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It is with much sadness that we inform the Northern Suburbs Rugby community of the passing of Mr Warwick Cooney, Foundation Life Member of the Club, and former Australian Test Referee in the 1970’s.
Warwick Cooney Obituary
(1-7-1929 to 8-3-2016)
Warwick Munro Cooney died on 8th March 2016, aged 86, from the effects of Asbestosis, contracted as a result of his apprenticeship with the Department of Navy more than seventy year ago. He was a respected engineer, sportsman, businessman and community volunteer. A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Warwick worked in a variety of positions for a number of firms, rising to be an Associate with Stephenson and Turner before forming his own company of Consulting Engineers in 1972. The economic downturn of the Whitlam years led him to work on projects in the Pacific region in addition to those in regional centres and capital cities of Australia.
He later joined with former colleague Max Anderson to form Anderson-Cooney and Associates, which merged in 1984 with Julius, Poole and Gibson, of which Warwick was a director until his retirement in 1992. During that time, he had been involved in the design of services for many important buildings such as Royal North Shore Hospital, Westmead Hospital, the iconic glass pyramid in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, the original Darling Harbour and the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre at Penrith.
Like many Australians in the post war years, Warwick travelled to England. However, the tug of the heartstrings led him to return to marry his wife of sixty years, Patricia. They were a devoted couple and set up home firstly in Penshurst and then in Roseville, where they raised their four children. He rose to be Worshipful Master of Lodge Rugby. Warwick and Pattie retired to the Sunshine Coast, where Warwick pursued his passion for golf and later bowls. Since retiring, he served as a committee member for the Veterans Golf Club and Buderim Bowls Club and the Residents Committee of Eden Lea Retirement Resort.
Warwick was an Australian Rugby Union referee, officiating at over two hundred first-grade games, refereeing four tests between 1972 and 1976, as well as being a touch judge for tests in the 1960s and the 1970s. Warwick emulated his father, Roy, by controlling four Tests. This feat by a father and son combination is one of the rarest of all family connections in international rugby.
In those days, there was no exchange program for referees but while travelling on business in the USA in the 1960s, Warwick had the opportunity to referee a game in Boston, happily taking on the role of a roving earthly ambassador for the game they play in heaven. While still very much an amateur game when Warwick was running around the paddock, he was committed to his physical fitness and knowledge of the laws of the game. It was a time when the referee was required to make the sole decision for on-field incidents with no touch judge reports or TMO to assist. He remained a passionate supporter of the game and was a life member of the NSWRU, Past President of the NSW Rugby Referees Association and a Foundation Life Member of Northern Suburbs RUFC.
Warwick was one of a special generation of Australian dads. He had grown up playing cricket and rugby for his beloved Northern Suburbs, as well as sailing in skiffs on Sydney Harbour. He taught his children how to play a variety of sports and how to body surf. He could build or mend just about anything. He could perform magic tricks. He knew the best routes to any local or regional destination. He could recommend a variety of wines as well as beers and he was a congenial host around the barbecue. He was a romantic dancer, a talented whistler and a pleasant bathroom baritone. He loved technology and was one of the first to have a colour IBM PC at home, complete with CAD program for Dad and a basic tennis game for the children. He was keen with a video camera and produced edited features of visits with his ever-expanding family, as well as the many international and local holidays that he and Pattie embarked upon, returning with video memories from the continents of Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and various islands in the Pacific.
Warwick is survived by his wife, four children, ten grandchildren and five great children.
The funeral service of the late Warwick Cooney will be held at Gregson & Weight Chapel, 26 Wises Road, Maroochydore, Queensland, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, commencing at 1:00pm.