26/08/53 – 02/02/23
The Briars Bar at 30A George St. Rugby Heaven, has just welcomed a new drinking partner for the other recent arrivals ‘Smithy’ and ‘The Beast’. Steelie will certainly ensure that the bar service available is for the full 24 hours.
Ian Steele passed away in his sleep last Thursday following a long illness with MS with other complications. Steelie played Rugby for The Briars, in the second row, during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Ian joined the club in 1972 with some other Homebush Boys’ High School friends. He acclimatized to the Briars Bar scene quicker than most. A true stayer and he was often still at the club to greet Ted Stockdale, as he arrived for his early Saturday or Sunday morning admin duties.
Steelie reached icon status being the brakeman in the infamous Christmas Eve shopping trolley escapade down Burwood Rd, towards Westfield. The trolley was out of control and luckily stopped by running onto a car…unluckily it was a Police car. Thankfully the Desk Sergeant on that night saw the funny side of this.
Always the gentleman, polite and thoughtful, Ian would often apologise to any women present at the beginning of the night for any bad language or inappropriate behaviour that may ensue.
At one stage Steelie worked for a bank located across the road from the Club. Probably not great news for either the bank or the club. At this time many members cashed cheques at the club. Ian took this to a new level by borrowing anyone’s cheque, madly scribbling in numbers, and crossing out others so he could access cash from his account. Amazingly this was all OK and the cheques were always accepted.
Steelie saved his best performances for tours. In the 1978 USA Rugby tour report he vied for the ‘most scores’ award only to be pipped by one of the other tourists. Ian had to be satisfied with ‘most consistent’ award on tour.
He was a caring character, who would regularly keep in touch, regardless of the time or circumstances. His kindness and care were something that all his friends can attest. If there was illness, tough times or you just needed a hand, he was always there for you.
Steelie, you’re now free from pain but you will be sadly missed. Condolences to all his family. Ian will be farewelled at a private cremation.