Palmyra Rugby Union Club – A brief history
The origins of the club stretch back to the end of the Great Depression years in 1933. There was no money, no jobs and plenty of young chaps hanging around. Palmyra district had its quota of young blokes that used to congregate in the team shelter (an old tram shed) on the corner of Waddell Road. It was about this time that a chap from the Fremantle Rugby Club started to kick around with Blue’s mob. His name was Sandy Simpson, a forward for Fremantle, and a good one too. He brainwashed them about how good rugby was and then persuaded a few of them to give the game a go. A handful made the trek, including Ben Siddons, Arthur Love and William (Joey) Jackson.
After a few training nights they were sold on the code. That was the turning point for many of the youngsters as rugby became the number one topic, even taking precedence over girls!
Ben Siddons takes up the story “Eventually it got around to forming our own club. We had quite a few “brains” among the chaps who found out how to go about forming our own club, but we did not expect the opposition that we got. Fremantle Rugby Club did their damndest to prevent us from becoming a registered club, as they were about the most powerful club at the time, and they threw every obstacle in our way. But we did it and although we had to start from the bottom of the ladder, we eventually went to the top and stayed there for quite a few seasons”
There wasn’t much money around and that hampered players from adequately kitting themselves out. They were hard times but mateship always comes to the fore in the face of adversity and those players who were lucky enough to be working, chipped in to buy gear for the unemployed players. Mates stuck together then, helping one another when needed and it paid off on the rugger field. As each season progressed the team got stronger and by the advent of World War II, Palmyra had no equal.
By 1934 all players made it into boots and club jumpers by the end of the first season. The end of the inaugural year saw this group of extraordinary men and women set in place. This wonderful club we now have to participate in and enjoy within one year had achieved as follows:
1. The registration of the Palmyra Rugby Union Club to the W.A. Rugby union
2. Striking of the club colours
3. Having to plant the lawn on the grounds
4. Obtaining a complete uniform with some of the mothers knitting and sewing
5. Getting together a committee and patrons
6. Being able to learn the fundamentals of the game as most of the team had never played before
7. Setting in place a very strong precedent by winning a premiership in its inaugural year
The dye was set for all of us to follow, and in some areas to improve.
Never to go backwards, always forwards
*Information taken from memories of Ben Siddons, an inaugural member of the Palmyra Rugby Union Club. Reprinted with permission from Mal Siddons book “For the love of the game, Palmyra Rugby Union 1934 – 2006”
Many a new member has asked about why we have palm trees in our logo.
The reason for this goes back to the naming of Palmyra suburb in 1901 when the “Palmyra Estates” were established on land East of Fremantle. Palmyra was a famous Syrian city which was a trading centre on the trading routes of Ancient Europe.
The majority of this district was developed between 1901 and 1919 after the gold rush. The word Palmyra means city of palms. When residents moved into Palmyra the land, like much of Melville was covered in plants called Zamias which look similar to tiny Palms. It is believed a competition was run to find a suitable name for the district and Palmyra was also thought to be a play on the words palm area.
The palms on the logo represent the suburb of Palmyra where we played our first home game in 1934. The emblem and the palms on the emblem were introduced by two brothers, Henry & Evril Cortis and voted and accepted at a committee meeting.
Club colours – Chocolate and Blue
During the depression days (1931) at a camp out of Harvey (Myalup Sustenance Camp), a rugby team was formed. Owing to the fact the camp was only temporary, the team could only play as a reserve grade team in Perth. This prevented any registered team having a bye.
The colours of the camp team were chocolate and blue, and, once the camp was disbanded, so was the team.
When Palmyra Rugby Club was formed, the problem of selecting colours arose at the very first meeting and Norm McAlpine knowing the history of the colours in question, moved that chocolate and blue be the colours of Palmyra Rugby Club. After being put to the vote, they were finally accepted and have been worn with distinction ever since.