Remembering Maurie “Barber” Hanley

Bede Ryan remembers Maurie Hanley (front right).
Bede Ryan remembers Maurie Hanley (front right).

Maurie "Barber" Hanley 23.10.1932 – 18.02.2017

The Eulogy for the Funeral of Maurice Hanley at St Mary’s Catholic Church,Young, was very well compiled by Maurie and Isabelle's daughter Melissa Forbutt and delivered by his life long friend, John Hobson, began with the anecdotal story when Maurie decided to sell his Barber Business in Brial Street in 1955 and return to Young.

Maurie advertised his business in the Barber Circular magazine, when he was fronted with a little problem.

In response his intended buyer, said he would come to Boorowa next Wednesday to check out the shop and patronage.

Thus Maurie realised the mid-week business is always slow.

But being popular with his football mates they were lining out the door in numbers waiting for a haircut.

The potential buyer arriving on the Wednesday was very impressed.

Maurie got his sale.

The story of Maurie Hanley's connection to Boorowa, begins with his good mate, Joe Barton, Maurie just finished his apprenticeship as a barber and was keen to go alone in his own business.

Thus Joe encouraged Maurie to come to Boorowa as he knew of a vacant shop, next to Moses’ Menswear (Wentworth House) in Brial Street, and also the Boorowa Rugby League club with George Quilky and Herb Smith as President and Secretary were in negotiations rebuilding the player personnel with imported players from South Sydney, with Ernie Hammerton as coach plus Bryan Orrock ,Stan Wenham and Billy Batley. Joe knew that Maurie Hanley loved his Rugby League and he had good potential as a forward and would be a regular first grader for Boorowa.

Such as the case in 1953, Maurie and Joe were members of the victorious Maher Cup win over Cowra, and again in 1954, Maurie was named Man of the Match Maher Cup big win over the top Group 9 Team Temora Club.

For me personally I first met Maurie Hanley before Christmas 1952 when Maurie arrived at my parents’ Home in Neilson Street, I was still attending the Convent School.

My mother's sister, Mary, who was the Manageress of the Great Southern Hotel knew the Hanley Family, advised Maurie to call and introduce himself to my mother and she could find him private board in Boorowa.

Thus Maurie's first night in Boorowa he shared my bedroom with me.

If it was 18 months later he could have had permanent Board with my parents as I was off to boarding college at Bathurst.

Thus board was found for Maurie at Mrs Corcoran’s in Brial Street, who already had the two Murringo Brothers, Nev and Tony O’Connor boarding there.

Maurie Hanley became very popular and revered citizen and his barber business gave him a steady income.

He was very popular and loyal rugby league player, representing Boorowa with vigour and pride.

Maurie liked telling the story that as a 21-year-old he was prop forward for a future international hooker, Ernie Hammerton. 

With the forthcoming Boorowa Rugby League reunion late September 2017, reminds me how excited and enthusiastic, Maurie use to become and returning to Boorowa for these reunions be it be Maher Cup or general league reunions.

Even when I was still living in Sydney in the 1960’s and 1970’s Maurie used to leave a message with my relatives that there is a Reunion coming up in Boorowa and if I was available and be visiting Young and could I take him and Isabelle to Boorowa.

He knew my enthusiasm was keen as his, but I suppose his hidden agenda, I would be the driver after the event at the Services Club.

Those who knew and close to Maurie, he could be prickly but at the same time be amusing.

But as we of Boorowa got to know Maurie, loved him for his straight forwardness, his dry humour, thus with his passing, his immediate family, Isabelle, Murray and Melissa and families and those close to him from Boorowa and Young will for a long time feel the emptiness for years to come.

Maurie’s former teammates who are still walking this planet: Joe Barton, Jack Regan, his C.B.C. classmate Pete Powderly, Don Glover, Bruce Weissel, Adrian Sykes, Kevin Lawler, Barry Rex, Johnny McGrath and his good mate Dougie Cameron, will remember Maurie for his 100% competitiveness, played as lightweight forward playing above his weight.

His acceptance in defeat (at times) and modesty in triumph.

The description with "modesty in triumph”, Maurie told me the story, “when Boorowa the underdogs were triumphant over Temora in the 1954 Maher Cup win, he celebrated victory for three weeks and still managed to keep the barber shop open at the same time as the Royal Standard was opposite his shop a customer would find me there" and the story continues, "I was at the bar on the Monday following the win over Temora on the Saturday, when the Phone rang at the bar, looking around the barman was not insight, I answered the phone. On the other end was the Sports Editor from the Wagga Daily Advertiser, wanting to speak with the Manager or Committee Person from the Boorowa Rugby League Club.”

Maurie immediately thought, “this is my chance. Thus I answered you are speaking to him. The Editor asked the question, “Could you comment on the unexpected win over the leading Group 9 Team Temora in the Maher Cup Challenge last Saturday?

Without any hesitation Maurie said, "It was the Forwards who won the game for Boorowa, especially the lightweight forwards, Stan Wenham and Maurice Hanley who played their best game of the season".

With that Epilogue, we remember Maurie who adopted Boorowa as his home like a Boorowa-ite, as he loved his time in Boorowa, winning the Maher Cup three times, making many close friends.

Thus revered as a footballer and close friend to those of us lucky enough to know him.

A loyal and loving husband to Isabelle. Father to Murray and Melissa and grandfather.

We miss you Maurie.