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Weary's wallabies blazer gifted to village

Written by Margot Taylor
on February 23, 2024

A ‘priceless’ item belonging to Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop has been gifted to the village which proudly bears his name.

Most well-known for his leadership and extreme courage while a prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma Railway, a pristine Wallabies blazer, gifted to Weary Dunlop Retirement Village by his granddaughter Diana Dunlop, honours his sporting success.

When an AFL ankle injury forced Weary to change codes his natural acumen for rugby union was soon evident.

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He moved from fourth division to first division rugby within a year and played just 16 first division games before he became the first Victorian to be selected for the national side.

In 1932 Weary debuted for the Wallabies against the All Blacks in Sydney.

His last game for the Wallabies in 1934 resulted in Australia’s first test victory over New Zealand (25-11).

The Truth Newspaper reported Weary’s performance during the match showed he was ‘An All Black in physique, All Black in mode of play!’

Weary was unable to play the second test, which secured the Wallabies their first Bledisloe Cup, because he contracted influenza.

Weary Dunlop rugby

                                                                     Weary Dunlop during his rugby years.

 

He hung-up his boots for good in 1937 when he became a Master of Surgery and traveled to London to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Less than a decade later he would draw on his medical expertise and leadership while a prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma Railway.

Weary Dunlop Retirement Village resident Jim Garrie said he leapt at an offer by Diana Dunlop to display the historical blazer at the village.

“I had a long chat with Diana about how we always remember her grandfather, particularly during our Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services,” he said.

During the conversation Diana mentioned a safe containing letters, sketches, and war medals, belonging to Weary had been stolen from a family home.

Having already lost these prized positions, Jim was stunned by what Diana said next.

“She told me the family still had the original blazer he was given when he represented Australia in rugby union for the Wallabies,” he said.

20240131-IMG_2301 - edited (1)

Jim Garrie with Weary Dunlop's Wallabies blazer.
 

“She said the blazer was just hanging in a wardrobe and no one ever saw it, and then she made the very generous offer of giving it to the village.

“I couldn’t say yes quickly enough, I thought ‘this is priceless’.”

In 2008 Weary became the first and only Victorian to be inducted into the Australian Rugby Hall of Fame.

His 90-year-old blazer is in immaculate condition and is proudly displayed at the village.

Jim hoped the blazer would inspire more conversations about the village’s remarkable namesake.

“Weary Dunlop remains such a highly esteemed Australian and to have something he actually wore is simply amazing,” Jim said.

“As an ex-serviceman myself, I’m quite chuffed about it all.”

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