Passing of Dr. Howard Hickey

It is with much sadness that we announce that Red Heavies stalwart Dr. Howard Hickey has passed away.

Born in the Northern cane town of Babinda on the 1 September 1930, he was educated at All Souls in Charters Towers.

The son of a Judge, he went on to study Medicine at the University of Queensland in 1950 to stay at Union College founded by his uncle Max Hickey who was a warden of the college as well as Professor of Anatomy at the University.

He received his Blue for Rugby in 1951 after playing for Queensland on the wing.

His highest representative achievement was to play for Australian Universities and for Queensland in 1951 season and again in 1955.

He was drafted into the Queensland side when fellow University winger, Ian Brusasco was unavailable to play due to influenza.

Graduating from Medicine in 1957, he continued to play for the Club until 1959.

However, the Sydney Morning Herald gave Howard a great wrap suggesting that he might be selected in the Australian team. The article read: “Howard Hickey, aged 20, winger, who has courage, initiative, a deceptive swerve, change of pace and sidestep. If given the opportunity to play with a top-class three-quarter line, Hickey seems more likely to- score tries than any other winger in the game.”

Howard recounted that when playing for University, training sessions took place at Victoria Park that then had no lights. Training generally had to start before 5 pm because training would have been impossible after dark.

An extremely quick winger, Howard holds the Club record for the number of tries scored in a First Grade match on 28 June 1952 V New Farm with seven. 

According to Howard, most of the team had been to the University commemorative ball the night previously and the forwards feeling the worse for wear decided to let the backs have their day against then First Grade side New Farm.

Howard recalls scoring the 7 tries but remembers equally as well the three “chucks” (vomits) that went with it.

The records of games indicate he scored over 66 tries on the results of games that are available with 1952 being his best year scoring 21 tries. On 6 August 1950 V Police he scored 5 tries and completed a hat trick of tries three times in his time with University. 

Howard played in the heyday of the club in the fifties. Playing in nine (9) Grand Finals, he ended up with 6 premierships including four in a row – 1954 under coach Col Erickson and three with his favourite coach Ferg Wilson 1955-57.

Howard spent considerable years out ‘bush’ moving to Roma from 1961‑1985. During his time in Roma, a stronghold of Rugby League, Dr Hickey started off the town’s first rugby union club. He was the president of the club in its initial year.

Returning to Brisbane to work with as a medical officer with the Health Department, he never to forget his old Club, he assisted for years as a Coach of the Colts teams in the 80s and has assisted the club ever since.

Howard is a Foundation Life member of the Club.