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On the Friday 16th of June will be our annual Bon Andrews Lunch and we invite you to join us in celebrating the life of a Norths great in his efforts on and off the field.
We provide you with an insight into the long-lasting life and achievements of one of North’s greatest.
Gavin “Bon” Andrews was a solid hard-working prop or hooker who first donned the red and back in 1927. In his 33 years at the playing coalface, he amassed 648 grade games before ending his career at 53 years of age, claiming that he did not retire, “the selectors failed to pick me”. It was a decision which rankled with him.
In 1942, an afternoon paper, The Sun, headlined: “Hooker Makes First Grade After 15 Years” to which Bon’s only comment was, “it took me a war to get me there”. Andrews played in all of Norths’ nine minor grade Premierships won between 1931 and 1940.
One of his proudest moments came in his nineteenth year of continuous Rugby, when he was captain-coach of Norths’ Third Grade in 1947 and led it to a Premiership victory. He coached many junior sides and he was the original coach and founder of the Lane Cove Rugby Club.
Widely known as “Old Man” – like Peter Pan he was ageless – be he invariably greeted one and all as “Old Man”. He was born and bred in North Sydney and he used to say, he was living proof of that, but the “when” was the mystery. He disclaimed any knowledge of the event. “The records” he said airily, “were lost in the Great Fire of London”. Whenever asked the actual number of matches he had played his usual reply was “Only God knows. He’s probably forgotten by now!” A small larger-than-life character, Bon had acquired friends around the world from his overseas tours with Norths’ teams.
Interestingly, Bon never seemed to find time for cricket, but he did accept a position as Don Bradman’s ‘minder’ when the latter played for North Sydney after transferring from St. George in 1933, protecting him from adoring fans at North Sydney Oval.
Bon used to tell… “you have to remember in those days Don Bradman was God. My job was to keep people away from him so he could sit in the grandstand and enjoy the game like everyone else. People would pester him for autographs or just want to touch him or look at him. It got so he had to sit in the dressing rooms by himself when he wasn’t on the field. Then when he went into bat I had to clear a path through the crowd so he could get to the gate. The Don was a perfect gentlemen. I got two pound ($4.00) an afternoon for that job. It was the best one I ever had!”
When Bon “retired” in 1958, it was a retirement in name only. “I was only 51″ he said sadly at the time, “and they thought I might get hurt. Hurt? I was just getting started”.
In 1995 Council changed the name of North Sydney Oval No. 2 to Bon Andrews Oval to commemorate his contribution to sport in North Sydney and devotion to Norths Rugby. This move recognised the services to the Northern Suburbs Rugby Football Club of Gavin Bon Andrews, a long-time resident of North Sydney who provided encouragement, advised young players and worked as the Club’s gear steward for many years. Bon Andrews has been an Honorary Life Member of the Shoremen since 1946.
For MORE information on Gavin “Bon” Andrews, find the book titled “The Shoremen – The First 100 Years of The Red and Black” by Robert M Faulks.
We would love for you to celebrate with us on Friday the 16th of June at the Bon Andrews Lunch. Details below.
Show your support for Norths Rugby & book your seat today on the link below!