SAHOF Breaking News

7th Jan 2019

Vale John Thornett MBE Esteemed Member of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame


The Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) is mourning the passing of our esteemed Member and Wallabies Legend John Edward Thornett MBE who passed away at his home in Batemans Bay on Friday 4th January 2019, aged 83.

John was an inaugural Inductee into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1966, received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and in 2005 was honoured as one of the inaugural five inductees into the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame and in 2013 was added as an inductee to the International Rugby Hall of Fame.

Playing lock, flanker and both sides of the scrum as a prop, Thornett carved his reputation as one of the most versatile forwards in Australian rugby history and one of the most admired Skippers.

He captained Australia from 1962 to his retirement in 1967. An inspirational leader, John advocated hard but fair play, and his teams recorded famous wins over South Africa, England and New Zealand in the mid-60s.

SAHOF Chair John Bertrand AO said; "John, the previous captain of the Wallabies was arguably the most admired man ever to wear the Australian jersey and his influence on the sport was compared with that of Don Bradman's to cricket. Renowned for his leadership and sportsmanship, an inspiration to Rugby Union and a true gentleman admired by all.He will be dearly missed, and our thoughts are with the Thornett family."

John Thornett is survived by his wife Vivienne who was with him when he passed.



John Thornett MBE | Athlete Member (Rugby Union) | The Sport Australia Hall of Fame

30.03.1935 - 04.01.2019

Thornett debuted for NSW against Queensland in 1955, going on to make his Wallabies debut later that year, as flanker against the All Blacks.

The forward led Australia for the first time in 1962 and captained the country to its first major Test series win, beating South Africa in consecutive Tests for the first time in 1965.

He started in all of his 37 Tests and finished on 118 matches overall, just the second player at the time to play 100 matches for Australia behind Nicolas Shehadie.

Read John's full biography here: The Sport Australia Hall of Fame John Thornett MBE Biography

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When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his of her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.