Photo: Sir Nicholas Shehadie with a photo of his 1949 team. (ABC News: Nicole Chettle)
Wallabies great and architect of first Rugby World Cup, Sir Nicholas Shehadie, dies
12 Feb 2018,
(Translation appears in Arabic section)
One of the architects of the inaugural Rugby World Cup, Wallabies great Sir Nicholas Shehadie, has died in Sydney aged 91.
Sir Nicholas was the husband of former NSW governor Dame Marie Bashir, who held the position between 2001 and 2014.
He represented Australia 114 times before moving into the administration of the game.
Sir Nicholas retired from the board of the Australian Rugby Union after the 1987 World Cup, and was made a life member.
Photo: Sir Nicholas Shehadie with his wife Dame Marie Bashir who was NSW governor from 2001 until 2014. (AAP: Tracey Nearmy)
He was inducted into the Rugby Union Hall of Fame and the IRB Hall of Fame.
He also served as Lord Mayor of Sydney from 1973 to 1975.
In 2015, Sir Nicholas spoke of the opportunities that rugby gave him as a boy growing up in Redfern.
"I've been lucky, coming from a family in the days of the depression when things were tough," he said.
"I've got to say that rugby opened many doors for me."
A number of prominent figures including Tony Abbott, and Sydney radio host and former rugby union coach Alan Jones, paid tribute to Sir Nicholas on social media.
Mr Abbott tweeted: "Sir Nicholas Shehadie improved everything he was involved with. He improved rugby as Wallaby captain, improved our city as lord mayor and even managed to improve SBS as its chairman.
"He radiated warmth and was perfectly at home in a boardroom or a bar."
State funeral offered
In a statement, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian offered her heartfelt condolences to the family of Sir Nicholas.
Photo: A photo of the Australian rugby union team in 1949, including Nicholas Shehadie (middle row, third from left). (ABC News: Nicole Chettle)
"On behalf of the people of NSW, I extend my deepest sympathies to Sir Nicholas's wife Dame Marie Bashir and his entire family," the Premier said.
"Sir Nicholas contributed so much to NSW across public life, sport, media and the community and will be deeply missed."
The statement said he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1971, served as lord mayor of Sydney, and was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1976.
In 1990, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for his service to sport, media and to the community.
Sir Nicholas was the chairman of SBS from 1981 to 1999, as well as chairman of TAFE and the Migrant Employment and Qualification Board.
Photo: Nicholas Shehadie was an inaugural inductee into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985. (Supplied: Sport Australia Hall of Fame)
He was chairman of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust from 1990 to 2001.
"Above all else Sir Nicholas was an inspiring, caring and compassionate person and was held in such high affection by so many across the State and nation, including myself," Ms Berejiklian said.
The NSW Government is offering his family a state funeral.
Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand said Sir Nicholas was a great Australian on many levels.
"An inspiration to Rugby Union and the broader sport community. He will be dearly missed and our thoughts are with the Shehadie family," he said in a statement.
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said Sir Nicholas left a great legacy to Australian sport.
AOC president John Coates said it was a sad day for rugby union, sport and many institutions beyond.
"Nick was a giant in every sense whose rugged demeanour on the field was matched by his gentlemanly bearing off it," he said.
"He was also a visionary whose long association with the Olympic movement dated back to his time as Sydney Lord Mayor when he proposed a bid for Sydney to host the Olympic Games of 1988."
...With Prince William and wife Dame Marie Bashir