Robert Wilson Adamson

  • 1Caps
  • 116Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthJuly 8, 1889
Place of BirthSydney
SchoolFort Street High School
Debut ClubUniversity (Sydney)
Other ClubEastern Suburbs (Sydney)
Debut Test Match1912 Wallabies v All American Stars, California
DiedFebruary 26, 1952


A centre known for a hard running style, Bob Adamson was selected to tour America and Canada in 1912. He played an important role after his playing career when he became a member of the NSW Selection Committee after WW1. Adamson’s representative career began with the selection to the City and Suburban (later Sub-districts) team in 1907, when playing for Wentworth Club coached by Harry Bosward. He played with Bill McKell (later Sir William McKell, Governor General of Australia), Herbie Collins (later Australian cricket captain) and future international John “Dinny” Campbell. In 1910, Adamson had a remarkable year playing for Sydney University and was noted by his selection in the centre for NSW against NZ Maori at Sydney Cricket Ground.

This was the second match against NZ Maori (NSW won 11 – 0) and he replaced his friend and old club centre Dinny Campbell, who played in the first game. He gave a splendid display in the first half by piercing through the middle and setting up tries to Herbert Gilbert and Warwick Gregory to lead NSW 24 to nil. The NZ Maori came back to score 13 points before NSW steadied to win 27 to 13. Touring North America with the Australian team in 1912, Adamson played eight games including the sole Test match against the USA at Berkeley, California. He was Australia’s fly half in the Test instead of his customary centre position. However he showed his versatility and scored a try in the process to win 12 to 8. It was to be his only international appearance, along with four other players ,Allan Kent, Lou Meibusch, William Murphy and George Pugh.

By 1919 Australian rugby was at lowest ebb due to the war, the growing popularity of rugby league and the fact that the Queensland Rugby Union was on sabbatical. NSW Rugby Union appointed Adamson, Tom Griffin, one of the original 1907-08 Wallabies and fellow 1912 tourist and Harry Bosward, Adamson’s former coach at the Wentworth Club, as State Selectors to revive the game. With the help of the New Zealand Rugby Union, NSW was able to play international matches at home and away. Successful tours to New Zealand in 1921, 1923 and 1925 led to a tour of Britain in 1927-28 and Australia in 1929 fully returned to international rugby. After 60 years these matches were given international status to all the NSW players during this era. Adamson was credited as an international referee in 1922 when he refereed the Waratahs against New Zealand in Sydney. New Zealand won 26 to 19.

Robert Wilson Adamson CW profile