Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Former Wallaby an Ordinary Man Who Was Extraordinary on Field and in Life

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Former Wallaby an Ordinary Man Who Was Extraordinary on Field and in Life

Article excerpt

FABIAN Joseph Charles (Fabe) McCarthy was an ordinary man who did the ordinary things extraordinarily well.

When the marvels of medicine could not control "The Plague" which swept the world immediately after the First World War, the commonly held view in Australia was that the chances of catching the plague would be minimized by living in a hot, dry climate.

Adhering to this view Fabe's mother left the cool, moist district of Greenmount to stay with relatives in Roma, where Fabe was born on June 24, 1919.

Fabian inherited this characteristics of loving and protecting the family by following the example of his parents.

Notwithstanding many achievements in sport, farming, and citizenship he was, above all, a family man. He lived for them and his faith based on fundamental values.

He was humbly proud of his two sons - Rev Fr. Michael McCarthy, present Rector of The Holy Spirit Seminary in Brisbane; and one of Toowoomba's highly respected businessman Peter, and he was comforted in his last days by regular visits from them, his daughter-in-law Tasha, his grandchildren Louise and Tim, Iaian, Siobhan and his eyes lit up particularly when visited by his small great-grandchild Adelina, as well as friends.

A product of the depression he did not have the opportunity of higher education, leaving school after primary school at Greenmount State School - he and his wife, Rita, made sure their children had access to higher education.

He joined the brigade known as "the Strong Back Brigade" a term of praise given to those who developed a strong physique and a toughness from long hours spent on the farm using the pick and shovel, building farm sheds from moulded bush timber and throwing four bushel bags around as though they were only fairy floss and a fraction of their weight of 120 kilos.

This bred in him a strength, toughness and resilience which made him a feared and respected opponent on the rugby fields of Australia and New Zealand.

He developed an interest and keenness for contact sport while serving in the army in the Second World War and on his return had an appetite which could not be satisfied.

He played rugby union on Saturday and rugby league on Sunday - he was a fitness fanatic.

He gave of his all whether playing for the Wallabies, Queensland or the country league teams.

He won premierships with the GPS union club in Toowoomba as well as league premierships with Wanderers (Greenmount-Nobby) and Allora, often in the same year.

He toured New Zealand in 1949 as one of six Queenslanders with 19 from New South Wales.

The selectors were Ron Walden and Bill Cerrutti of New South Wales.

Only one Queenslander, Nev Cottrell, made the test teams.

A fellow Wallaby on tour John Fogarty told us that McCarthy should have been the first forward picked because the All Blacks feared him and he was adept at the hard going.

Fabe even preferred the backs to those loose forwards to whom he gave the name "Seagulls", as all they ever did was hover around and do little except be seen.

Fogarty said politics played the major part in the selections and you made the team not necessarily on ability but because you came from New South Wales.

The next year he represented Australia against the British Lions which was some consolation for the injustices of the 1949 tour.

The real personal success of the 1949 tour was the long standing friendship developed between Neil Betts, who attended the funeral, and Fabe. …

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