Nicholas Shehadie was one of the all-time great prop forwards and was an institution in the Australian rugby union team for a decade. He represented his country in more than 100 games and played 30 Tests (a record at the time), three as captain, between 1947 and 1958. Shehadie has been involved with distinction in almost every facet of rugby union.
Shehadie played his first international against the New Zealand All Blacks as a second rower in 1947 and first toured the British Isles in 1947/48 as a 20 year old. He went on to play against the New Zealand Maoris and New Zealand in 1949, the British Lions in 1950, New Zealand again in 1951, Fiji in 1952 and 1954, and on tours to New Zealand and South Africa. He captained the team in South Africa and against Fiji in 1954.
One of his greatest honours was being the first player invited to appear against his own teammates for the Barbarians, during the Wallaby tour of Britain in 1957/58. After a magnificent match which the Barbarians won 11-6, spectators chaired Shehadie and Australian captain Bob Davidson from the field.
He also captained New South Wales and Randwick, where he played 175 first-grade games.
After his playing career, Shehadie went on to become a first grade referee, then a respected and authoritive administrator, becoming Executive Chairman of the NSW Rugby Union in 1979 and then President of the Australian Rugby Football Union in 1980. He managed the 1981/82 Wallabies on their British Isles tour and Australian teams to the Hong Kong sevens. Off the field, he was the thirty-third Lord Mayor of Sydney, elected in 1973.
His greatest legacy may well be the Rugby World Cup, now the third biggest sporting event in the world, for which he was a driving force.
Honours & Awards
Shehadie was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service to local government in 1971
Appointed a Knight Bachelor (1976) for his services as Sydney’s Lord Mayor between 1973 and 1975
Inducted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985
Made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his service to sport, media, and to the community in 1990
Inducted into the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame in 2006
Inducted into the International Rugby Union Hall of Fame in 2011