Below is the story of how we found the grandson of William “Ranji” Joass.
Wests Player number 85. (1911)
It all started a few weeks ago when I was researching for some info on of all things an Old Souths player.
I came across this story in a 1964 Rugby League News program…..
Who is William Ranji Joass I hear you ask….if you keep reading this article that question and more will be answered.
With help of Trove, Goggle, Wests Archives, Terry Williams, Steve Baker and Faye Orphan, Ranjis life came to life……
Ranji was a nickname that was given to him way back in time.
His real name is William James Joass.
The history of the nickname comes from League Historian Terry Williams.
* “Ranji” Joass got his nickname from the Indian Prince who played cricket for England at the turn of the 20th century – not sure what nationality Joass was but he was a great servant of the club and game. He certainly deserves more recognition. Thanks Terry.
Ranji was born in 1886 and started playing Rugby Union around the early 1900’s .
Ranji and his brother Alf are in this St George team.
Both Ranji and Alf get a mention in this story.
Note: E.Courtney in team.
St George Team v Illawarra team at Wollongong.
Family photo taken outside the Joass home in Haldon st Lakemba.
Ranji in his St George jumper.
In 1908 you can see a few future Wests Rugby League players in both teams.
Great word “grafter”.
Ranji in a winning Metro Team.
Ranji playing for Metro v The Yanks.
This was Ranjis and Alfs last year at Saints and playing Rugby Union.
Ranji and his brother went over to Rugby League in 1911 and they both played for their local team Wests aka
The Fruit Pickers.
Ranji was 25 in 1911.
This game was played at the Newtown home ground in 1911. Metters’ Ground or Oval.
Jim Stack, Ranji and Edward Ellis.
Below there are some very big names playing in this game.
Ranjis old mate from his St George days is now playing for Australia .
Official opening of my favourite ground Pratten Park.
A huge piece of Wests history was witness by both Ranji and Alf Joass.
The First game of Rugby League played at Pratten Park.
Ranji playing for NSW 32 beat QLD 4.
1914 Wests team.* Ranji.
Action photo taken at the SCG in 1915 * Ranji.
Team photo 1917 * Ranji
1919 Wests City Cup winners. * Ranji.
Team photo 1920. *Ranji.
Program from 1921.
Ranji Joass is now 35 years of age.
Cartoon of Ranji.
Ranji was involved in different sports as well.
Ranji complete game tally at Wests .
Thanks to Geoff Ibbett from Wests Archives for this info.
Ranji made a come back in 1937 at the age of 51.
Its now 2019 and after checking with Neil Bennett who looks after the Wests Players Medals at the Wests Archives it was discovered that Ranjis and Alf’s Medals had not been collected.
How do you find the next of kin of a Wests player who played in the very early days of Rugby League.
Not so easy…..but with the help of the excellent column In Search in the Daily Telegraph I was contacted by Faye Orphin and Steve Baker who supplied me with extra info on Ranji and his family.
Faye told me about a Gary Joass who is her cousin and Garys dad was Ranji son.
Garys dad was also called William but he was known as Tonto.
Tonto played First Grade Rugby League for the new Canterbury Bankstown team in 1935 and 1936.
Bill “Tonto” Joass is player number 15 for the Berries.
I checked Trove for a Gary Joass and Bingo…a small story about him was in the SMH.
This gave me a clue of how old Gary should be and after checking the Death Notices it appeared that Gary Joass may still be with us.
One more advert in In Search and who should ring……Gary Joass himself.
Gary was coming to Sydney in late November 2019 so a time and date was fixed to present him with his grandfathers Medal.
Neil Bennett from Wests Archives presents Gary with the Medal at Wests Ashfield.
A very happy and proud grandson.
Gary Joass with his grandfathers and Great Uncles Medals.
I would again like to thank the boys at Wests Archives, Faye Orphin, Steve Baker, Terry Williams.