The Australian Rugby community is mourning the passing of Wallaby number 418, Terence “Terry” Curley who passed away yesterday aged 78.
Born in Newcastle, Terry Curley became a Wallabies fullback aged 18 and went on to earn 11 Test caps.
Schooled at the famous rugby nursery, St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill, Sydney, the talented Curley steered his schoolboy team to the 1955 premiership.
Upon finishing high school he returned to Newcastle to pursue a chemical engineering degree and whilst doing so played for the Newcastle Wanderers club. His prodigious ability saw him selected for the NSW Country, NSW and Australian teams in 1957.
He made his Test debut as an 18-year old, 12 days before his 19th birthday against a formidable All Blacks side. His performance earned him selection in the Wallabies tour to Britain, where he starred in 34 matches throughout Britain, France and America, including all five Tests. His next tour was to New Zealand where his goal kicking helped secure the Wallabies a famous three-point win in Christchurch.
On his return to Australia, Curley announced his retirement at 20 years of age and went on to enter the Marist order. As well as being a skilled teacher, he proved a fine coach at both Marist Brothers Ashgrove and St Joseph's College, where a number of future Wallabies came under his expert eye. His coaching successes were matched by those in the academic area and he rose to the position of deputy head at St Joseph's. Later in life, he retrained and worked as lawyer in Sydney.
President of Australian Rugby Union Dr John Coolican said: “There are very few players who can lay claim to having made their international Test debut at 18 years of age. For Terry to have been granted such a momentous honour at such a young age shows how impressive he was on the field.
“He will be remembered as a tremendously talented player who was unfailingly committed to doing his very best for his country while wearing the gold jersey.
“Off the field, he was a man who dedicated himself to his work and his community. As a teacher, his past success with the Wallabies helped him guide many young students through their rugby early careers.
“On behalf of all Wallabies, past and present and the entire Rugby community, we pass on our condolences to his wife Libby and the entire Curley family."