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Ella to part ways with 1984 grand slam jerseys for new Australian Rugby Museum

Ella was a flashy No.10 who helped the Wallabies win every Test on their 1984 tour to Europe.

He famously scored a try in all four Tests, making him the only Australian to ever do so.

Ella during a match on Australia’s grand tour of Europe in 1984.

Ella during a match on Australia’s grand tour of Europe in 1984. Credit:Getty

After each Test against the home unions – England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland – Ella swapped jerseys with his opposite five-eighth.

More than 35 years on, Ella has kept the four jerseys from Stuart Barnes (England), Paul Dean (Ireland), Malcolm Dacey (Wales) and Douglas Wyllie (Scotland), plus an Australian strip he wore against the Barbarians in the tour’s final game in Cardiff, won 37-30 by the men in gold.

Ella is not exactly sure what he will do with the jerseys, but has agreed to part ways with them and hopes they end up in the museum.

“They’re an integral part of my career and obviously the grand slam was the last time I represented Australia. It meant an awful lot,” Ella told the Herald.

Clockwise from left: the Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English jerseys Mark Ella swapped on the famous 1984 grand slam tour.

Clockwise from left: the Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English jerseys Mark Ella swapped on the famous 1984 grand slam tour.

“We’ve all got our special moments and it’s up to Rugby Australia to decide what should go on display or not.

“Australia’s had a proud history in rugby and from all races and diverse backgrounds and I think rugby is one sport that has united all of us together. Plenty of people will want to contribute and I hope they do.”

Asked why the Australian jersey was so clean, Ella replied: “I didn’t make any tackles in those days mate. I’m not that stupid. How do you do you think I survived?”

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RA hopes to receive funding from the NSW government and plans to set up a foundation. In an ideal world, the museum will be built in a tourist location, such as Circular Quay.

“The Kiwis, Springboks and Europeans have all got a version of it and for a country that thrives on tourism, both domestic and internationally, it’s actually a must-have for the country,” Harrison said.

“You only have to look at the Bradman Museum in Bowral. People go there to go for it.

“Ultimately it’s going to be a tourist destination.”

The museum will feature Wallabies and Wallaroos items, as well as provincial memorabilia, plus a section dedicated to highlighting Australia’s Indigenous rugby history.

“We’re talking about a component that will travel around the country too,” McLennan said. “We need strong representation out of Queensland as well.”

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