It is difficult to truncate the history of Grammar TEC Rugby, given there the number of clubs involved; Grammar Old Boys, Grafton, Cornwall, Teachers and Eastern.
Grafton was founded in 1873 and 10 years later with Ponsonby, North Shore and Auckland formed the Auckland Rugby Football Union. Next to come along was Grammar Old Boys in 1914.
Cornwall, originally named Technical College Old Boys, came to life in 1922. But it was renamed Cornwall in 1950 when the club was allocated a home ground at Cornwall Park.
Carlton is the name originally given to the merger of Cornwall and Grafton at the end of the 1982 season and the title of Grammar Carlton occurred when the amalgamation of Carlton and Grammar Old Boys occurred in 1996.
Both Technical Old Boys and Grammar Old Boys had their origins in leading schools of their eras. Grammar was made up of pupils of Auckland Grammar School, which was first situated in Symonds Street, while Technical Old Boys stemmed from the Seddon Memorial Technical College founded at the top of Wellesley Street East near the heart of the city and just a stones throw from the original AGS.
Grafton won its first championship in 1886 and until 1912 continued to be a major force at club level.
The hard times that prevailed up to the First World War, saw the demise of the club’s senior team. But in the immediate post war years it started a major rejuvenation of its fortunes.
From 1920 until 1935 Grafton won 13 Auckland Rugby championships at various levels including in 1934 the Gallaher Shield after two play-off matches against Manukau.
In 1942 the club moved their headquarters to Edwin Street in Mt Eden, which coincidentally had been named after a foundation member, Edwin Myers. The Second World War prompted a temporary amalgamation with Ponsonby due to Ponsonby’s Drill Hall headquarters being needed for the war effort.
Despite the loss of a large number of players during the war Grafton flourished until 1954 when it fell on hard times, which eventually led to the amalgamations that formed Cornwall.
Grammar Old Boys
On April 24, 1914 a meeting of 35 ex-Auckland Grammar School pupils in a classroom in Symonds Street formed the Auckland Grammar School Old Boys Club. The meeting had stemmed from the regular lunchtime gathering of former AGS pupils by the famous and well-used horse trough at the lower end of Victoria Street East.
In the 1920’s the club agreed to admit former pupils of Mt Albert Grammar which had been founded in 1922, and by 1927 Takapuna Grammar’s Old Boys also gained admittance.
It meant a change in the design of the original club badge, which had comprised the single heraldic lion of AGS. The new badge contained three similar lions. And on March 15, 1932, the name of the club was changed to Grammar Old Boys.
The first headquarters were established in Victoria Arcade in Shortland Street and it then moved to the Irvine Chambers in Queen Street. But by 1928 it had returned to its first headquarters in Shortland Street.
The first team practices were held in the Government House paddock next to the University in Symonds Street. The dressing sheds were contained with the armoury beneath the old Auckland Grammar School.
Over the years the club practised at Victoria Park, the Kingsland Drill Hall, in Parnell’s training sheds and at Ponsonby, Marist and Grafton’s headquarters.
In December 1950 Grammar Old Boys acquired a lease of a large tract of land from the Newmarket Borough Council. It was in Ayr Street, Parnell and was covered in gorse and blackberry. But working bees typical of the era soon cleared it and by 1953 the club had began building a new training shed.
The following year, despite the clubrooms not being completed teams began training there.
Six hundred members attended the official opening on October 2, 1954. And in 1965, when the property became freehold, the club was at last home.
Grammar Old Boys won its first senior championship in 1920 and two years later earned a unique place in Auckland’s rugby history by becoming the first winner of the coveted Gallaher Shield.
Many great All Blacks played for Grammar and Grafton over the years and there have been myriad administrators from all three clubs who have left an indelible mark on the game. A total of 40 All Blacks have represented the Clubs since Darby Ryan and Jack Lecky were selected in 1884. Other All Blacks include Frank Surman, Scobie MacKenzie, Dick McGregor, Harry Kiernan, James Maguire, Ces Badeley, Mark Nichols, Carl Ifwerson, Jim O’Brien, Vic Badeley, Bert Cooke, Lawrence Knight, Arthur Knight, Don Wright, Walter Batty, Merv Corner, Hugh McLean, Brian Killeen, Terry Lockington, John Dick, Fred Allen, Nev Thornton, Arthur Hughes, Jack Kelly, Percy Erceg, Mick Bremner, Wilson Whinneray, Kel Tremain, Bruce Gemmell, Lawrie Knight, Stu Conn, Tim Twigden, Gary Whetton, Alan Whetton, Ant Strachan, Adrian Cashmore and Charles Riechelmann, Derren Witcombe
Shortly after the foundation of Technical College Old Boys in 1922, the club amalgamated with the Post and Telegraph Rugby Football Club, which brought about a change of name to United. But by 1927 it had reverted back to its original name.
Between 1928 and 1935 the club won its fair share of trophies, including the Pollard Cup four times, the Thistle Cup, the Jubilee Trophy and the Silver Football, culminating in its 1935 success in the Gallaher Shield.
The move to Cornwall Park came in 1950 and the name change attracted new members from wealthier areas of the city, such as from Epsom and Greenlane. By 1956 it had established clubrooms and a floodlit training ground at Cornwall Park.
The new existing clubrooms were completed in the early 1980’s which coincided with the name change to Carlton Rugby Football Club.
The name Grammar Carlton endured from 1996 until 2013 with the amalgamation of Carlton and Grammar Old Boys.
As with many Auckland Rugby clubs, Teachers was not the original name chosen when the club formed in 1922. Originally named 'Training College', Teachers was formed to provide an athletic programme for young men training to be teachers. Home grounds were located in Parnell and then in 1926 a shift to the current College of Education site in Epsom was undertaken where facilities were shared with Auckland Normal Intermediate School.
Training College saw early playing success and played in the Senior A competition, however the number of new students started to fall away in the early 1930's due to the depression. 1937 through to 1941 saw a rebirth of the Training College Club as Auckland became home to the Physical Education department. Challenges through the next few decades saw a club fluctuating in numbers and success, until 1963 where Training College had 5 players in the Auckland squad.
Keeping players was the ultimate challenge for Training College and in the mid 1960's their hand was forced and a name change to Teachers was made along with the ethos to be 'an open club' welcoming anyone to become members. Throughout this period, Teachers did not have a home base until they purchased clubrooms in Parnell, but there were no adjacent playing fields. In the early 1980's Teachers entered into amalgamation talks with Eastern Suburbs Rugby Football Club and a full amalgamation was agreed to in 1985.
In 1943 a new club was established for boys in the Eastern Bays following on from discussions with Orakei and Tamaki groups. Eastern Suburbs officially entered into Auckland Rugby competitions with Cambridge blue as their main colour. The club purchased land in Orakei that is now the base of Grammar TEC Rugby and earlier Teachers Eastern Rugby.
Like Teachers, Eastern Suburbs enjoyed growth and success during the 1950's and 1960's which resulted in the current club house being built. Eastern Suburbs started to experience changing lifestyles and economic times as the traditional suburban life started to change. Like Teachers, retaining players became the biggest challenge with a perception that playing for more 'prestigious' Auckland Clubs was a better option for many young players. By the 1980's Eastern Suburbs had slipped into second division Rugby.
During the early to mid 1980's Eastern Rugby was approached by the Achillies Bridge Club and Parnell Cricket to 'join forces' at the Orakei club facilities. Concurrently, negotiations were progressing with Teachers and by 1985 the Orakei facilities had a multi-club use and the amalgamation became official. At this point the Eastern Sports Club was formed as the over-arching committee to manage the club facilities.
In 2010 Teachers Eastern celebrated 25 years as a club, officially recognised by the book 'Teachers Eastern: the first 25 years.'
Grafton Team, 1914