Maurie died in 2015 aged 83.
He was the first Secretary of ASRU and was instrumental in establishing this organisation while a teacher at Barker College in Sydney. He held this position from 1971 to 1976. For the same period he was also Foundation Secretary of NSW.
He was notable for many things and especially in rugby during his life-time but it is worth recording he came out of retirement to assist with the National Championships at Riverview.
Working with the other ASRU Foundation Executive Members ‘Jika’ Travers and Merv Allen he established the tradition of UK tours every four years.
He became Australian Schools first Manager and took the inaugural tour in 1973 and also organised a return tour by England Schools in 1974, when he was also the Australian team manager.
He had a career as a rugby administrator after his school teaching ended being Secretary of the Sydney Rugby Union from 1976-80.
What is often forgotten is he was also an outstanding player who played for the Gordon Club in Sydney. He was never selected as a Wallaby, though many said he was unlucky not to make it.
He however was an All Black and on his death this was acknowledged by the New Zealand Rugby Union as All Black No.609.
To explain this the following was recorded on the Gordon website.
When Maurie Graham was in his prime as Gordon’s resolute fullback through the club’s golden era of the 1950s, nobody who played against him doubted that he was among the best in the game. Yet his representative selections were sparse. He made it to the NSW Country team as a very young man and was selected for just one game for NSW in 1954, before joining Gordon. That was it . . . until the All Blacks came calling.
Among his prized possessions was an All Black jersey, given to him after he played for New Zealand in a match against Queensland at the Sydney Sports Ground in 1960. The All Blacks were en route to South Africa for a long tour, and wanted some warm-up matches in Australia to get their game oiled up.
Two of the players in their 30-man squad were unavailable for a double–header at the Sports Ground in which they played Queensland first of all, and then NSW. They needed a winger and a fullback.
They invited Eddie Stapleton for the wing spot. Stapleton was a champion international of the time, and duly scored the first try of the All Black tour in a 32-3 win against Queensland.
Maurie Graham was invited to play fullback. As a non-international whose only NSW selection had been six years previously, it was an enormous mark of respect. As recognition goes, it doesn’t get much better.
Maurie played well, which came as no surprise given the impact he had on the Sydney club scene as a safe and reliable custodian with an educated boot, and as a goal-kicker supreme.
His Playing Record:
140 1st Grade Games
200 plus Club Games
1953 – Australian Colts
NSW Representative (no. 900)
NSW Country Representative
All Black (no. 609)
New Zealand’s rugby community has been saddened by the loss of former All Black Maurice Gordon Graham who passed away , aged 83.
Here is what they said about him across the ditch:
“Better known as Maurie, Graham hailed from New South Wales. He was invited into the All Blacks as an injury replacement and was part of an historic day in All Blacks history, when the team played two matches in one afternoon at the same venue.Graham was born on 20 December 1931 in Blayney, Australia. He was a fullback, who represented New South Wales and New South Wales Country in the early 1950s and in 1953 he was selected in the Australian Colts side. In 1954 he toured New Zealand with the Country team, playing in 10 of 11 matches and scoring 19 points.
In 1960, the All Blacks played five matches in Australia on their way to a lengthy tour in South Africa. Thirty players were named in the travelling squad, with all players due to be involved in two matches in Sydney on Saturday 14 May. Injuries to All Blacks Dennis Cameron and Steven Nesbit resulted in invitations to Graham and countryman Eddie Stapleton to join the All Blacks for the earlier match, against Queensland, which the All Blacks won 32-3. That was Graham’s only appearance for the All Blacks.
Following his retirement from playing, Graham continued to make a significant contribution to age grade rugby in Australia, coaching and administering the game. He was the foundation secretary of the New South Wales Schools Rugby Union and Australian Schools Rugby Union between 1971 and 1976 and managed the Australian Schools side in 1974-75.” NZRU
See his All Blacks player profile here