David Gallaher was an Irish-born New Zealand rugby union footballer. He captained the 1905–06 New Zealand national team. He was fatally wounded by shrapnel wounds to the head in 1917 at the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium. He has since been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Sports Hall of fame.
About Dave Gallaher in brief
David Gallaher was an Irish-born New Zealand rugby union footballer. He captained the 1905–06 New Zealand national team, the first representative New Zealand side to tour the British Isles. He was fatally wounded by shrapnel wounds to the head in 1917 at the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium. He has since been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Sports Hall of fame. A number of memorials exist in his honour, including the Gallahers Shield for the winner of Auckland’s club championship, and the Dave GallAher Trophy contested between the national teams of France and New Zealand. The Originals, the team he captained, helped to cement rugby as New Zealand’s national sport, but he was relentlessly pilloried by the British press for his role as wing-forward. He retired as a player after the 1905-06 tour and took up coaching and selecting; he was a selector for both Auckland and New Zealander for most of the following decade. He died in Auckland, New Zealand, at the age of 80. He is buried in the suburb of Rochdale, near Auckland, with his wife, Maria Hardy Gallagher, and their six children. The family moved to New Zealand as part of George Vesey Stewart’s Katikati Special Settlement scheme in 1878. His mother died in 1887, and he spent a week in hospital in Auckland undergoing surgery to treat curvature of the leg which had led to his leg being stunted.
His father was James Henry Gallagher, a shopkeeper, and his 29-year-old wife,Maria Hardy Gallagher. Of their ten offspring, three died in infancy. The couple’s other offspring were: Joseph, Isabella, James, Maria, Jane, Thomas, William, Oswald, and James Patrick. David was baptised as a Presbyterian in the First Ramelton Meeting House on 8 January 1874. David was born as David Gallagher on 30 October 1873 at Ramelon, County Donegal, Ireland. He had two children from his first marriage, and David was the seventh from his marriage to Maria. The Gallaghers moved to the Bay of Plenty in May 1878, minus the sick James Patrick who at eight weeks old was too weak to make the trip – sailed from Belfast on the Lady Jocelyn. On arrival they found the settlement scheme was not what they had envisaged or been promised: the land allocated to the family required enormous work to be broken in before being suitable farming, and there was no easy access to water. James had hoped to be employed as the agent for the Donegal Knitting Company, which was to be established by Lord George Hill. But Lord Hill died unexpectedly and his successor did not support the initiative. As a result, the family’s poor quality of land was insufficient to make a living, and in January 1886 David’s mother became the chief breadwinner after she obtained a £2 teaching position at the No 2 School.
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