Farwell to a legend - laying to rest Max Howell

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The Australian Rugby community has laid to rest former Wallaby Max Howell and honoured him at his former Sydney Club, Randwick.

Max passed away a few months ago after a long battle with Cancer, aged 86.

At the Magners Shute Shield match between Randwick and Northern Suburbs the memory of Max was honoured before the first grade kick off, as his life was described to attendees at the match.

In accordance with his wishes his ashes were scattered in to waves of Coogee oval early Sunday morning by his wife Lingyu Xie.

Classic Wallabies Co-President Simon Poidevin and committee member of Randwick Rugby Club thought it was a fitting ceremony.

“Max was a beloved son of Randwick and will continue to be so for the years to come. His service to Rugby on and off the field and to Australian Society deserves our respect and admiration.

“It is a great honour that his final resting place was so close to the home of Randwick Rugby club, a place he spent much of his Rugby playing time in his youth.”


Born in 1927, Max Howell grew up during the Great Depression and first played Rugby at primary school in bare feet because boots were a luxury the Howell family simply could not afford.

After completing his schooling at Sydney Technical High, Max studied Physical Education and joined the Randwick Rugby Club where he played six games before being promoted to First Grade.

Max Howell, Wallaby 339, played five Tests and 27 non-Test caps for Australia between 1946 and 1948, making his debut against New Zealand at the age of 19. His Rugby took him as far as the United Kingdom and Ireland where he featured in matches against Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

After his playing days, he became a highly qualified and respected Physical Education teacher and Professor where his teaching and academic studies took him to the USA and Canada. He even found time to coach the Canadian Rugby side during their 1959 tour of Wales.

In 1981 he was invited back to Australia as Foundation Professor in the Department of Human Movement Studies at The University of Queensland. He retired from the role in 1992 and was made an Emeritus Professor in 1993.

Max wrote more than 50 books and had more than 300 other articles published throughout his life.

In 2003, Howell was awarded an Order of Australia for service to Education as a pioneer in the development of sports studies and sport science, as academic disciplines both in Australia and overseas and to the study of sports history.