Vale Merv Jarvis

Tue, Jan 9, 2024, 5:11 AM
Jim Tucker
by Jim Tucker
The Queensland Rugby community remembers Wests Life Member Merv Jarvis, a founding member of the Ballymore Works Committee which created a home for Rugby in the state.
The Queensland Rugby community remembers Wests Life Member Merv Jarvis, a founding member of the Ballymore Works Committee which created a home for Rugby in the state.

The death of Wests Life Member Merv Jarvis at 91 marks the passing of one of the final links to the Queensland Rugby administration which put Ballymore on the map in 1967.

Mervyn George Jarvis was a plumber-turned-builder by trade and a founding member of the Ballymore Works Committee that created a home for rugby in the state.

Jarvis passed away on Tuesday after a long illness. He lived long enough to share in the rebirth of the famous ground.

In jacket and maroon tie, he was present at the sod-turning ceremony in February, 2022 when then-Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Queensland Rugby Union Chief Executive David Hanham launched construction of the BMS National Rugby Training Centre.

Far from being stuck in the past, Jarvis expressed his approval that the new NRTC and grandstand was “progress for the future” on a site he knew intimately when the old McLean Stand was in its heyday.

He backed Ballymore all the way. He became a Perpetual Ground Life Member to aid fundraising in the 1960s, enjoyed viewing Test matches there and was in the crowd when his beloved Wests won their first premiership there in 1977.

Jarvis was a much-loved figure at Wests in their earliest days in the 1950s when his school, Marist College Ashgrove, provided the bulk of the players. He was a flanker who turned Club Secretary in the late ‘50s for three seasons. In those days, he’d host all-day barbecues in the paddock behind his Brookfield home to bring players and club members together.

He was still contributing in 1978 when a scourge more dire than endless rolling mauls or high tackles beset rugby. A major beer strike forced creative solutions. It was the Jarvis truck packed with 18-gallon kegs from a hotel in Murwillumbah that got the bar back open at Wests.

When the club built a clubhouse in the 1960s, Jarvis was invaluable. He organised renovations in the years that followed and assigned workmen. It was done at the right price.

“Wests may have battled hard for what we had but there was always a great camaraderie. It was a club of good blokes,” Jarvis said in the book, Bulldog! Bulldog! 70 Years Of Wests Rugby.

Of Wests’ own turnaround through building a new clubhouse and business space for tenants, Jarvis was clear: “We are now a perfect example for other clubs.”

Jarvis is survived by wife Kay, daughters Karen, Louise and Maree, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

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