The first official record of SUHC shows it was already active in 1907, so we are at least 105 years old in 2012. The Sports section of the Sydney University Sports Union (SUSU) magazine “Hermes” from July 1, 1908 says:"The inception of this game into the circles of University sport has been marked with unparallelled enthusiasm. Last year there were barely enough members to run one eleven; while this season the membership roll shows that four or five teams could be put into the field. The difficulty which faces the N.S.W. Hockey Association is that of obtaining the necessary grounds for the matches on Saturday, and so the number of teams each club can put into the field has to be restricted....."
This suggests that the Club's inaugural year was either 1907 or perhaps even earlier. To date, readings of pre-1907 editions of Hermes have not added more information.
There had been suggestions hockey was a college activity earlier than this. The June 1907 edition of Hermes refers to Inter-Collegiate Sport and at that time, and it appears hockey was not part of the formally acknowledged games:
"Sir Henry Rawson has presented a fine Challenge Cup for competition amongst the Colleges. It will be held by the College which wins the greatest number of the year's sporting events: rowing, football, cricket, tennis, athletics and shooting."
The Women's Club began as a separate club in 1909. Its first captain was Jessie Street, a first-year Women's College student who became famous not only for her sporting prowess but also because of her leadership of the suffragette movement in Australia. She was also the matriarch of a family dynasty of NSW Chief Justices.
The First Inter-'Varsity Competition
In the May, 1909 edition of Hermes, the Club makes the following announcement:
"An invitation was received from the Melbourne University to send a team over some time during the season, which was accepted after due consideration by the committee. It is probable that the visit will take place during the June vacation and a match en route against Wagga or Wangaratta may be arranged."
A report in June, 1909 covers the Melbourne trip in detail. It is an excellent historical reference to the players, results, opponents and institutional structure of hockey at the time. Of particular interest is the direct reference to the award of Half-Blues to Melbourne Uni players and the institution of an annual inter-'Varsity competition. At this time the Hockey Club was not yet affiliated with SUSU and yet the SU players were awarded Honorary Membership of the M.U.S.U. This is perhaps unique. It almost certainly resulted in the favourable consideration of the Club's application for affiliation with SUSU in May, 1909.
In the return inter-'Varsity match of 1910, SUHC defeated MUHC 5 - 3! Hughes scored three whilst Terrey and Green completed the rout.
It is believed that the third inter-'Varsity took place in 1911 again in Melbourne. This time, the competition included the Adelaide University. Unfortunately, reference to the result has not been found but the Sydney University Women were victorious in what is believed to be their first foray into I.V.
Misses L and N Meares were also noted as inter-state representatives in the season summary of October, 1911
The first Hockey Blue at The University of Sydney was bestowed on G.C.Willcocks, who was awarded multiple Blues in the years 1909 to 1913. Willcocks was a member of the SUCC First XI and was a member of the University's first Championship team in 1909.
The Blues records are not clear in the immediately following years. It is not until 1922 that the next Hockey Blue is recorded and yet we know that the intervarsity competition was under way and that University men are receiving representative honours with the NSWHA.
In May 1909, the Club refers to the unavailability of A.L.Butler "who gained inter-state distinction last year". Then in August 1909, Hermes congratulates A.S.Lloyd and L.C.Terrey upon their selection to represent New South Wales against Victoria.
In fact, Terrey seems to be a strange exclusion from the Blues list because he was also a member of the inaugural intervarsity team, bowled in the S.U.C.C. First XI of 1909 and represented NSW in Hockey!
Early Committees, Membership and the Competition
The earliest source of information regarding the administrative structure of the Club is from Hermes, May 1909. The committee consisted of either seven of eight office-bearers and there were 50 members enrolled. The report makes no reference to a President and there is the possibility of a typographical error in the reference to an A.A. Lloyd - this could be the HA of NSWHA.
Notwithstanding these uncertainties, the structure is not dissimilar to that of today's Club with the Captain and Vice-captain holding responsibility for match-day issues: selections and association delegates. These officers were also the leading or senior players of First XI.
The Hon. Treasurer at the time, N.K. Robertson, might be Rutherford N. Robertson, President of the Club 1946-49 and Senior Lecturer in Botany.
Around 1910, SUHC was affiliated directly with the NSWHA and it is very likely that the Club was a founding member. The first-grade competition in 1908 seems to have comprised five clubs: University, Corinthians, Sydneians, Bandits and Fleet, with Corinthians fielding three teams. Dalgety's also competed in second and third grade. The competition was arranged into two rounds similar to the current structure.
Later, perhaps in the 1920s, the Sydney clubs separated into the Metropolitan and Northern associations. Sydney University competed in the Metropolitan competition.
We are slowly aggregating information about our past successes, and hope to have our own Roll of Honour soon. Information on our past Men's premierships (back to 1930) is here.
Juniors, Masters and Amalgamation
The Junior division of the Club was formed in 2001 when SUHC absorbed the North Sydney District Junior Hockey Club. At that time it had barely one team, but after a decade this was up to seven outdoor teams and a number of indoor teams. The Masters division started when a number of Over 40s played as SU in 2001. By 2011 we had three Masters teams.
On April 1, 2003 the men's and women's hockey clubs at SU were formally amalgamated. Together with the Masters and Juniors, SUHC is now one of the largest sporting clubs at the University of Sydney.
Centenary Celebrations in 2007
Our Centenary Dinner was held in August 2007 at the Great Hall. The guests spanned all 100 years of our history. Sir Laurence Street, son of Jessie Street (the first Women's team captain from 1909), spoke at the Dinner. Other special guests or speakers included some of our stars over those 100 years, such as Emeritus Professor Ruthven Blackburn, who played first grade for the Club 75 years ago, Bruce Pryor, who played 50 years ago, Steph Newby, who played some 25 years ago, and Harriet Moore and the Lobsey legends of modern times. More details can be found in the Archives.
In 2009 the 1st grade men's teams from SU and MU played the centenary IV hockey game at Olympic Park in Sydney. SU won, but that was hardly the point. The women's teams met at AUG in 2011 in a rematch of their first competition in 1911.
(This section is shamelessly modelled on MUHC's good summary on their own website). The Centenary Cup is a roughly-annual contest between SUHC and Melbourne University Hockey Club ('MUHC') that commemorates the centenary of our first meeting. It comprises a men's match and a women's match - the winner being the club with the highest aggregate score. Both clubs were both formed in 1907 to provide male and female students at their respective universities with the opportunity to play hockey, making them amongst the oldest hockey clubs in Australia. The University of Melbourne and The University of Sydney first met in a men's hockey match on Tuesday 1st June 1909, at the Melbourne University Oval. This was also the very first men’s InterVarsity hockey match played in Australia. Melbourne won by 6 goals to 2. The first women’s match between the two universities was also played at the Melbourne University Oval, on Friday 1st September 1911. Women’s InterVarsity hockey had begun in 1908 between the Universities of Adelaide and Melbourne, but this was the first time that Sydney had also participated. As both teams had already defeated Adelaide, this match would decide the overall winner for 1911. The Argus reports:
At half time the scores were level – 3 goals each – but in the second half Sydney, with the wind, prevailed, and, despite the excellent goal-keeping of Miss Bury, won by 5 goals to 3.
These annual InterVarsity hockey contests gradually expanded to include more universities from around Australia, and in 1993 became part of the Australian University Games. As both clubs were celebrating their centenaries in 2007, it was decided to relaunch the old rivalry with a special game in 2009 for the 'Centenary Cup'
Year Venue Men's Result Women's Result Overall
2008 Melbourne University 5-4 Sydney 5-2 Melbourne Contest won by Melbourne (9-7)
2009 Sydney Olympic Park 4-1 Sydney 3-0 Sydney Cup won by Sydney (7-1)
2011 Melbourne University 6-5 Melbourne 3-2 Sydney Cup retained by Sydney (8-8)
2012 Adelaide AUG 6-0 Melbourne 2-1 Sydney Cup won by Melbourne (7-2)
Today we have some 25 teams playing across a range of competitions at all age land skill levels. The Men are affiliated with the Sydney Hockey Association (SHA) whilst the Women are affiliated with the Sydney Women's Hockey League (SWHL), Eastern Districts Women's Hockey Association (EDWHA) and Sydney North Women's Hockey Association (SNWHA). The Juniors play in the North Area competition of Sydney Junior Hockey Association (SJHA) as well as in the metropolitan wide A grade "Metro" competitions. Our older players play in the Sydney Masters Hockey Association for Over 40's.