Bulls History


It all started when…

Rugby Union was established in Charters Towers in 1890, earlier than most of Australia, but games were played here as early as 1885.

An Englishman, Harry Speakman, introduced the game to the many miners in the town. Interest steadily grew and various teams were formed. The first Charters Towers representative team was selected in the year of its establishment, 1890. Rugby Union continued to grow in our city until it became known as one of the premier rugby areas in the state.

Many players gained representative honours between 1890 and 1915. In this time, Charters Towers produced nine Queensland representative players and two Australian representatives, the brothers EW 'Long Bill' Richards and TJ 'Rusty' Richards. Rusty was inducted into the North Queensland Sporting Hall of Fame on July 16, 1996.

Various teams contested an inter-city competition at this time. Information on these matches only dates back to 1902.

Three clubs, Queens, Natives and Federals participated, with Queens the eventual inaugural premiers.

Unfortunately, Rugby Union faded from the scene until a meeting on 20 October 1980 involving Warren Inch, Bob Armstrong, Jim Geaney and Peter Hulthen resulted in the reformation of the game in Charters Towers. The new committee consisted of Patron Dr Jock Allingham, President Bob Armstrong, Vice President Jim Geaney, Secretary Peter Hulthen and Assistant Secretary Warren Inch. Armstrong was Captain/Coach.

A reserve grade team was entered in the 1981 Townsville District Rugby Union competition. Charters Towers went on to a third placing in that year and was runner-up in 1982. Superfast policeman Jim McMahon represented Townsville on the wing in 1981. The side was Reserve Grade premier in 1983/84.

Captain/coach John McIneiry and Greg Smith represented Townsville against the All Black Andy Hayden's Ponsorby team in 1983, and 1984 saw Greg Smith and Geoff Lawler represent Townsville and North Queensland.

The club entered into the A Grade competition in 1985 under the guidance of Captain/Coach Geoff Lawler. After a slow start the Towers stormed home to a creditable performance. Greg Smith and Lawler represented Queensland Country in that inaugural A Grade year and also in 1986. In 1987, Charters

Towers failed by one point to make the finals. Ian Martineau was North Queensland Captain and both he and Lawler represented Queensland Country.

Charters Towers made its first appearance in the semi-finals in 1989 under Armstrong's guidance.

Charters Towers players to have also represented the Townsville Brolgas include Joe Vitelli (1988-1989), Joe Siui(1995-2001), Gil Griffiths (1998-1999), Adrian Costello (2000) and Peter Fry (1999-2001).

Since reforming, the Bulls have hosted Townsville representative side games and international club sides from New Zealand, Canada and England. The club has held an annual Men's and Women's Tenz competition from February to March and still hosts a School Tenz competition in October. The year 2000 saw the formation of the women's team, the Bullettes, joining the competitive A Grade and Reserve Grade teams. In that year Ted Vinson was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for Rugby.

2001 marked the 21st anniversary of the Bulls and the introduction of a junior's team, which saw the club field teams in A Grade, Reserve Grade, Juniors (U17s) and Women's Rugby. 21 years of Bulls Rugby and Rugby's contribution throughout the Centenary of Federation were celebrated in 2001.

An Under 20s side and an Under 14s side were added to the club in 2006, with both new sides making it through to the semi-finals.

2007 saw the addition of an Under 16s side, along with Walla rugby starting for our very young Bulls.

In the last nine years, the junior sides have grown to three competitive sides in the TDRU competition, Walla rugby continuing to breed new players and premierships being won by both senior and junior sides.

In September 2015, (TJ) Tom ‘Rusty’ Richards was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. The Tom Richards Trophy is the international trophy awarded to the winner of British& Irish Lions v Australia test series. Tom Richards was the only player to have played for both the Wallabies and the Lions.