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History of The Hospital Cup

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The Hospital Challenge Cup has been the symbol of club rugby supremacy in Queensland since 1899, when it was anonymously donated to the Council of the Queensland Rugby Union. The magnificent Cup is among the oldest and most prestigious of Queensland's perpetual sporting trophies.

The donation of the 100-guinea trophy was submitted to the QRU through the Royal Brisbane Hospital's secretary, Mr Arthur Payne in July ,1898.

A subcommittee then considered a proposal to hold an end-of-season match between the premiers of that season, the Past Grammar Schools Club, and the City Club, with the proceeds going to the hospital.

The concept of the Hospital Challenge Cup was unique in this country but was probably adapted from similar competitions played by hospital teams in and around London from 1875 and from the early 1880's in Dublin.

The first Challenge match wasn't played until the year following the donation when the Past Grammar Schools Club defeated Mildura Club at Bowen Bridge on 16th September 1899 by three tries and a penalty goal to nil.

This inaugural Hospital Cup was a spirited affair and set the tone for the fierce competition in Queensland club rugby throughout its history. The Mildura club received a life suspension and two players, one a prominent international forward, were disqualified for 12 months.

Annual matches were played up to World War I at either Bowen Bridge, the Brisbane Cricket Ground (the 'Gabba) or the Exhibition Ground. After limited public interest in the first few years, the match was moved to the warmer days of spring and came to be contested between the two leading clubs at the end of the first round of the premiership fixtures.

The results of the Hospital Challenge matches between 1899 and 1914 are listed on an honour board displayed on the lower ground floor of Block 7 of the RWBH.

Rugby Union in Queensland struggled for 10 years after World War I and almost disappeared altogether.

On the reconstitution of the game in Brisbane, the Hospital Cup became the First Grade Premiership Trophy in the 1928 season, a place it has held ever since.

The Hospital Challenge Cup has been the symbol of club rugby supremacy in Queensland since 1899, when it was anonymously donated to the Council of the Queensland Rugby Union. The magnificent Cup is among the oldest and most prestigious of Queensland's perpetual sporting trophies.

The donation of the 100-guinea trophy was submitted to the QRU through the Royal Brisbane Hospital's secretary, Mr Arthur Payne in July ,1898.

A subcommittee then considered a proposal to hold an end-of-season match between the premiers of that season, the Past Grammar Schools Club, and the City Club, with the proceeds going to the hospital.

The concept of the Hospital Challenge Cup was unique in this country but was probably adapted from similar competitions played by hospital teams in and around London from 1875 and from the early 1880's in Dublin.

The first Challenge match wasn't played until the year following the donation when the Past Grammar Schools Club defeated Mildura Club at Bowen Bridge on 16th September 1899 by three tries and a penalty goal to nil.

This inaugural Hospital Cup was a spirited affair and set the tone for the fierce competition in Queensland club rugby throughout its history. The Mildura club received a life suspension and two players, one a prominent international forward, were disqualified for 12 months.

Annual matches were played up to World War I at either Bowen Bridge, the Brisbane Cricket Ground (the 'Gabba) or the Exhibition Ground. After limited public interest in the first few years, the match was moved to the warmer days of spring and came to be contested between the two leading clubs at the end of the first round of the premiership fixtures.

The results of the Hospital Challenge matches between 1899 and 1914 are listed on an honour board displayed on the lower ground floor of Block 7 of the RWBH.

Rugby Union in Queensland struggled for 10 years after World War I and almost disappeared altogether.

On the reconstitution of the game in Brisbane, the Hospital Cup became the First Grade Premiership Trophy in the 1928 season, a place it has held ever since.


About the Donor

The donor was probably Dr James O'Neil Mayne (1861-1939) who was born in Brisbane and was an old boy of Brisbane Grammar School.

A man of substantial independent means, he was well known for his philanthropy and support of the community. Although not a sportsman, he was actively interested in Brisbane's cricket, cycling, rowing and amateur fishing associations.

Dr Mayne gave generously to the hospital and is said to have donated his salary to the hospital's building and grounds committee and to have financed the hospital's first x-ray machine and operating theatre equipment. He remained unmarried and, along with his sister, became a major benefactor of the University of Queensland.

The donor was probably Dr James O'Neil Mayne (1861-1939) who was born in Brisbane and was an old boy of Brisbane Grammar School.

A man of substantial independent means, he was well known for his philanthropy and support of the community. Although not a sportsman, he was actively interested in Brisbane's cricket, cycling, rowing and amateur fishing associations.

Dr Mayne gave generously to the hospital and is said to have donated his salary to the hospital's building and grounds committee and to have financed the hospital's first x-ray machine and operating theatre equipment. He remained unmarried and, along with his sister, became a major benefactor of the University of Queensland.

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