A History of the birth of SCRUM Inc – A Personal Perspective
A few years ago Mike Quinn wrote a brief history of the beginnings and beyond of what is now known as SCRUM Inc for presentation at a SCRUM lunch. The general gist of Mike’s story was accurate however I feel that there were areas that could be expanded upon and a few areas that needed to be corrected factually hence prompting the writing of this history. A copy of his history will be attached to this with his permission.
I will write this as if from the beginning. Some parts of the narrative while containing possibly different words might appear to have been plagiarized from Mike’s account: however, this will be because these parts are either factual or recorded. I have relied heavily on records and of course my memory. I will only write up to the first fundraising function.
The interesting thing about history is that two people involved in the same event can remember things differently or different things. Most likely both records are correct and need to be taken together. This more extended record is intended for current and future Committee and Members who might be interested, possibly more so with the passing of time, in the beginnings of the organization. It is also written, so that hopefully, when the SCRUM committee of 2042 is formed it can look back fondly at the formation of the organization 50 years previously.
Start of an Idea – Early Rumblings
During the 1980s and into part of the 1990s there was a group based in Pt Moresby calling themselves the “A Team”. This was an informal grouping of friends and Rugby enthusiasts who ran fund raising lunches and gathered annually to attend the Hong Kong 7s and to assist the PNG 7s Rugby Team (Pukpuks) who were invited to the Hong Kong Tournament. At the time the Hong Kong 7s was an invitation regional tournament that also invited the top Rugby Nations National 7s team to participate as well. PNG were invited to the best part of 20 Tournaments. The invitations ceased once the Hong Kong 7s became part of the Rugby World Cup 7s World tour and teams needed to qualify to attend.
The “A Team” was nominally led by Graeme Dunnage as the self appointed “President for Life” with all the work dealing with group bookings as well as game tickets for the “A Team” traveling to Hong Kong being organized by Mike Carter. There were “members” of the “A Team” who were not necessarily based in Pt Moresby but who traveled regularly to the Hong Kong 7s. Two of these were yours truly and Mike Quinn.
The “A Team” was an informal group without any formal structure but who did a great deal to assist the PNG Team attending the Tournament by way of assisting with sourcing coaches and their airfares to PNG, team apparel, team post-match functions etc.
While the fun part of the trip was excellent, the positive side of the “A Team’s” assistance to PNG Rugby was something Mike and I picked up on and talked about over many a Carlsberg beer, fine steak or a bottle of Grange during our trips to Hong Kong. As time went on we started to discuss the possibility of the formation of something similar to the ‘A Team” to assist Rugby in Lae. It was also clear to us that whatever incarnation this entity was to take that it should not be an informal one a la the ‘A Team” but would need formality to ensure succession. As an aside, the ‘A Team” ceased to exist during the 1990s when Graeme Dunnage and others “went finish”. Similar conversations about assisting Lae Rugby were held with various persons in Lae also having an interest in, and a high regard for, Rugby support in Lae.
The talking started to take form in 1992, and it was suggested to Robin Tarere (who was a highly regarded PukPuk and lived in Pt Moresby at the time, but was later to become a very successful Development officer for SCRUM in Lae) that he send word to the President of the Morobe Rugby Football Union (MRFU) who, at the time was Joshua Lakora, to go see Mike Quinn in Lae and talk with him as to what help MRFU might require. So in 1992 Mike rang me to say that Joshua was in his office and looks like it was time that we started to put talk into action.
Circulation – Early Days
As a result of this, Mike sent out an invitation calling a meeting of enthusiasts and anyone else who might have an interest. This meeting was held at the Lae International Hotel Board Room on 3rd September 1992. This meeting was attended by some 22 interested persons.
Mike outlined to the meeting general thoughts about forming something, a body/society/group/entity/club, whose aim it was to help Lae Rugby. There was enthusiastic agreement by all. As a result the following agreed to act as a steering committee:
- Chris Black
- David Drake
- Bob Finall
- Kerry McDonough
- Mike Quinn
I agreed to act as Chair.
This committee then met at the Lae Yacht Club on the 7th September 1992. Some of the topics for discussion were:
- Type of organization
- Winding up
There was general agreement that a registered incorporated body was required and that this body should assist Rugby in Morobe Province rather than just in Lae. It was also agreed that the committee would comprise a President, Treasurer, Secretary and four general committee members. It was also proposed that Bart Philemon, then Member of Parliament with a history of playing the game, as well as being the Manager of the first PNG 7s team invited to the Hong Kong 7s, to be this new organization’s Patron. He was subsequently to agree. It was agreed that the organization was to have a tie which members would have to wear at all functions. Membership would be open to both sexes and membership fee would be K50 for individual and K150 for Corporate membership. I was tasked with writing the Constitution for SCRUM.
Then the name for this organization was discussed. We all had some thoughts and ideas about a name with Mike commenting that a name relating to Rugby would be a definite advantage. David Drake then dropped the perfect bombshell with the suggestion of the name being “SCRUM”-Supporters Club of Rugby Union in Morobe. So was born the name of the organization. The next meeting was scheduled for mid-October to finalize Constitution, Letterhead and Tie with a view to putting the “finished product” to a general meeting of interested persons by mid-November so that SCRUM would be up and running.
The next steering committee meeting was held on 27th October 1992 at Lae Yacht Club with David Drake being absent. I presented a draft of the constitution which was discussed with the outcome of a second draft being required after some minor changes. I was also to approach Martin Milner (he had a printing business) to arrange a mock up of a tie and letterhead for the next meeting.
At the next steering committee meeting (unknown date) the Constitution, Tie and letterhead were agreed to be put before a general meeting. This was called for the 30th November 1992 at the Lae International Hotel Boardroom. The agenda for this meeting was to be:
- Adoption of Constitution and By-laws
- Adoption of letterhead and tie/logo
- Election of office bearers
- General business
- Registration of Foundation members
Registration – Formalization
The meeting commenced at 1740 hours and there were twenty two in attendance as well as six apologies (*see below for list of names). In order the following were passed:
- Constitution-moved K McDonough 2nd Dr J Garap
- By laws-moved K McDonough 2nd D Drake
- Logo and letterhead-moved K McDonough 2nd M Quinn
- Election of office bearers-moved J Gerber 2nd K Hunt that the original steering committee be elected as official committee for the inaugural year:
- K McDonough – President
- C Black – Secretary
- D Drake – Treasurer
- M Quinn – member
- R Finall – member
- Patron-moved M Quinn 2nd Dr J Garap that Bart Philemon be offered the position for the inaugural year
- First function-proposed to be held in March 1993 in conjunction with the “A Team” function in Pt Moresby
- SCRUM address to be P.O. Box 1617 Lae.
Recognition must go to Lata Milner of Milner and Associates, Lawyers, who did all the necessary work to have the Organization and Constitution registered. The application for the Incorporation of the Association under the Associations Incorporation Act was made on 25th January 1993 and approved by the Registrar of Companies on 5th February 1993 and appeared in the Post Courier on Friday 26th March 1993 (if anyone looks up the Post Courier advert they will find an error indicating that the application was made on 25th January 1992. It should read 1993). All work done by Lata Milner was on a Pro Bono basis.
The next committee meeting was held at the Lae Yacht Club on 2nd February 1993. All office holders were in attendance. K McDonough gave updates on SCRUM activity since the commencement meeting and D Drake gave a list of Foundation and Corporate members as well as bank statement to the meeting. D Drake also advised that 90 plus application/information letters had been forwarded to prospective members. There was then general discussion regarding the proposed function on 18th March 1993 at the Lae International Hotel commencing noon.
Unknown – Earning Respect
It was proposed to obtain Phil Cass (who was to perform in Mt Hagen as well as an “A Team” function in Pt Moresby), magician, as entertainer and one or more Rugby ex- Wallabies as guests/speaker. It is interesting to note that the proposed budget for this function looked something like:
100 tickets x K100 = K10000
Expenses in Kina
Fee P Cass 2500
Air fares B Moon 200
Fee C Handy 500
Fee P Fitzsimons 500
Brendan Moon and Chris Handy were both ex Wallabies. Brendan at that time lived in Goroka and indicated willingness to attend the function. Chris lived in Australia. He was later to indicate that he was unable to attend. Brendan did attend a number of SCRUM lunches but not as a guest speaker. Chris Handy did subsequently attend as a very successful guest speaker on two occasions.
Proposed profit before auction proceeds K2000. The committee was also trying to source appropriate items for auction on the day. It was at this time (or another) that the comment was made that if we were able to make say K10000 each year to spend helping Rugby it would be a good result. With time this number was able to be exceeded many times over. If anyone had said this to the committee at the time we would have been most incredulous.
On the 16th February 1993 a meeting was held with representatives of MRFU. Present were K McDonough, M Quinn and D Drake from SCRUM and M Ione, J Lakora, C Gaunavou from MRFU. The purpose of this meeting was to give MRFU some detail as to what SCRUM was all about and also to seek from MRFU any ideas they might have that needed funding. MRFU representatives voiced the need for:
- the establishment of a permanent ground for union fixtures
- training equipment such as scrum machines and tackle bags
- assistance with the hosting of the Sri Lankan touring team in September (did not occur)
It was made clear to MRFU that any requests they had in the future needed to be made in writing to SCRUM and depending on available finances SCRUM would make the final decision whether to oblige or not. SCRUM was thanked and hope was expressed that a mutually beneficial relationship between MRFU and SCRUM would develop. Needless to say that relationship did develop.
The next SCRUM committee meeting was again held at the Lae Yacht Club on 23rd February 1993. At this meeting was the first mention of securing a Rugby ground (eventually finding a home at the Show grounds). Various matters including ties, attendees, travel arrangements and auction items were also discussed regarding the upcoming function. An interesting point was appointing Bob Finall in charge of sourcing a duck for the Phil Cass act. This was followed on the 25th February 1993 with a meeting between K McDonough, C Black and the manager of Lae International Hotel Guy Perotti (who later became a President of Scrum) regarding matters to do with the lunch. It should be noted here that the format of buffet lunch, free drinks for all attendees was established. This format continued. The Lae International Hotel also for this function offered accommodation and meals for the entertainer and speaker at no charge. This generous offer continued for many years after and hopefully continued to be the case.
The committee then met again on 2nd March 1993 to finalize arrangements for the function. Phil Cass was to arrive from Mt Hagen on 18th and by now further tying in with the “A Team” function in Pt Moresby Peter Fitzsimons was to be the guest speaker. Bob Finall also advised that sourcing a dove (not a duck) was in progress for the Cass act. Note at this point that the function was to be held on a Thursday so that it tied in with the function in Pt Moresby on the Friday. At the time of writing, this is the only time a SCRUM lunch was ever held on a Thursday and the only time SCRUM did not source Speakers and entertainers in its own right.
Just days before the function Peter Fitzsimons advised that because he was very busy doing the biography of Nick Farr-Jones (former Wallaby Captain) he would be able to travel to PNG to do the Pt Moresby function but would not be able to travel to Lae for the SCRUM lunch. The proverbial had hit the fan. We had already sold tickets.
With the very valuable assistance of Tony Shaw, himself an ex-Wallaby, we were able to make contact with Peter Fenton in Sydney. At such short notice (three days) Peter was most obliging and easy to talk to, and, despite the fact that he had just had work done on skin cancers on his face he readily agreed to come, and in fact, stayed at my house while in Lae. Apart from his Rugby credentials as a Rugby coach, poet and author, Peter actually worked in the film industry as an audio mixer. If when you read this you are able to look back at movie titles Peter was the re-recording mixer on the film “Russia House” which was very popular at the time of release starring Sean Connery, as well as other movies such as “Gallipoli” and “Phar Lap”.
So now all was set for the lunch with Peter Fenton as guest speaker and Phil Cass as the entertainer. To our great joy about 100 guests paid K100 a head to enjoy the lunch and drinks and a great time was had by all. Peter and Phil certainly set the benchmark for all future events. The financial records will show what was made from this lunch which by today’s standards was not very much but as the saying goes “from acorns do oak trees grow”.
Memories – Epilogue
SCRUM has continued the tradition of two lunches annually presenting the very best guest speakers and entertainers. Each function has generally eclipsed the previous with a great time had by all. The profitability of each lunch seems to be directly proportional to the level of “joy” experienced by our guests and special mention should be made of the effort at the auction and future auctions by the auctioneer Mike Quinn-an expert at extracting the highest possible bid per item.
Finally I would like to say that SCRUM was the result of ideas and talk, mostly by inebriates over a bar, but they were able to translate ideas to action and achieve marvelous results to the great benefit of Rugby not only in Morobe Province but also in PNG generally. I would have to agree with Mike Quinn’s comment and I quote “the SCRUM journey has been one of immense satisfaction, massive hangovers, unforgettable memories, and a hell of a lot of laughing and a totally incomparable experience”. I might also add “a totally unique organization in PNG and possibly the world”.
I hope this finds the reader, in whatever year this is read, still actively supporting SCRUM Inc and its aims.
Past President & SCRUM Legend
Written October 2011
*Attendees at the Inaugural SCRUM Inc meeting at the Lae International Hotel on 30th November 1992:
Garap Dr John
SCRUM IN PNG
There’s a team of Blokes in PNG who operate from Lae,
Where Expats run the business scene and clever men hold sway,
Among these men the Rugby Game has played a special part,
The joy that it has brought them keeps the sport close to their heart.
Way back in nineteen ninety-three; some sixteen years ago,
They realised they’d need a plan to somehow save the show,
With Rugby in a parlous state the game was on the wane,
They put their heads together lest it all go down the drain.
So Macka, Darkie, Bob Finall, Mike Quinn and David Drake,
Decided that the time was right to give the place a shake,
These five intrepid Rugby men took stock of what to do,
They tossed around some good ideas and innovation grew.
They formed a group and called it SCRUM the news spread far and wide,
Then organised a sporting lunch from which no man could hide,
They got themselves a Speaker and a man with special tricks,
And a hundred blokes attended from the cities and the sticks.
It really was outstanding how good men dipped in their pockets,
The bidding at the Auction caused some eyes to leave their sockets,
The well off blokes bid boldly like Sir Bob who sells the Kwila,
You couldn’t make such money if you sold a high class Sheila.
And twice a year from that time on SCRUM’s lunch has never faltered,
With numbers ever growing since the plan has never altered,
Fresh patrons come from Moresby and a host of other places,
And the money raised for Rugby brings a smile to young black faces.
The generosity of corporate firms has been a feature,
And the local merchant proves to be a most big hearted creature,
For well he knows the local boys will get to feel the pleasure,
That he enjoyed when he was young a joy to always treasure.
Now the most sporting of Speakers, who have come to entertain,
And have flown in from the mainland are all legends in the main,
Like Eric Rush and Nick Farr-Jones and the Skull and John O’Shea,
Mike Whitney, Ian Healy and the marvel Nugget May.
It’s a most amazing effort, take a bow men you deserve it,
As do others who continue to preserve it with their efforts,
If you see a four wheel flying and the driver waves a truncheon,
Just relax its Leadfoot Tynan and the Speakers for the Luncheon.
Full forty teams of Juniors now accept the Games demands,
And rep teams travel proudly to perform in other Lands,
The Lae folk celebrated loudly with success in Singapore,
Last year the under 16’s were the pride of Ballymore.
We trust that SCRUM continues with its very special cause,
And good Blokes will still contribute midst the fun and the applause,
The efforts of these Rugby men could not be overstated,
Even they must blink their eyes and wonder just what they’ve created.
By Peter Fenton 2008
SCRUM first Guest Speaker
Peter Boyd, Ian Waters, Wayne Uechtritz, Angus King, Wemin Kapia, Bryan Wareing, Barry Ajero, Richard Pomare, Tahuni Mararos.
Past SCRUM Presidents
Kerry Mac., Guy Perotti, Mark Tynan, Ben Frame, Daniel King, Angus King.