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2011ArticlesCadetCauseDeceased PoliceFormer PoliceFuneralGenderHeart attackIllnessIncompleteLocationMaleNoNSWOf Church servicePhotosStateUnknownVideoWall of RemembranceYear

Richard Norman THORNETT


Richard Norman THORNETT

AKA  Dick

Late of Milthorpe, formerly of Bronte, NSW

NSW Redfern / Penrith Police Academy Class #  065

NSW Police Cadet # 1429

New South Wales Police Force

Regd. #  ????

Rank:  Commenced NSW Police Cadet training – 28 January 1958

Probationary Constable – appointed around     November 1959


Final Rank = ?

Stations?, Darlinghurst, NSW Police Water Polo Team, 1960 Rome Olympian Water Polo Team, Randwick 1st grade NRL, 1961 Wallabie for the 2nd Test against Fiji, – Resigned

Service:  From 28 January 1958  to ? ? 1965 ( Resigned )7 years Service

Awards: No Find on Australian Honours

Born: Monday 23 September 1940

Died on: Saturday 12 October 2011

Age: 79yrs  19days

Cause: ? possibly heart issue

Event location: ?

Event date: ?

Funeral date: 18 October 2011 @ noon

Funeral location: All Saints, 85 Ocean St, Woollahra, NSW

Wake location: ?

Funeral Parlour: ?

Buried at: ?

Memorial located at: ?

Richard Norman THORNETT


DICK is NOT mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance  *NEED MORE INFO



May they forever Rest In Peace


23rd September 1940 – 12th October 2011
Randwick Hall of Fame Inductee 2010


A tribute to Dick Thornett

Posted by Steve John on Friday, 7 February 2014



Australian Rugby mourns the passing of Dick Thornett

Australian Rugby Union is today mourning the loss of tri-international Dick Thornett, who passed away on Wednesday morning.

One of three brothers, Dick first sprung onto the international sporting scene in 1960 with the Australian Olympic water polo team, before switching to Rugby in 1961 where his rapid rise through club, state and into the national team was as fast as they come.

After impressing with Randwick he was given a start with NSW and after a strong showing against Fiji joined his brother John in the Test pack for the three Test series against the Pacific Island nation.

His debut against Fiji in 1961 was the start of his career with the Wallabies, which lasted until the end of the 1963 season when he decided to switch codes and excel at rugby league.

In a career that included 11 consecutive Tests and 11 tour matches, Thornett was never dropped from a Wallabies side and is considered to be one of the most extravagantly gifted sportsmen Australia has produced in the last 50 years.

ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill AO, said Thornett would always be remembered for his deeds in both Rugby codes.

“There could be no greater tribute to a Rugby forward than to have former All Blacks great Colin Meads describe you as one of the finest second rowers he ever opposed,” Mr O’Neill said.

Dick Thornett was paid that honour after playing against Meads in 1962.

Dick Thornett played his 11 Tests across only a short period of time but his impact was enormous. He was a ferocious ball runner and at more than 100kg was a prototype for the modern day forward.

“The Thornett family has given wonderful service to Australian sport. John is a Wallabies legend who captained Australia for many years. Ken never played for the Wallabies but was one of rugby league’s great fullbacks.

Dick played Tests with them both, across two codes. He was a uniquely talented sportsman and a proud Wallaby. He will be missed.”

Dick Thornett
Full Name:
Richard Norman Thornett
Date of Birth:
School Attended:
Randwick Boys HS, Sydney
Wallaby Number:
Test Cap:
Non-Test Cap:
Test Points:
6 (2 tries)
Position Played:
NSW 4 (1961)
1961 SA, 1962 NZ




Gentle giant a multi-talented sportsman


Dick Thornett, the youngest of the three Thornett sporting brothers, represented Australia in Olympic water polo, rugby union and rugby league and could have played just about any other sport.

In a rugby Test against the All Blacks, an opposing forward saw Dick Thornett aim some well-directed retaliatory blows and asked: ”Were you an Olympic boxer as well as a water polo player?” But, as it turned out, when off the field Dick Thornett was very much the gentle giant.

Richard Norman ”Dick” Thornett was born on September 23, 1940, of a Canadian migrant, Harold Thornett, who had settled in Griffith as an irrigator, and Marjorie (nee Attwood). When the family moved to Bronte, the Thornett brothers learnt to swim before they were five and became the mainstays of the Bronte water polo team.

The sport built muscles and Thornett would claim that it gave him wonderful ball control. He captained Randwick High’s rugby team in 1957.

Leaving school, Thornett joined the NSW Police Force and was appointed to Darlinghurst station. He also went to the Randwick Rugby Club as second rower and lock, joining his brother Ken. He also found a place in the NSW water polo team. At 188 centimetres and weighing 104 kilograms, in 1960 Thornett competed for Australia in water polo at the Rome Olympics. In the 1961 season, he played in the Randwick first grade side.

Thornett played with the Wallabies for their second Test against Fiji in 1961, joining his other brother, John. His game was distinguished by his uncanny ball distribution skills.

He toured with the Wallabies in South Africa and ended playing 11 rugby Tests for Australia. In 1962, when Dick and John lined up in the second row against New Zealand, Dick Thornett was acknowledged as the finest forward out of both teams. North Sydney, South Sydney, Newtown and St George rugby league clubs were bidding for him. Parramatta, which had already signed on Ken, was said to be prepared to better the offer of any other club.

Joining Parramatta in 1963, Thornett handled his fame easily. The sports writer Jim Webster said: ”Despite his massive frame, Dick is docile – off the field – and very quietly spoken. A bit stand-offish to those unknown to him, he is reserved and speaks in very low tones even when a friendship is made.” Parramatta reached the final in the Sydney competition, but they went down to St George.

Thornett had his international rugby league debut on July 20, 1963, when he turned out for the first Test against South Africa.

Later that year, Ken and he joined the Kangaroo tour of England and France. At Swindon, fired by the antagonism of an opposing forward, he produced one of the greatest second-row performances of all time. Thornett played against the French when they toured Australia in 1964.

In 1965, he married Maureen Kay, an airline hostess, and resigned from the police force to help Ken, who was captain-coach of Parramatta.

In 1966 Maureen gave birth to Liesl and in 1967 to Amanda.

Also in 1967, when Thornett finished a four-year contract with Parramatta, he suffered a form lapse and missed a chance to tour again with the Kangaroos. That year he took over the North Star Hotel in North Sydney. He also signed a five-year contract with Parramatta, and in 1968 scored four tries in one match against Canterbury.

In 1968, Thornett was vice-captain to Johnny Raper in Australia’s successful World Cup campaign. He turned out 13 times in rugby league for NSW and 11 times in Tests for Australia. In 1969, his third daughter, Sophie, was born. Thornett stayed with Parramatta until the end of the 1971 season, totting up 168 appearances for the club.

Even that year, he was in the running for a tour with the Kangaroos to New Zealand but he declared himself unavailable because of business. In 1972, he joined Eastern Suburbs but played only a handful of games before announcing his retirement so that he could concentrate on running his hotel.

In 1976, Thornett moved to the Dolphin Hotel in Surry Hills. Ten years later, he and Maureen were divorced and he later married a former Olympic swimmer, Jan Andrew. In 1993 he ran into serious financial problems and had to make ends meet by doing gardening jobs and driving taxis. He then settled in Millthorpe in the state’s central west where he had a small farm and could be near his brothers.

Thornett’s second marriage ended in divorce several years ago and, after battling heart and general health problems for some time, he died in Sydney last Wednesday. Dick Thornett is survived by his brothers and their families, his three daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren. His funeral will be at All Saints, Woollahra, at noon tomorrow.

Malcolm Brown

Gentle giant a multi-talented sportsman


Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT


Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT

Richard Norman THORNETT





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