Remembering the fallen... HN MacLaurin

Lt Colonel Henry Normand MacLaurin

Born in Sydney 31 October 1878

Killed at Gallipoli 27 April 1915.

 

MacLaurin is remembered at Gallipoli by a landmark called ‘MacLaurin’s Hill’.

He was a highly successful barrister, active in the militia forces when he enlisted on 15 August 1914, almost as soon as war was declared.

Tony  Cunneen, who has done invaluable research into lawyers’ service in the Great War, has written about the NSW legal profession:

         ‘While they were certainly members of what the historian Manning Clark called the ‘comfortable classes’ they were also willing to forgo the security and safety of that class and give all their support to the cause of national identity and honour on the battle fields on the other side of the world.’

MacLaurin played only two seasons for Sydney University CC.  In 1896-97, after scoring only 44 runs at 7.3 in 2nd Grade, he was inexplicably promoted to 1st Grade (1st Grade cap number 53) where he played another two games without distinction. In the season when the Club was readmitted on humbling terms to the Grade Competition in 1898-99,MacLaurin was selected in 1st Grade  twice more. An energetic 54 was followed by a non-descript 5 and he played no more.

His father, Sir Henry Normand MacLaurin (1835-1914), a Scotsman, was Chancellor of the University of Sydney from 1896 until his death. He was also President of the Legislative Council, the Upper House of the NSW Parliament. A dominant figure in conservative politics, he was nevertheless admirably open to fresh educational ideas, especially those brought forward by the NSW Labor Government of 1910 which related to the reform of the Senate of the University. His second son, named after his father, was educated at Blair Lodge School at Polmont in Scotland and then at Sydney Grammar School. Two other sons, Charles and Hugh both served in the War.

Charles was the father of Catherine who was in turn the mother of Alistair Mackerrass, Headmaster of Sydney Grammar from 1969 to 1989. 

After graduation BA in 1899 and admission to the NSW Bar,  MacLaurin carried on his work as a barrister from 11 Wentworth Chambers in Elizabeth St, specialising in accountancy. He also pursued a military career. Commissioned in the NSW Scottish Rifles in 1899, he eventually rose to command the 26th Infantry Regiment in July 1913. When he enlisted in the AIF, he was immediately appointed Lieutenant Colonel, commanding the 1st Infantry Brigade, a force of 4000 men. At 36 years of age, he was young for such responsibility but he wisely chose more experienced men to command battalions under him.

In a letter to  Justice David Ferguson (whose son, Arthur, a Law student who had also been to Sydney Grammar, was killed in France in 1916)  in March 1915, MacLaurin confided that rumours of the soldiers’ bad behaviour in Cairo had been exaggerated.

          ‘With 20,000 men it can be easily seen that some would play up for a bit while their money lasted…’

He stood up for his men, attacking those civilians who were ‘doubtful and dissatisfied and critical’. Their accounts were ‘false and malicious’. Although he was a stern disciplinarian, he had a fine reputation among his men who respected his energy and enthusiasm especially when they trained under him in Egypt.

When orders of the landing at Gallipoli came through, Mac Laurin was said to have ‘happily cancelled his leave and bounded smiling up the stairs to the General’s office to plan the attack.’ (Cunneen).

During the afternoon of 27 April 1915, at about 3.15 pm, MacLaurin ‘was standing on the slopes of the ridge that now bears his name… in the act of warning soldiers to keep under cover when he too was shot dead…MacLaurin was buried by his men where he fell.’ In 1919, he was reinterred at the 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery. He was posthumously promoted to Brigadier General.

He was the fifth of the 337 from Sydney Grammar who were  killed or who died in the War. An extraordinary 2172 ‘Old Sydneians’ enlisted. (I am indebted to Dr Philip Creagh who has carried out painstaking and forensic analysis of the Old Sydneians who enlisted). There was widespread grief among the legal profession. A ceremonial service was held at the Banco court and special mention was made in the minutes of the Bar Association.

He was the first of the Club’s former players to be killed.

CEW Bean, the Great War's preeminent historian, and the grandfather of Ted Le Couteur, a 1st Grader with the Club in the 1960s, wrote of him:

           ‘…a man of lofty ideals, direct, determined, with a certain inherited Scottish dourness…but an educated man of action of the finest type that the Australian universities produce.’

 

James Rodgers

It's Grand Final time

It's Grand Final time

After an enthralling round of semi-finals, Sydney University has advanced to the Grand Final in each of First, Second and Third Grade. All three University sides are unchanged from last week’s semi-finals.

First Grade

University meets Penrith in the grand final at Bankstown - the third time in as many seasons that the Students have appeared in a decider at Bankstown Oval. Penrith hasn’t reached the grand final since 2002-03, when they lost a gripping match at Hurstville Oval by only 15 runs to… Sydney University. University is aiming for its tenth First Grade premiership. Penrith, who only joined the competition in 1973-74 (when the club was known as Nepean) have won twice, in 1978-79 and 1982-83.

If you listen closely, you can hear a few grumbles from Sydney and UTS North Sydney, both of whom feel frustrated that their semi-finals were curtailed by the weather. But the competition rules favour the sides who finish highest after 15 rounds, and there’s no obvious injustice about the fact that first plays second in the grand final.

The form

The sides have already played each other four times this season. They last met in the qualifying final of the 50 over competition, in which University recorded a convincing win. In Round 12, University won outright: but it was a tight, low-scoring game in which 38 wickets fell while only 553 runs were scored. The clubs met twice in the T20 Cup, Penrith winning the Round 3 clash with over nine overs to spare, while University won almost as comfortably in the Conference Final.

Key men

Finals cricket is attritional: the ability to bat for a long time is vital. Damien Mortimer scored an unbeaten hundred in the limited-overs qualifying final against the Panthers, and University will be hoping that he can play a similarly controlled innings this weekend. Ryan McElduff has emerged as a vital component of the University side, and captain Liam Robertson plays a key role in the middle order. If the Bankstown pitch is as true as usual, then Devlin Malone’s leg breaks will play a critical part in the game. Tim Cummins is in excellent form behind the stumps, adds stability to the late-order batting, and no doubt has some handy insights into his former team-mates. Penrith captain, Ryan Smith, has led from the front all season, snaring 57 wickets across the three formats. After scoring two centuries in the first three games, Ryan Gibson has been a touch below his best form, but he’s the only batsman on either side with first-class experience, and his unbeaten 78 in the semi-final saved the game for Penrith. His will be the wicket University’s bowlers prize the most.

Second Grade

Sydney University has a home ground advantage against Parramatta, who reached the grand final y outplaying a strong Sydney side.

The form

This will be the first time the two sides meet this season.

Key players

Look for a special contribution from Steve Hobson, who has announced that this will be his last game for the club. His first was also against Parramatta (when he marked his debut by scoring 240). He was player of the match in the last grand final University’s Seconds won, four seasons ago. David Miller and Max Hope have made critical interventions with both bat and ball in recent weeks, while Ben Joy continues to demonstrate his knack for taking wickets at important moments. For Parramatta, Abishek Talwar has scored two hundreds in Seconds this year, and showed good form with 56 in the semi-final. Tim and Will Affleck add experience to the top order. Shane Cassel, who has played half a dozen First Grade games this season, is a former Australian Under-19 leg spinner and a genuine attacking threat.

Third Grade

Over the last few years, Sydney University and Easts have been consistently the two strongest sides in Third Grade, so it’s no surprise that they meet again in this year’s grand final at Coogee Oval.

The form

Inconclusive. The teams did play each other in Round Two, but after University reached 8 for 293 on the first day, rain washed out the second.

Key men

University looks strong in all departments of the game, with Jack Hill, Ben Larkin and Charles Litchfield forming a powerful top order, while Matt Moran usually demoralises Third Grade bowlers. Josh Toyer and Lewis McMahon use the new ball well, and Tom Kierath approaches the last game of a stellar career in phenomenal form - his last three matches have produced 5-19, 54 not out and 4-7. Experienced Easts captain Mark Morley has powered his side through the finals, following his 5-75 against Parramatta with 115 not out and 3-22 against Manly. He’s the leading run-scorer in Thirds this season, with 584 (Jack Hill and Charles Litchfield have also passed 500) and also has more wickets (37) than anyone else. Tom Gallop, Jack Remond, Will Lawrance and Jonathon Smith are other players in the Dolphins’ side with First Grade experience.

The Semi Final: History and Hope

The Semi Final: History and Hope

The spires of MacLaurin Hall tower over the University in the distance.

It’s a sultry March Sunday.

Kids no more than 12 years old, with shirts, on which  the University badge sits proudly, are kicking soccer balls on the Arena. Undergraduates of the future? Here is hope.

 A year ago, Sydney University CC met Sydney CC in the 1st Grade semi final on this same ground on the same weekend. A year ago, University won by 298 runs after batting well into Sunday, having faced almost 124 overs. That’s history but today, University again bats  into the 124th over.

The riches of history and the hopes of the future rhyme in  peaceful surrounds on a pulsating afternoon.

This time last year, Larkin, Cowan, Joy and Neil-Smith all played with distinction. Last year, Trevor-Jones, McElduff, Walker and Kershaw were all elsewhere. This time, they are all part of a hopeful side that struggles manfully throughout an innings that yields little more that 2 runs per over. Four batsmen each face 120 balls or more.

Last year, Sydney failed by 298 runs.

This year, they pepper the boundaries and beyond. 11 sixes clear the ropes and sometimes the fence. Until…20 to win. 9 balls to bowl. One wicket to take. It’s dark. It’s raining. Umpires intervene. No more play.

 But something gnaws away at me.

One year ago, the cricket world was turned upside down. Overnight, news had seeped through that Australian cricketers had been caught in a ball-tampering incident. The incident became a scandal. The scandal became a shame. This incident traduced the very values and traditions of a game which we love. There was a pall over the ground a year ago as we watched a more innocent version of our game that owes so much to those in whose history it treads.

So much of the future looked bleak.

So look up at MacLaurin Hall again.

This is the stuff of history.

Henry Normand MacLaurin is remembered at Gallipoli by a landmark called ‘MacLaurin’s Hill’.

But this is not the MacLaurin that the Hall is named after.

HN MacLaurin was a highly successful barrister, active in the militia forces when he enlisted on 15 August 1914, almost as soon as the Great War was declared. He had played  two seasons for Sydney University CC.  In 1896-97, after scoring only 44 runs at 7.3 in 2nd Grade, he was inexplicably promoted to 1st Grade (1st Grade cap number 53) where he played another two games without distinction. In the season when the Club was readmitted on humbling terms to the Grade Competition in 1898-99, MacLaurin was selected in 1st Grade  twice more. An energetic 54 was followed by a non-descript 5 and he played no more.

His father, Sir Henry Normand MacLaurin (1835-1914), a Scotsman, was Chancellor of the University of Sydney from 1896 until his death.  

The Hall that peers down on the cricket ground is named after the Chancellor.

His second son graduated BA in 1899 and was admitted to the NSW Bar. When he enlisted in the AIF, he was immediately appointed Lieutenant Colonel, commanding a force of 4000 men.

He stood up for his men, attacking those civilians who were ‘doubtful and dissatisfied and critical’. Their accounts were ‘false and malicious’. Although he was a stern disciplinarian, he had a fine reputation among his men who respected his energy and enthusiasm especially when they trained under him in Egypt.

When orders of the landing at Gallipoli came through, MacLaurin was said to have ‘happily cancelled his leave and bounded smiling up the stairs to the General’s office to plan the attack.’

During the afternoon of 27 April 1915, at about 3.15 pm, MacLaurin ‘was standing on the slopes of the ridge that now bears his name… in the act of warning soldiers to keep under cover when he too was shot dead…MacLaurin was buried by his men where he fell.’

He was the first of the Club’s former players to be killed.

That’s history. Our history.

But look up at MacLaurin Hall.

That’s his father who ruled the University with great vision.

And experience that old building standing sentinel while generations beneath it play this noble game.

The future is now bright.

The tidal wave rises up, where hope and history rhyme.

 

James Rodgers

The Students head for the semi-finals

The Students head for the semi-finals

Five Sydney University teams appear in the semi-finals this week, every one of them entering the contest with the advantage of having finished the regular season as minor premiers.

First Grade

First Grade takes on Sydney at University Oval. Last weekend’s heavy rain prevented any result from being reached in last week’s qualifying finals, so Sydney advanced to the semi-final after finishing fourth in the competition. University restricted Sutherland to 8 for 221 on a damp first day, the only play possible in its qualifying final. Four of those wickets fell to leg-spinner Devlin Malone, who has now 61 First Grade wickets this season.

Head to head: University had a comfortable win when the two sides met in Round 3. But Sydney prevailed in a last-over finish in the grand final of the 50-over competition two weeks ago.

Key players: With Nick Larkin returning to Sheffield Shield duty, University will be looking to the experience of Damien Mortimer and Liam Robertson to lead the way with the bat, while Ryan McElduff, in his first full season of First Grade, has played some very composed innings under pressure in the last few games. Nick Walker returns to the side in Larkin’s place. Devlin Malone is the most dangerous bowler on either side, but if the recent rain has left some moisture in the pitch, conditions could suit Tim Ley, who knows more about bowling in finals than anyone else. Sydney will be hoping that experienced opener Matt Rogers and newcomer Liam Scott can provide a good foundation with the bat, while Anthony Mosca - who scored a matchwinning hundred in the Limited Overs final, is a threat in the middle order and wicket-keeper Beau McClintock has been in dangerous form with the bat. The Sydney attack is led by former NSW opening bowler Nic Bills and off-spinner Ben Manenti.

Who will they play? Penrith plays UTS North Sydney in the other semi-final.

Second Grade

Seconds play Bankstown at their adopted home ground, Coogee Oval. Invited to bat on a lively pitch last week, Bankstown collapsed for only 90 against Sydney, but moved into the semi-finals anyway, after finishing fourth in the competition. University dismissed Penrith on the first day of its game, before rain cut short the chase.

Head to head: University beat Bankstown by 56 runs in a 50-over match in Round Nine. Nicky Craze (76) and James Larkin (57) set up a strong University total before Charlie Cassell (5-35) ran through Bankstown’s top order.

Key players: University’s side is full of players with plenty of finals experience - Ben Joy, David Miller and Steve Hobson have all been there many times before. Hobson, playing in his last season, has the ability to bat the opposition out of the game, and left-hander Nicky Craze can turn the course of a match in an hour. Bankstown’s Tony Clark may be the oldest man on the field by some distance, but he’s one of the few players to take 1000 wickets in Premier Cricket, and will bowl his medium pace shrewdly (while allowing time for his son, Ryan, to send down a few overs as well). Zeeshaan Ahmed, Joel Brockley and Mitchell Hinds have batted consistently all season.

Who will they play? Parramatta plays Sydney in the other semi-final.

Third Grade

Third Grade also plays Bankstown, at St Paul’s. An early University collapse to Northern District in the qualifying final was salvaged by a defiant partnership between wicket-keeper Hayden Storey (64) and veteran all-rounder Tom Kierath (54 not out), which enabled their side to hold its top seeding for the semi-final. University will face a Bankstown side that batted doggedly against Manly in a drawn qualifier last weekend.

Head to head: University won the Round Nine encounter at Jensen Park by 54 runs in a 50-over game. But the leading batsmen from that game, Alex Shaw (84) and AJ Grant (86) won’t be in the side this weekend.

Key players: University’s attack is balanced and aggressive: in the last third of the season, seamers Josh Toyer, Murray Watts and Lewis McMahon and spinners Tom Kierath and Will Masojada have all recorded striking returns. The batting has lots of experience, with Jack Hill, Ben Larkin and Charles Litchfield at the top of the order, while Matt Moran has a phenomenal record in Thirds and the ability to score big hundreds. Tom Kierath is retiring at the end of this season, and this will be his 53rd finals match in a remarkable career for the club. Solid batting has been the key to Bankstown’s success this season. Daniel Hayes, Mansukh Singh and Cameron Cotter provide a stable top order, and captain Iain Ridley adds experience.

Who will they play? Easts play Manly in the other semi-final.

Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade meets Manly-Warringah at Tunks Park. University fought out an even day’s cricket against Penrith last weekend, before rain ended the game at an interesting stage. Penrith was contained to 9 for 194 even though former Sheffield Shield batsman Kevin Geyer hammered a century. University now faces Manly-Warringah, whose bowlers enjoyed favourable conditions to reduce Eastern Suburbs to 7 for 85 before further play became impossible.

Head to head: University won a low-scoring 50-over game after routing Manly for only 81. But it would be wrong to read much into that, because that was in Round One. Only two University players remain in the side from that game.

Key players: Captain Ash Cowan needs only 16 runs to become University’s highest run-scorer in Fourth Grade, and seems to save his best for the finals. Ed Arnott adds experience and composure to the side, while the attack - Brodie Frost, Jazz Rinka, Aidan Peek and Jack Lawson - troubles most opponents. Manly’s young batsman Joel Davies has had a quiet season in Fourths, but was sensational in Green Shield and has tons of promise. Captain Adam Gummer has a strong all-round season, averaging just under 30 with the bat and 11 with the ball.

Who will they play? St George and Easts play the other semi-final.

Metropolitan Cup

After weekend washouts, University now travels to Chatswood Oval to play Gordon. Both sides will appreciate the opportunity to play at a First Grade venue.

Head to head: There’s no form to go on - rain prevented play when the two sides were due to meet in Round 13.

Key players: In a side that generally bowls better than it bats, University’s Azhar Saeed has been consistent at the top of the order. Matthew Johns and Max Shanahan lead a very effective attack. For Gordon, Green Shield batsman Jaiden Grey has scored consistently all season. Opening bowler Callum Braden has taken his 20 wickets at the ridiculous average of 4.80, including a burst of 4-8 against Mosman.

Who will they play? Penrith and Warringah play in the other semi-final.