1912 Australia rugby union tour of Canada and the U.S.

The 1912 Australia rugby union tour of Canada and the United States was a collection of friendly rugby union games undertaken by the Australia national rugby union team against various invitational teams from Canada and the U.S, and also against the US national team.

1912 Australia rugby union tour of Canada and the U.S.
Coach(es)Otto Bohrsmann
Tour captain(s)Ward Prentice
16 11 00 05
Test match
01 01 00 00
 United States
1 1 0 0

The squad's leadershipEdit

Dr. Otto Martin Bohrsmann (1869–1944) was tour manager. He was a Sydney physician who served as New South Wales Rugby Union treasurer for a number of years.[1] Howell attributes the team's poor performance to a lack of discipline stemming from weakly imposed tour management.[2] Bohrsmann's name would later be given to the landmark Mona Road, Darling Point, Sydney property Otto, which he bought in 1925 and which was retained by his descendants until 2010. His sister Altona would give her name to another Sydney landmark, a Point Piper home which in 2007 set the mark as Australia's most expensive home when it sold for A$50million.[3]

Billy Hill was the secretary of the New South Wales Rugby Union, he toured with the squad as Assistant Manager and refereed some of the matches. At this time team coaches were frowned upon, with the team captain expected to fulfill these duties.[citation needed]

Ward Prentice had toured with the 1908 Wallabies and had played both Tests of that tour. He had made three further Test appearances for Australia in 1910. He was a rugged on-field leader and the 1912 tour marked his swan-song in international rugby, appearing in fifteen of the sixteen matches. After World War I he had a brief first-grade rugby league career Sydney in 1920.[citation needed]

Tom Richards had also toured with the 1908 Wallabies and had played 1st grade rugby all over the world, making district representative sides in Queensland, New South Wales, South Africa and England. He was a leader in the forwards and a natural selection as tour vice-captain. He would later see active service with the AIF, landing on day one of the Gallipoli Campaign on 25 April 1915 and he would be awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry on the Western Front.[citation needed]

Tour itineraryEdit

The squad travelled by ship from Sydney to the US on the SS Moana with a number of the touring party confined to their cabins with sea-sickness for the first four days.[4] Howell attributes the team's poor performance record to a focus placed on socialising. The squad was billeted out in college fraternity houses in California where the hospitality played havoc with team discipline. Howell quotes squad member Bob Adamson who spoke of the tour: "We were never in bed. That was the trouble. I've never had such a time in my life" [4]

Tour statisticsEdit

The tour took in 16 games with only 11 won by the Wallabies, including the sole Test of the tour played against the US All three matches played in Canada were lost by the Wallabies as well as one of the two matches against Stanford University and one of the three matches played against UC Berkeley.[5] The team played in the light-blue jersey of New South Wales with a Waratah emblem and the word Australia on the chest.[citation needed]

Touring partyEdit

The second match of the 1912 New South Wales v Queensland interstate series acted as a selection trial for the tour and the Blues won the match 12–3 in Sydney. The selectors chose only six Queenslanders in the squad including Tom Richards, Jimmy Flynn, Lou Meibusch, Copper Kent, Peter Cunningham and Bob Willocks. Willocks withdrew from the touring squad before departure and his place was taken by fellow Queenslander William Murphy. Flynn and Meisbusch were still aged 18 years at the start of the tour.[6][7][8][9][10]


Full backsEdit


Half backsEdit


Match summaryEdit

Complete list of matches played by the Wallabies in the Canada and the United States:[11]

  Test matches

Australia v. United States (dark jersey) test, played on 16 November
# Date Rival City Venue Score
1 5 Oct Barbarians San Francisco St. Ignatius Field 29–8
2 6 Oct Santa Clara Broncos Santa Clara Golden Gate Stadium 20–8
3 12 Oct Stanford Cardinal Palo Alto Stanford Park 6–0
4 16 Oct Stanford Cardinal Palo Alto Stanford Park 12–13
5 19 Oct Olympic Club San Francisco St. Ignatius Field 20–0
6 26 Oct California Golden Bears Berkeley California Field 18–0
7 27 Oct Saint Mary's Gaels San Francisco St. Ignatius Field 27–0
8 30 Oct California Golden Bears Berkeley California Field 5–6
9 2 Nov California Golden Bears Berkeley California Field 23–3
10 5 Nov Nevada Wolf Pack Reno University Ground 57–6
11 10 Nov Santa Clara Broncos Santa Clara Golden Gate Stadium 19–8
12 13 Nov USC Trojans Los Angeles Boyard Field 41–0
13 16 Nov   United States Berkeley California Field 12–8
14 20 Nov Vancouver Vancouver Stanley Park 3–6
15 23 Nov British Columbia RU Vancouver Stanley Park 0–15
16 27 Nov Victoria Victoria Oak Bay Ground 11–13
Pl W D L Ps Pc
16 11 0 5 303 94

Match detailsEdit

United StatesEdit

United States   8–12   Australia
Try: Harrigan
Con: Erb
Pen: Erb
Report Try: Carroll, Meibusch,
Pen: Prentince
California Field, Berkeley
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: L.S. Reading (England)


  • Howell, Max (2005) Born to Lead – Wallaby Test Captains, Celebrity Books, Auckland NZ
  • The Newcastle Hearld, Tuesday 2 March 1982, page 16 (re H.A. Jones)