Golden Oldies

The story of the knackered bulls

Charters Towers, or rather the Charters Towers Bulls, has the honour of having one of its 

players as the first Australian to play Golden Oldies Rugby.

The player was club founder, Bob Armstrong, a vet in Charters Towers at the time.

The festival was the second festival, held at Long Beach, California, 1981.

Bob was visiting relatives in America and joined up with the Crusaders, the team of Golden 

Oldies founder Tom Johnson.

A number of years were to pass before Charters Towers sent a team to participate in the fun, 

friendship and fraternity that is Golden Oldies.

In 1993 the Knackered Bulls attended the Dublin festival and this century they have been at 

every festival-2001 Toulouse, 2003 Brisbane, 2005 San Diego, 2006 Wellington, 2008 

Edinburgh, 2010 Sydney, 201 Fukuoka, 2014, Mar del Plate, 2016 Cardiff, 2018 Christchurch.

Also attending each festival since Edinburgh has been the life sized, much photographed 

mascot Ferdinand, the bull. 

Ferdinand usually strolls up and down the sideline giving encouragement to his team but has 

been known to venture on the field.

 At some festivals the Knackered Bulls have fielded a full team but at others numbers have been 

small and the KBs have and joined with another team.

In Edinburgh, Fuouka and Mar del Plate the Knackered Bulls joined with the fun loving Cook 

Island Diplomats.

 In Cardiff, it was the ever serious Tokyo Trot.

KB organizer Ernest Bassingthwaighte knew the Japanese looked at Golden Oldies in a 

different light when they emailed wanting to know how often the Knackered Bulls trained and 

how often they played matches. 

A bit of a challenge for the Knackered Bulls who come from all over Queensland! 

The only requirement to be a KB player is that you must be over 35, hence the name 

Knackered Bull.  

Try explaining the team name to someone who doesn’t speak English! 

Of course there is always mime.

Players must also be prepared to wear different coloured shorts which is a health and safety 

requirement (eg over 70s wear purple shorts and cannot be touched).

 Players must be happy to be given a nickname that describes them or their job eg Ernest 

Bassingthwaighte- Mountabull, Joe Vitelli-Patchabull, James Doyle-Quackabull. 

Why not join the KBs when they head off to Denver, USA, in 2020?

 Partners are welcome too.