On the podcast this week we recap the Raiders win, chat with former Rabbitoh Darryl ‘Dirty’ Neville, Our Remembering A Rabbitoh is ‘Too Good’ Bruce Longbottom & we preview this weeks Thursday night Storm clash.
We are recording the podcast this week on Anzac Day & so this show is dedicated to all the amazing men & women who have proudly served Australia & New Zealand at home & abroad.
On the show we recap our 6th win in a row over the Titans, chat to Burrow member Major Damo Batty, our Remembering A Rabbitoh is the legendary Jack Rayner & we preview this weeks Thursday night Round 8 clash against the Raiders at GIO Stadium Canberra.
Jack Rayner #340
Jack Rayner told Eric Lewis that ‘If we get out of this war alive I’ll try out for South Sydney.”
Rayner later said “I went to the Rabbitohs and never regretted it.”
Rest In Peace Jake Spurdle
On the podcast this week we recap the incredible Tigers win, chat with Souths rising star Davvy Moale, our Remembering a Rabbitoh is Wade Mckinnon & we preview the Titans game 6pm Friday at Cbus Stadium Gold Coast.
On the podcast this week we pay tribute to the late Tommy Raudonikis, recap the Broncos win, speak to Jerry & Martin Lissing, remember ‘The Little Master’ Clive Churchill & preview the Saturdays game against the Tigers.
Tommy Raudonikis 13 April 1950 – 7 April 2021
Jerry & Martin Lissing
Tallis Duncan, Try No1 & Origin II – Rabbitohs Podcast Network
On the podcast this week we recap the 38-0 thrashing of the Bulldogs, Chaps has a chat with Les Davidson, we remember former Rabbitoh Malcolm Spencer & preview Thursdays clash with the Broncos.
Tallis Duncan, Try No1 & Origin II – Rabbitohs Podcast Network
On the podcast this week we recap the huge win over the Roosters, chat to Souths forward Pati Mago, remember a Rabbitoh Dennis ‘Sluggo’ Lee & preview the Good Friday Bulldogs clash.
Global Ambassadors – Matty Green
By Steve Mavin
“Any particular excitement in the community usually came from itinerant sales people. There were of course the regular bread-man; fruiterer and iceman but from time to time came the call of ‘clothes-props’, ‘fisho’ or ‘rabbitoh’.”
On the 15th of March 2021 we featured Souths legend Ernie Hammerton on Rabbitohs Radio Podcast & while researching the segment I discovered that Ernie played for Lauriston United in the South Sydney Junior Rugby League.
This immediately drew my interest because I had never heard of the club.
Who is Lauriston United? Where did they come from? I had no idea but I was determined to find out & after a little bit of digging, a visit to Mascot Library plus some help from friends, old & new we can now shed some light on this subject to reveal a story of a place near the mouth of the Cooks River & it’s rugby league club that deserves to be remembered.
Lauriston Park was situated on land that was eventually consumed by Sydney Airport but to help you understand how, when & why Lauriston (pronounced like Loralston) began we need to look back at the history of the area.
In 1770 Captain James Cook sailed into & discovered Botany Bay. He described the Cooks River as – ‘I found a very fine stream of fresh water on the north side in the first sandy cove within the island before which a ship might lay land-locked and wood for fuel may be got everywhere.’
Before Cook arrived the Aboriginal people had called the area Booralee & it was their home for thousands of years. They lived within their tribal boundaries in the Botany Bay area fishing, gathering shellfish, some hunting, and subsistence cropping.
Until 1788, the Cooks River and its environment was relatively undisturbed by man.
Over the centuries however huge changes were made.
Although Botany & Mascot are now considered a mix of residential & industrial zones the area was, prior to development a desirable bayside location. It shared the shores of the Cooks River & was nestled beside the bay with the beautiful freshwater Botany wetlands, native flora & fauna including Grass trees, Banksias, bird & sea life.
I grew up in Botany & often wonder how great it would have been to preserve Botany Bay, the birth place of the nation in it’s original pristine state.
Alas this is but a dream that may never be realised, at least in my lifetime or perhaps ever.
The original mouth of the Cooks River flowed much closer to Botany, Mascot & Lauriston Park than where it does today. The river entrance was moved south of its natural course to make way for the airport. This robbed Botany & Mascot of their riverside locality.
The construction of Foreshore Road finally sealed off all of the local area from any water frontage that it had enjoyed for millennia. The original beachside of the Botany suburb where waves occasionally broke for surfers disappeared.
What was once a little slice of paradise became something entirely different.
In 1809, Andrew Byrne, Mary Lewin, Thomas Walker and Edward Redmond were granted land on the Cooks River.
The area was originally divided into four grants, they being Redmond’s 135 acres; Lewin’s 50 acres, Byrne’s 50 acres, and Walker’s 50 acres, which together formed the locality known as Mudbank.
Andrew Byrne collected the shells from Aboriginal middens which were burnt to extract lime and used to make mortar for the building industry.
Simeon Lord was another early settler who dammed a local creek to establish a woollen mill in 1815, creating the Mill Pond.
By the 1820s, Botany Bay mud oysters were taken to Sydney and fishermen had settled at the end of what is now Bay Street. William Puckeridge (born 1802) and his brother John Puckeridge (born 1804) were lime-burners and net fishermen in the Botany area from about 1830 to the 1880s. The family kept their boats on a wharf in the Cooks River near the Engine Pond which became known as Pucks Wharf.
Other early families pre 1900 were the Smiths & O’Riordans.
Construction on Laursiton Park Estate began in 1902 & was built for workers from nearby factories or working in trades & labouring.
The land was surveyed by E H Cowdry in September 1902 & soon after cheap land went on sale through Brotchie Real Estate agents in Coward Street North Botany for £15 per lot.
Early residents were of English & Celtic origin. Cottages with names like ‘Brixton’ & ‘Inverness’ lined the tiny village.
The origin of the name Lauriston is uncertain although it could be named after Lauriston Castle in Scotland. Street names like ‘Melrose’ & ‘Roslin’ often spelt ‘Roslyn’ reflect a Scottish influence.
The village was centred on a few streets. Lords Road, Roslin Street, Channel Road & Government Road which bounded the estate. Melrose Street ran down the middle. The Laursiton Park end of Channel Street was later named Ross Smith Avenue after the famous Aussie aviator. After World War II Roslin & Melrose were named 9th & 10th Street & Government Road became 11th Street (where the DHL factory is today).
Long time resident Linda Buchanan described her backyard as more like a paddock with goats roaming free. ‘My brother in law used to play golf, we had 3 holes & occasionally the goats would eat the golf balls’.
The residents of Lauriston Park settled in & the suburb flourished although amenities were limited & a sewerage pipe pumped waste into the river nearby.
People often made trips to Mascot shops & also went to Ascot Picture Theatre on Botany Road.
The Lauriston United Football Club played an important part in people’s lives with locals turning up each week to cheer the team on in their maroon & sky blue colours.
Origins of the club are unknown but a community hall was built in 1918 after land in Roslin Street was donated by the Alexander family.
An early club supporter & organiser was Jack Hendricks known as Mr Hendricks who owned a shop in Ross Smith Avenue.
Club dances were big events on Saturday nights with women who could afford it wearing long evening gowns. Women would supply the food & men the drinks.
A focal point of the community was the Ascot Racecourse that was situated adjacent to Lauriston Park on the site where the helicopter base sits today. A few large trees are all that have survived as evidence of the tracks existence.
Kingsford-Smith Airport (the original name, Mascot Airport, refuses to die) is now one of the oldest in the world, having started in 1919 as a small private venture on a leased bullock paddock. Much of the site was owned by the Kensington Racing Club, as a hedge against it losing its government-owned site at Randwick. In 1921, the Federal Government purchased 65 hectares of the site to create a public airfield and in 1923, compulsorily resumed all of the racing club’s land (although it didn’t use it all and the old racetrack is still there in the 1943 photos).
In 1948 work commenced to change the course of the Cooks River.
Local residents had a close relationship with the early Mascot Aerodrome, it caused excitement in the village & people were fascinated by the planes & mingled with avaiators Amy Johnson & Charles Kingsford Smith when they visited.
Slowly but surely the residents & the suburb were moved on until they disappeared without a trace.
In 1989 the Federal Airports Corporation announced that the remaining areas of the estate would be set aside for the domestic terminal.
In 1990 the last 2 residents were forced out. Harold Rootsey had lived there for more that 70 years & said he would have stayed if given the choice. John Goold built his house in 1940 after a ‘great deal of trouble’ & was understandably reluctant to give it up. John was the last to leave & with his departure the village of Lauriston ceased to exist.
Families that lived at Lauriston Park include-
The Babbington Family at 51 Melrose Street.
Ronan Byrne grew up in the caretakers cottage for Ascot Racecourse. It was situated near the level crossing before it was demolished. Ronan said ‘It should have been heritage listed and turned into a museum for these memories’.
Michael Cross dad Les Cross played for Lauriston United.
Les Cross was a local but sadly passed away last year & his son Michael tells me that he & Ernie Hammerton were great mates. Michael said it’s a shame we aren’t able to talk to Les because he could’ve filled us in on a lot more of the details in regards to the Lauriston United Club.
I also spoke to Mick & Tim McGrath & they told me that their dad Dennis Mcgrath grew up in Lauriston Park also known as ‘Fly Flats’ & he also played footy for the Lauriston club as well as lower grade footy for Souths. Dennis McGrath is the grandfather of Harold Mats players Ryan & Cooper McGrath.
Other families mentioned as residents include O’Brien, Williams, Bonners, Purvis, West, Cummings, Babbington & Steel.
In an extensive article written by Lauriston Park Estate resident Allen Windross he describes the entire area in fascinating detail & recalls his family home with a picket fence on Lords Road was named ‘Kelso’.
Allen remembers the McGraths house too.
“Behind Kelso, facing Roslyn Street was the house named ‘Heroic’ owned by the McGrath family. There were three sons: Edward, Dennis and George. The eldest two both played rugby league with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Edward made it to first grade.
Allen continues saying there was 4 shops but no churches, schools or liquor outlets although there was at least one ‘sly grog’.
Any particular excitement in the community usually came from itinerant sales people. There were of course the regular bread-man; fruiterer and iceman but from time to time came the call of ‘clothes-props’, ‘fisho’ or ‘rabbitoh’.
There was always a local starting price (SP) bookmaker. If you wanted a bet on the upcoming race in Sydney or Melbourne on a Saturday afternoon you waited for the ‘runner’ who came past on a bicycle before race start time. Bets were recorded on paper slips. At the SP house these slips were pinned on the inside of a roller blind in the kitchen. If the gaming police made a raid the blind was raised so the bets disappeared from sight.
There were no regular organised school sports although we sometimes had a rugby league game against another Catholic school. These matches were played at Booralee Park Botany.
Summer school holidays there was often the opportunity to have a swim in the Cooks River adjacent to Puck’s Wharf or even to do some ‘prawning’ in the river at dusk. Then there was the later excitement of Empire (Cracker) Night in May and the bonfires and fireworks. Saturday afternoons were spent at the matinee run by the Ascot Picture Theatre on Botany Road.
At church my father would point out the presence of some of the star players for the Rabbitohs. In a wardrobe at Kelso was a football jumper in the maroon and blue bars of the Lauriston Park team. I assume this was given to my father by one of the McGrath boys
Mic Brad Lee told me his grandfather Tom O’Brien ‘Lauro’ played for Lauriston United (he was nicknamed Lauro because of who he played for) & he actually asked his grandmother Betty O’Brien about her memories of the suburb for this article.
Mic said ‘Chatting to my grandmother made her laugh and smile so it was great. Betty said they used to fish for yellow tail at Pucks Wharf. They lived in aircraft hangers that were vacated by the British after World War II. There was no electricity however they had water and kerosene lamps’.
Mic gave us a pic of a name tag from a Laursiton United blazer pocket that was signed by some legends of rugby league including the Little Master Clive Churchill.
William Annesley better known as Bill (aka Shakers) played second row for Lauriston Park. He appears in the same team photo as Les Cross and Ernie Hammerton.
Today very little if any trace remains of Lauriston, I drove around the site & could find absolutely nothing of the former village. The only place the name appears close by is Lauriston Park a small park with a few swings on the corner of Middlemiss & Coward Streets Mascot.
All you will find in 2021 is a car wash, Maccas, a jet base & a huge DHL building where Lauriston once was.
‘A rich procession of activity took place within the bounds of a few streets’.
With thanks to:
The Forgotten Village
Georgina Keep & Genie Wilson
Botany Historical Trust
Lauriston Park Estate
Civil Aviation Historical Society Inc
Mic Brad Lee
Tom & Betty O’Brien
The Puckeridge Family
Thanks also to everyone who commented, shared & liked the posts we made on Facebook asking for help & to anyone else I may have forgotten to mention. Your assistance putting this story together was much appreciated.
The Official Podcast of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Rabbitohs Radio Podcast is hosted by Steve Mavin, Darren Brown & Grant Chappell.
We can be found on the Rabbitohs Podcast Network.
Search for us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube & all your podcast apps.
On the podcast this week we recap the win over Manly, chat to Souths media man Jeremy Monahan, remember a Rabbitoh Paul ‘The Huntsman’ McNicholas & preview Friday nights Roosters clash.
We now have 19 Global Ambassadors after we added Paul Wicks in the Phillipines, William Zeddy Biney in Ghana & Matthew Green in PNG. This gives us an ambassador on every continent except Antarctica.
Chaps models the new Rabbitohs hoodie
Lauriston Park Estate & Lauriston United
Mavo is putting together a story on Lauriston Park Estate & the Lauriston United team after we had a great response this week from people who shared their images & memories of the mysterious place that was erased from the map. Stay tuned…
Rest In Peace Michael Cini
The husband to Noela & father of Paul & Michelle passed away suddenly during the week. Michael was a well known & loved member of the Rabbitohs community & will be sadly missed.
Game Day Live at The Juniors
The Rabbitohs Radio podcast team consisting of Grant Chappell, Darren Brown & Steve Mavin would like to ask you to help us connect with the Rugby League and Rabbitohs community around the globe. We are posting this article to provide some examples of ways you can assist our podcast in gaining a wider audience.
The most important thing we’d like for you to do is download & press play on each new podcast we release on the Rabbitohs Podcast Network. If this is the only thing that you have time to do then we’ll be extremely grateful for that, as it will count as a listen in your region & show up in our analytics.
We reach a lot of people, for example our latest post sharing our Campbell Graham episode reached 12652 people on Facebook alone. The problem is that a lot of those people don’t actually listen to the podcast. This is a situation we need to change.
We’ll provide links below to all our main podcast sites but our biggest platform is Apple Podcasts with 70% of our audience. Next biggest for us is Spotify 14% with others platforms like Google Podcasts sharing the remaining 16% of our listeners.
It would be great if you could subscribe on Apple Podcasts (Rabbitohs Podcast Network), leave a 5-star review & encourage your network to do the same. You can also do the same on most other podcast apps & on Spotify we ask people to follow us.
If you aren’t aware, Apple Podcasts comes installed on iPhones & for Android phones people mostly use Spotify or Google Podcasts, plus there’s dozens of other Podcast apps that will work on any phone.
So, the first thing is to press that play button on our podcast, but we’d love it if you became a regular listener & found the hour or so it takes each week to listen to the whole episode.
You are reading this on our website & we also have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok & a YouTube channel all Rabbitohs Radio, so if you can follow as many of those as possible that would be great. We also have a Rabbitohs Radio Podcast Listeners group on Facebook that you’d be welcome to join as well.
Across all these socials if you can please like, comment & share whenever possible. The repost app is also a great way to duplicate posts we make on your own Instagram. You can also just share our posts on your Instagram or Facebook story.
Other ways to help are to subscribe to our YouTube channel then like, share & comment on our videos.
On Twitter please re-tweet, like & comment on our posts & if you have TikTok then the same applies there – share, like & comment.
On top of all of this, word of mouth, actually talking about us to your friends & even better holding their phone & physically subscribing/following to our podcast on their behalf because often people aren’t aware of how to do it.
All of the information we’ve mentioned above is free to do as long as you have an internet connection & data. Our show is created for the world to listen at no cost.
We hope that you can find the time to promote our podcast using the methods above or if you have any other way that we haven’t mentioned then that would be terrific too.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
“Up The Mighty Rabbitohs”
Grant, Darren & Steve
Rabbitohs Podcast Network
Rabbitohs Radio Global Ambassador Jeff Jouffret from France has been hooked on rugby league since the age of 13. Jeff played the game & was a avid fan of the Winfield Cup – a competition played on the other side of the world in the land down under.
The story of how Jeff Jouffret & Steve Mavin became friends is an incredible one involving Jeffs’ love of footy, VHS tapes, the ‘Mavin Show’ & a chance meeting near Waverley Cemetery.
The following is Jeffs’ story in his own words..
My name is Jeff Jouffret & I am from Avignon in the south of France.
I started playing rugby league for my local club Sporting Olympique Avignon Bisons known as SOA13 as a 6 year old to follow my older brothers.
My Rep Honours were: France B vs Australia 1990 in Lyon. Presidents 13 vs PNG 1991 in Carpentras. France vs Russia 1991 in Paris France. World Sevens Sydney 92 & 93. I played for Wyong Roos lower grades in Australia 1992-93-94.
Steve Mavin is one of my oldest friends on Facebook, many years ago when I first got on Facebook on the section “do you know..” I saw Steve Mavin, we must have had a friend in common and I asked him, are you the former Rabbitoh Steve Mavin? He said yes I am and we became Facebook friends.
In 2016 I visited Australia with my family to see old friends from my Wyong days and former players who played for Avignon since the eighties, and on the Bondi walk by the cemetery I bumped into Steve whom I recognized but had never actually met before, that was quite a shock and I asked my question again, Steve? And he said yes! That was something special to bump into each other like that.
Back in the eighties we didn’t have any coverage of the then Winfield Cup in France and the only way we could watch games was on VHS tapes sent by air mail from Australia by some Australian import players’ families and friends and those tapes were hot properties. I remember passing them on at training like it was gold between each other, waiting for the next training session to in turn get hold of the treasure. Games were 2 or 3 months old but it didn’t matter, it was all new and exotic for us. New teams, new colors, mascots which was unheard of in France.
One of the games we got to watch and share was the infamous 1987 semi final where poor old Mavo got bombed out of the game by the Raiders at the SCG, so everyone in Avignon was sharing what we called the “Mavin Show” amongst other games of course, and that is how this great Rabbitoh man was sadly known in and around town. Sorry Mavo.
The famous Parramatta Eels was the most popular team in France back then, my first ever match was the 1981 grand final. I remember watching that game on a black and white small tv screen sitting on the floor during a rugby camp we used to go to during school holidays (the tv system back then in France was different to the one used in Australia PAL or SECAM and most of the first tapes came out in black & white) and I remember being one of the few staying until fulltime with the adults when all the others went to bed, I was 13. Must have been when I got hooked on the game.
Unlike nearly everyone I know in Australia I never really had a team I grew up supporting more than others, I was not brought up in any Sydney suburb, my family had never heard of rugby league in Sydney and I only found out about the game in Australia aged 13 in the eighties, and in the south of France. What I do know is that the first team I watched and liked because of that formidable backline was the Parramatta Eels.
I later did my studies on the game in Australia and discovered every other team, as well as the Brisbane competition. I started following the Winfield Cup. I actually liked all teams, I liked the game, the grounds and the competition, all this was new to me. Later I liked the obvious big teams of the 80’s, Manly, Balmain, never really liked the Dogs because they beat the Eels, then I liked Souths, Norths, Easts, Wests as it was very cardinal to me and made me discover Sydney geographically.
Penrith toured France in 1988 under Ron Willey & I remember swapping with MG in a Le Pontet dressing room, (I still have that PENRITH CITY t shirt), and taking a photo with Col Bentley.
I like Cronulla and the beach suburb, St George and its history, and the out of town BHP Illawarra Steelers (who sadly disappeared for me since the merger) and Jim Woodger’s lime green Raiders. I studied all teams’ history, why each mascot, grounds, suburbs, famous players, stories…I used to draw a map of Sydney metropolitan area where I would pinpoint every team and suburb, I remember odd things like Balmain playing at Leichhardt Oval which was in fact in Lilyfield, Manly playing in Brookvale and not Manly, Canterbury and Bankstown forming the Bulldogs and playing in Belmore.
I made excel with each team, mascots, grounds, major sponsors, and I used to draw jerseys on my school books during my time in school. I kept those to this day with famous sponsors of the eighties, Hardie’s, VICTA, Penfolds Wines, 100 Pipers, Smiths Crisps, Alpha Micro Computers, AVCO Finance to name a few.
Later I liked and followed the Rabbitohs because they were a foundation club, representing the historical inner Sydney suburb and I got behind the club when all the drama of 1999 happened.
I followed the Raiders when I first visited Australia in 1989 because my friend and host former Avignon prop Jim Antonakos was from the nations capital. We attended the GF at the SFS that year. In 1992 when I came to Sydney with the French side for the World Sevens we trained at Redfern Oval, and I met who was under the Reggie the rabbit mascot, a lovely very small man who was the right size to fit into the mascot.
Later I moved to Wyong thanks to another former Avignon player Tony Keevill, who played for Balmain in 84, and later also was assistant coach to Ken Shine for the Rabbitohs so there is another Rabbitoh link. Later Dean Amos another former Avignon and Wyong legend also played for the Bunnies in the 1995 CANON jerseys.
Blake Solly is also a Rabbitoh connection, I met Central Coast boy Blake in England when he worked for the RFL when my brother Christophe was then CEO of the Catalans Dragons. Good to see old players like the Rabbitoh podcast team keeping the flame alive and linking the community of this great historical club. Like everything the sport of Rugby League changes and it’s nice for us who experienced the old times to remember and commemorate, share stories and pay tribute to the greatest game of all. Congratulations to the team and long live the podcast and the Rabbitohs. Glory Glory.
By Jeff Jouffret