From ball boy to Beasties legend: Peter Shipway

by Declan Armstrong

For Eastern Suburbs fanatic, Peter Shipway, supporting his beloved Beasties has always been a family affair.

Peter’s affiliation with the Club begun as a 10-year-old, when his late father used to insist he volunteer as ball boy whenever he had the chance. 

At the time, Peter was playing rugby in Vaucluse and would quickly travel to Easts matches following his own. 

“It’s really been a second home for me all these years,” he said. 

“The bond within the Club is what everyone finds so special, I loved it from the start.” 

Peter would continue as Easts ball boy for five years, before eventually representing the Club in Colts. 

His dedication to the Club also saw him earn the privilege of being ball boy for two Wallabies test matches against rivals England and New Zealand. 

“I often say I’ve played two tests for Australia,” Peter admitted. 

“I don’t always tell people the whole truth though.” 

For Peter, seeing the dedication his father showed the Club has inspired him to do the same, serving the Eastern Suburbs family as volunteer, team manager and board member since the mid-1980’s. 

“It’s the mateship that I think is so important,” he said. 

“What happens on the field is also key, but without the community off the field the Club wouldn’t be as strong as we are.

“Our motto is to make good rugby players, but to make better people.” 

Part of this community is the strong contingent of players from regional areas of NSW that join the Beasties each year. 

Peter believes the inclusion of these young men contribute greatly to the Club’s wholistic approach to success. 

“It’s nice to see these boys come to Sydney and make a second home,” he said. 

“Sometimes these boys go on to achieve representative honours, but more importantly, they grow as men and I think that’s what’s more special. 

“It gives you such a thrill when these boys progress on and off the field.” 

After all his years of service, Peter’s humility and selflessness shines through. 

He admits that memories of watching Geoff Richards playing for his beloved Beasties and slightly hazier memories of Saturday nights at the Clubhouse, are ones he will cherish forever. 

“It’s just an excellent Club that attracts the best people,” he said. 

“The friends I’ve made here are friends for life.”