A Brief History of the Queensland Rugby League Wide Bay Division

Wide Bay Rugby League State Champions 1966

Wide Bay State Champions 1966


Bundaberg – A Major Factor in Establishing Rugby League in Australia – 1908-1909

The city of Bundaberg was a major contributor to the establishment of rugby league in Australia. Between 1908 and 1909, five Bundaberg players were chosen to represent both Queensland and Australia.

Bill Heidke (centre/half-back/winger) and Mick Bolewski (full-back/winger) were members of the first Queensland team to beat a touring party – the visiting Maori team in a game played in Brisbane at the Exhibition Ground in early July, 1908.

Later in July, Mick played three games and Bill played two for Queensland in the inaugural interstate series against NSW, with all three games played in Sydney. They were then two out of the four Queenslanders chosen for the first Kangaroo Tour in 1908-09, with both of them making their Test debuts in England.

Artie Harvey (front-row), Doug McGregor (full-back), and Harry Heidke (half-back, Bill’s brother) all started playing for Queensland in 1909. Artie and Doug played for the Maroons against New Zealand at the ’Gabba (with Bill Heidke as captain).

Shortly after, eight Queenslanders, including Doug and Bill, were chosen to play for Australia against New Zealand at the same venue, where Australia triumphed 10-5. Artie, Doug, Harry and Bill were four of the 10 Queenslanders picked to play for Australia against the Maori team on August 14th. Bill had the honour of being the first Queenslander to captain his country in that game, and Australia won 16-13.

Courier-Mail Queensland Champions – Wide Bay, 1966

The Courier-Mail Queensland Championship was a competition between the six Queensland leagues: Toowoomba, Ipswich, Brisbane, Wide Bay, Central Queensland and North Queensland. The prize was £500 and a pennant, with the players on the winning team each receiving a replica pennant.

To become 1966 State Champions, Wide Bay defeated:

Central Queensland (who had beaten the touring Great Britain side that year, 10-5)

North Queensland (who had won the three previous State Championships)

Ipswich (who were the reigning Bulimba Cup Champions)


Championship Game Final Score: Wide Bay 50 vs Ipswich 8

Wide Bay Championship Winning Team

Full-back: J Lingard

Winger: R Reynolds

Centre: R Brosnan

Centre: D Eggmolesse

Winger: L Duggan

Five-eighth: M Bailey

Half-back: C Reynolds

Lock: C Weiss

Second-row: I Dent

Second-row: D Nixon (captain)

Front-row: A Guerassimoff

Hooker: N Gallagher

Front-row: D Brady