Valedictory to Richard (Dick) Heher – A Founding Father of TVRUFC

Valedictory to Richard (Dick) Heher – A Founding Father of TVRUFC

The Tuggeranong Rugby Club sadly notes the passing of one of its founding fathers last Monday morning 17 April at Claire Holland House after a brief illness.

Dick mostly recalled as ‘Pubes’ by the irreverent Canberra Rugby community was the leading force behind the formation of the Tuggeranong Rugby Club.  The leader of a quartet of ex Norths Rugby Club players who had moved to the Weston Creek area at a time when Norths were eyeing off a move from Braddon to Hawker.  Not wanting to travel what seemed like miles to Hawker and not wanting to play for Woden based Royals the germ of retirement looked the best prospect.

Pubes started pushing the idea in late 1972 of forming a team of likeminded semi-committed, socially driven, occasional trainers to play rugby in the lowest tier available and so the Woden-Weston Rugby Club was formed in 1973.

The Woden-Weston club ran recruitment ads in the local press seeking players of a like mind as the original quartet.  The results stunned them as players with surprisingly good skills and experience started to turn up at social drinks/training nights.  The results also started going their way on the field.  Half way through the season Pubes started eyeing a jump across the Chapman Ridge into Tuggeranong.  Personally driving it in every available forum, Pubes got his wish three seasons later when – the Tuggeranong Rugby Club was formed.

Four years later he pushed the idea of opening a Licensed Club.  He worked tirelessly to obtain a site.  Not just a Club site; but one next to an oval.  None existed in Canberra, let alone Tuggeranong.  After bashing down doors and shaking bureaucratic cages eventually the Territories Minister gazetted the right club site that Pubes wanted.

Next was money raising for the bricks and mortar.  Always of the view ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’. He talked the likes of property and real estate guru Jim Shonk and other movers and shakers to come on board.  Pube’s drive and Shonky’s unmitigated enthusiasm for all things Rugby assured a positive outcome.  He, along with his family committed considerable personal finances to the venture and the licensed Club eventually opened doors in 1978.  Not finished with the project he then took LWOP from the Bureau of Statistics to manage the Club in an unpaid capacity in an endeavour to make sure the venture had a positive outcome in its first year.

Over the ensuing years, mostly based interstate, Pubes was always regularly in touch with his friends in Canberra and he maintained a close association with both the Rugby and Licensed Clubs.  A quiet achiever with little sought recognition, undoubtedly his drive, vision, and efforts have had a lasting affect with both our rugby and licensed clubs and he has significantly contributed in so many ways to the fabric that makes up Community Rugby in Canberra.

Vale, Richard Heher