from Rugby Union, so “Monty” became player, coach and captain of the Robertson Club. He also coached in other parts of the District, and again made his name famous, and one still hears it mentioned at the present day. He played, his best football as a three-quarter - very fast, a hard tackler, and hard to tackle. “Monty” and I, great friends from School days, saw each other or kept in touch at regular intervals, right up to almost the time of his death.

He remained fairly active, but some time ago gave up his association with League, and gave his support to Rugby Union in the Kiama district with unexpected excellent results, and a greatly enlarged following. He lived the latter part of his life in Jamberoo. It’s not long since we had what proved to be our last yarn together, and I now regret to say I was not really surprised when I learnt of his death on 2nd July last. He was, I felt then, just fading away to other fields, and 82 years of age.

Montague Massy-Westropp