At the 2021 Rugby Victoria Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at AAMI Park last month, Victorian Rugby stalwart, Mr Tim North QC was bestowed with Life Membership of our Union.
Rugby Victoria Life Membership is an honour to recognise individuals whose untiring, meritorious service and contribution has a provided immeasurable benefit to Victorian Rugby.
Tim began his tenure on the then Victorian Rugby Union (VRU) Board in 2006 before becoming President in 2010. Tim went on to hold the Presidency for 5 consecutive two-year terms; a time in which he also provided invaluable counsel to the Melbourne Rebels, having also been a Board Member at various times over the decade and continuously since 2017.
During Tim’s period on the board of Rugby Victoria, he led efforts to increase diversity and inclusiveness. This has included gender parity on the Rugby Victoria Board, as well as a formal partnership with Disability Sport and Recreation (Wheelchair Rugby), Pride in Sport and advocating for our diverse Rugby community which 68% of our club playing membership come from Polynesian heritage throughout his incumbency.
Despite wearing many different hats over the past 14 years, Tim was most passionate about assisting others in our community which sees him hold a Director position of the Weary Dunlop Rugby Foundation Limited since 2012. The Weary Dunlop Foundation aims to support young men and women with funding in order to assist in the pursuit of education alongside rugby.
Throughout his Presidency, Tim worked tirelessly to promote the growth of the game of Rugby Union in Victoria. At the time of his departure from the role, his leadership had overseen the following milestones;
- 108% growth in total participation since 2011.
- 20,000 total participation, 35% female playing base
- One home grown Wallaby to advance through the Rugby Victoria/Melbourne Rebels Pathway (Jordan Uelese)
- Three home grown Wallaroos (Georgia Cormick, Ash Masters and Alice Tonumaivao)
- Eleven players have progressed through Rugby Victoria’s Elite Pathways to become contracted players with the Melbourne Rebels.
Tim also championed the development and roll out of Rugby Victoria’s ‘Quilt Program’; an educational and athletic participation program that uses sport as the vehicle to prevent violence against women and children and aims to ensure that both women and children are not only safe, but respected and treated as equals. The Quilt Program includes initiatives that address the drivers of gender inequality as outlined in Change the Story, Australia’s national framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children. The program celebrates its 3rd year in 2021.
Tim was able to provide a voice for Victorian rugby on the national stage, a feat no president has managed before him. This saw him bring about some much-needed changes to the governance and constitution of Rugby Australia over the past decade. Whilst at the helm of the Union, he freely provided his legal expertise and persuasive personality to proactively engage with a wide range of stakeholders in community rugby across the country, which has helped to ensure that Rugby Australia is more focussed than ever on states and territories outside of NSW and Queensland.
On Tim’s bestowal, Rugby Victoria CEO Chris Evans said “Tim has been a loyal, passionate and successful servant of our game for many, many years. During his tenure, his ubiquitous influence was felt by all members of the Victorian and Australian rugby community. We thank Tim for his immense contributions to our great game and congratulate him on this richly deserved honour of Life Membership.”
Current President Neil Hay thanks Tim for his tireless efforts in the role.
“Tim led us through challenging times and due to his unwavering leadership, we are in the strong position that we are in today, both corporately and financially.”
"He instilled great professionalism, drive and commitment in our game and his legacy will live on well into the future. On behalf of the Union and the Board, we thank Tim once more and congratulate him on his rightfully earned life membership achievement.”
Tim joins a small but esteemed group of 17 life members which includes Lyndsey Cattermole, Gary Gray and Bob Dalziel.