Contents | ESTABLISHMENT
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Greg Shannon for the Club History pages.
The game we know as Rugby League originated in Northern England during 1895 as a break away code from the well established Rugby Union.
Official club competitions were established in Sydney in 1908 and in Brisbane one year later.
Many Rugby Union players then decided to play Rugby League, including most of the 1907 Australian Rugby Union team, including Captain Herbert 'Dally' Messenger.
At this time Rugby Union was strong in North and Central Queensland, especially in mining towns like Charters Towers and Mount Morgan.
Both centres boasted large Rugby Union club competitions and a number of Queensland and Australian representatives.
Other northern centres such as Townsville, Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton also had Rugby Union club competitions and many players from these areas switched to Rugby League when the chance arose.
Rugby League was embraced in North Queensland for the same reasons influencing its adoption in Northern England, Sydney and Brisbane.
Most players worked in physically demanding jobs so injuries sustained playing Rugby Union meant medical expenses and possible job loss or loss of income.
The North's cane cutters, mill workers, miners, and stockmen embraced Rugby League largely because of access to medical support and insurance.
By 1914 the first official Northern Rugby League club competition was established in Townsville, and by the 1920s, Rugby League was the dominant winter sport for all Northern centres.
The relative strength and success of sport in a region can be measured by several factors including the number of registered players, general popularity of the game within community and business worlds, and the number of representative players to emerge from clubs.
The influence the game has in a society, where clubs and towns develope strong identities through their teams' performances, is a measure of the importance of the game.
In all these aspects, Rugby League in North Queensland has been enormously successful for a long time, playing a vital role in the identity of the region.