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Frank Burge, known for his dedication to fitness long before it was popularized

Frank Burge is an iconic figure in Australian rugby league, as Max Solling who is currently writing the history of the Glebe Rugby League Football club (that Burge played for) said, “He was the most imposing player of his era.” What’s less known about Frank Burge is his unionist beliefs and his part in the 1917 general strike. Frank had tried to enlist in the AIF in 1915 but was refused entry because of a speech impediment. Incredible to think that such a famous sportsman and imposing athlete was refused but so be it and Frank never again tried to enlist. He was also a member of the municipal workers union and was an organizer, not only in the union’s involvement in the 1917 strike but also in the Glebe RLFC players strike of the same year – he was a believer in solidarity. Both of these stances would hardly have endeared him to the powers that be but Frank was his own man, a leader, an organizer and a person of principals. For these reasons, and more, we’re hoping to include Frank in the list of biographical displays that will be at the heart of the National Museum’s Homefront in World War One exhibition to open in May next year.

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Frank Burge, far right

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