Caveats, Icons and Monuments - Don McIntosh
Perhaps a caveat might be registered against the property situated at 51 Randwick Crescent as an historic place, for it was in a front room in that house where a notable Petone All Black was born on April Fools Day, 1931.
Donald Neil McIntosh established a wonderful record during his rugby career. Over eleven seasons he represented Wellington on 120 occasions and was selected for the All Blacks during the years 1956 – 57.
A tall loose forward of impressive physique, he was rugged, constructive in the open phases of a game and also excelled as a fiery rucker and reliable ball winner in lineouts.
The McIntosh family moved to Featherston when Don was of primary school age. His father took a job working a on a large sheep and cattle station and Don played his first rugby from here.
Upon leaving school in 1949 he moved back to the Hutt Valley looking for work and took up employment at the Griffins factory, intending to play for the Hutt club.
However a workmate persuaded him to attend the A.G.M. of the Petone R.F.C. and as a result he joined. He was selected for the senior second team eventually making the Wellington senior second division representatives.
Not only that, he forced his way into the Petone senior team for the final three matches of the 1950 season. As a result, Norm Haddy was dropped – Don recalls that Norm was far from pleased with the turn of events! Norm of course served the club for many years as Club Captain, Chairman of the Management Committee and became a Life Member and a long term Wellington Union member.
The 1951 season was barely underway when Don was selected to play in the May All Black trials staged to help choose the team to tour Australia. This was a rare elevation to that level as Don was yet to play for his province – he later won selection and appeared for Wellington in every match.
The following year his impressive play was recognised by his inclusion in the North Island side for the annual encounter with South at Dunedin, sadly a fixture dropped from the rugby calendar some years ago.
A highlight during 1953 was Wellington’s success in defeating Waikato in a Ranfurly Shield challenge and again, Don’s form was such to warrant a trial for the All Blacks 36 match tour of the Northern Hemisphere.
He missed selection but was honoured with inclusion for a New Zealand.XV which played the All Blacks upon their return home during 1954.
His career had by now, certainly blossomed because the 1956 season saw Don achieve quite a unique record.
He had by now captained Wellington since the 1954 Southern Tour and became a leading contender for All Black selection to contest the test series against the touring Sprinboks, a test series well-remembered for the frenzied public reaction it attracted.
Don won selection for the first test at Dunedin, a hard-fought match which was won narrowly and also appeared in the bitter second match at Wellington, narrowly lost. In fact the series was a first ever victory for New Zealand over South Africa and Don had certainly played a part.
However, in addition he had captained his Petone side to Jubilee Cup success as he did for Wellington when the Ranfurly Shield challenge against the holders Canterbury, was won.
Quite a year winning All Black honours and having such an influence in the success of both his club and province. Equally unique for the Petone club that another player was to emulate Don’s record in later years – Andy Leslie was, in 1974 to captain Petone to Jubilee Cup victory, Wellington to Ranfurly Shield success and also achieve All Black selection and as captain no less!
Don McIntosh toured Australia with the All Blacks during 1957, playing in eleven of the thirteen matches and regaining his place in the tests.
From thereon he restricted his first class appearances playing in every game for Wellington until he announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 1960 season.
He eventually returned to Featherston during 1964 after coaching lower grade Petone teams, to take up a management position on the very sheep and cattle run where he lived during his childhood.
In later years a back injury forced his retirement and he transferred to Hawera as a Stock & Station Agent before finally he and his wife Joy retired to live at Levin. Sadly, Joy passed away recently.
These days Don is preoccupied with the sport of lawn bowls.
He is a regular attendee at the club’s P.O.F.F evenings and as our senior surviving All Black, never refuses a request to make a “wind-up” speech of the evening.
The respect and affection Don has earned is epitomized by the fact that when he speaks, one could hear a pin drop. A great compliment to a wonderful man.
Yes, a monument should be installed at 51 Randwick Crescent to perpetuate for eternity the name, Donald Neil McIntosh, Petone All Black!