Vale Charles Stone
- James Taylor
- Southern Courier
- February 10, 2015 12:12PM
AUSTRALIA’S oldest Wallaby, who lived an extraordinary life with rugby and helping others at its core, will be farewelled at a funeral at Little Bay today
Charles ‘Gordon’ Stone passed away last Friday in a Bowral nursing home where he verociously consumed every game played by the Australian team.
Gordon’s son Peter and Daughter Judy were by his side when the time came, as they were last year when 43,000 spectators applauded to mark his 100th birthday at a test match between his beloved team and France.
The Sydney Boys High prefect developed his love of Rugby Union in the schoolyard, making captain of the first XV.
He went on to play for Randwick, winning three premierships between 1934-40.
He made selection for the Wallabies in 1938 and played one match against the New Zealand All Blacks before World War II intensified.
Randwick club historian Bob Outterfide, who spent time with Gordon throughout his life, said he was “quiet, meditative, intelligent, extraordinarily modest and at all times a gentlemen.”
“After I came back from a (World War II) tour to South Africa, I came back and Gordon was our coach,” Mr Outterfide said.
A young Stone (right) positions himself in a game between the Wallabies and All Blacks on June 23 1938. Photo: ARU.
He said the father of two was known for his kindness to players.
“He came to matches to watch often but was a quiet fellow. He would be there watching and you’d never known he’d been.”
But Gordon’s compassion for others wasn’t just isolated to the field.
At 19 Mr Stone began his professional career as a medical department trainee before becoming a Haematologist at Randwick’s now decommissioned Prince Henry Hospital.
With war declared, Gordon was picked up by the 119th Australian General Hospital Unit in Ballarat, where he married his longtime love Iris in secret due to strict conditions on nurses.
Stationed in Darwin until June 1943, he cared for patients caught up in the city’s infamous Japanese bombings.
In 1946 after tours to New Guinea and New Britain he was discharged from the army and moved his young family, including newborn Peter, to their home in Maroubra.
Throughout his life Gordon kept strong links with rugby, watching every game he could make it to.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said he was “someone who has lived some of Rugby’s great attributes of integrity, strong character and teamwork”.
A funeral for Mr Stone will be held at the Chapel of the Prince Henry Hospital today from 11am.
Gordon’s life of rugby
■ 1928-1933: Started secondary school at Sydney Boys High and was appointed as prefect. He excelled as a schoolyard rugby player and was named captain of the first XV.
■1934: Debuted for Randwick in the Sydney Club Rugby competition. This started a long relationship with the club that continued until his death.
■1934-1940: Made 93 first grade appearances for Randwick, won three premierships and spent time as coach after his playing days. He was picked to play for the Wallabies and appeared in one test against the New Zealand All Blacks in 1938.
■2004: Became oldest living Wallaby in January when Wally Hammon OBE passed away. A few months later Gordon presented George Gregan with his 100th Test Cap in Perth during a test game between the Wallabies and South Africa.
■2014: Gordon is congratulated for turning 100 by the crowd at a Sydney test match between the Wallabies and France.