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Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop

12.07.1907 - 02.07.1993

Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop was a decorated war hero, surgeon, Victoria’s first Wallaby and a selfless contributor and leader in the community. Weary was an Australian surgeon who was renowned for his leadership while being held prisoner by the Japanese during the Second World War.

Weary Dunlop studied medicine at University of Melbourne, lived at Ormond College, and was an integral part of MURFC in the 1930's. He is the most highly recognised, and decorated, player to ever play at MURFC.

His grandson, Edward "Ed" Dunlop played Colts for MURFC in 2015, while living at Ormond College, following in his grandfather's footsteps.

Weary transitioned from Australian Rules Football to rugby union, commencing as a fourth grade player with Melbourne Uni Rugby in 1931. 

He rapidly progressed to Premier Grade, to state representative, and then to national representative level, becoming the first Victorian-born player to represent the Wallabies.

He made his Wallabies debut against the All Blacks at Sydney Cricket Ground on 23 July 1932 as a number 8.

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Wallabies Team Photo vs All Blacks, 1934.

In the first Test of 1934, he played at lock, with Australia winning the match - 25-11.

Two weeks later, the second and final match of that year's Bledisloe Cup series finished in a draw; and, although Dunlop missed that match through influenza – he stands as a member of the first Wallaby squad to have won the Bledisloe Cup away from New Zealand.

In June 2008, he was honoured in the third set of inductees into the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame.

To date, he is the only Victorian so honoured.

During the Second World War, Dunlop was appointed to medical headquarters in the Middle East, where he developed the mobile surgical unit. His troopship were diverted to Java in an ill-planned attempt to bolster the defences there.  Dunlop became a Japanese prisoner of war in 1942 when he was captured in Bandung, Java, together with the hospital he was commanding.

Due to his leadership skills, he was placed in charge of prisoner-of-war camps in Java, and in January 1943 commanded the first Australians sent to work on the Thai segment of the Burma-Thailand Railway, often called "The Death Railway".

Conditions in the railway camps were primitive and horrific—food was totally inadequate, beatings were frequent and severe, there were no medical supplies, and tropical diseases were rampant.

Dunlop's dedication and heroism became a legend among prisoners. A courageous leader and compassionate doctor, he restored morale in those terrible prison camps and jungle hospitals. Dunlop defied his captors, gave hope to the sick and eased the anguish of the dying. His example was one of the reasons why Australian survival rates were the highest.

A statue of Weary Dunlop is erected outside the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, with the suburb of Dunlop (in Canberra) named in his honour.

Left: Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop       

Right: Dane Haylett-Petty (Melb Rebels player) receiving Weary Dunlop Shield from Diana Dunlop (Weary's granddaughter).

The Weary Dunlop Rugby Foundation is based on the three pillars integral to Sir Weary Dunlop’s life; Education, Rugby Union, Community involvement and Leadership.

The Weary Dunlop Foundation aims to support young men and women with funding in order to assist in the pursuit of their education alongside rugby. It must be noted that applicants may be involved in rugby at any level, be they referees, coaches, administrators, support staff or players.

Winners of the Weary Dunlop scholarship exhibit the values of Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop and are future leaders in the rugby and business communities.

Miss Diana Dunlop, Weary’s granddaughter, proudly represents the Weary Dunlop Rugby Foundation as its Patron. As a passionate and long-time supporter of Rugby Australia and Rugby Victoria, Miss Dunlop will act as the intermediary between rugby and the various branches of Sir Edward’s legacy, including the Dunlop Medical Research Foundation, St Andrew’s First Aid, Melbourne University’s Asialink and other associated organisations which offer scholarships and awards in the name of Victoria’s first Wallaby.

Miss Dunlop is an Oxford University Masters candidate, set to permanently return to Australia in 2024.

Weary Dunlop Scholarship Recipents

Shawn Ingle

2022

Shawn began playing for MURFC in 2017, after relocating from South Africa to study engineering at University of Melbourne.

Shawn played over 80 games for the club, captaining MURFC from 2020-2022, winning Best First Year Player in 2017, Best Forward in 2018 and Best Player in 2021.

Shawn represented Melbourne Rising NRC in 2019, playing against Japan’s World Cup preparation team.

The Weary Dunlop Rugby Foundation supported Shawn to Study a Master Philosophy Industrial Systems, Manufacturing and Management at Cambridge University.

 

During his time at Cambridge, Shawn was awarded Blue #1278 playing in the Cambridge 1st XV against Oxford at Twickenham and was awarded Best Forward for 2022/23.

 

Shawn was selected for the German national squad for their 2023 Rugby Europe Championship campaign and earned his international 7s cap with the German 7s team.

Karin Gunatilake

2020

The Foundation supported Karin Gunatilake to complete the final year of her medical studies at the University of Melbourne.

An international student from Sri Lanka, Karin was attracted to studying in Melbourne to gain “exposure to a multitude of sports, art and culture”. However, this move to Australia also provided the spark for a real passion in Touch Football and Rugby.

Karin is a keen sportswoman, member of MURFC, and AON Uni 7s representative; aspiring orthopaedic surgeon; and an individual who embodies the personal qualities of perseverance, commitment, and integrity that Dunlop was renowned for.

Karin worked tirelessly to ensure she was able to complete her degree exemplifying Dunlop’s character, demonstrating incredible drive and commitment to overcome very challenging circumstances.

Declan Cox

2017

Declan studied Environmental Science at Melbourne University.

 

Declan went on to study Engineering, specialising in Structural Engineering.

Declan played rugby for the Melbourne University Rugby Club and represented the Melbourne Rebels Under-20s in the 2017 Super Under-20s competition.

Declan was a key member of the Colts Premiership in 2017, defeating Harlequins at Harlequins.

Jordan Uelese

2015

Jordan was awarded the Weary Dunlop scholarship in his final year of secondary schooling at rugby powerhouse St.Kevin’s College.

 

The support of the Weary Dunlop foundation helped Jordan along the impressive path he has taken since graduating, where in 2017 the talented hooker earned a contract with the Melbourne Rebels. Jordan represented Australia in the Under 20s Rugby World Cup, where his talents on the field were invaluable to the Australian outfit.

In September 2017, at just 20 years of age, Jordan made his international debut against the Springboks in a 23–23 draw in Perth, earning Wallabies cap number 912.

Jordan is the first Victorian player to reach 50 caps for the Melbourne Rebels.

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