Mates chip in for Keith Mur­doch’s grave

Midwest Times - - NEWS - New re­spect: The up­graded grave of Keith Mur­doch. Tony Bar­rass Keith Mur­doch run­ning out with the All Blacks.

The pau­per’s grave of the in­fa­mous All Black player Keith Mur­doch has been ap­pro­pri­ately up­graded through lovers of “the game they play in heaven”.

Mur­doch, 74, an un­com­pro­mis­ing prop with a droopy mous­tache who was sent home in dis­grace from the All Blacks’ 1972 UK tour af­ter he punched a se­cu­rity guard, died of can­cer in Carnar­von in Fe­bru­ary.

He would be­come the first — and only — All Black to be sent home from a tour. But to avoid the wait­ing New Zealand press, Mur­doch, pic­tured, jumped on an Aus­trali­abound plane dur­ing a stopover and spent the next 40 years drift­ing from job to job, State to State, across the Aus­tralian out­back.

About a decade ago, he set­tled into a quiet pen­sioner’s life in Carnar­von, a nine-hour drive north of Perth.

Af­ter sto­ries and pho­to­graphs of Mur­doch’s fi­nal rest­ing place were pub­lished by var­i­ous me­dia out­lets, a small band of past and present mates as far away as Thai­land got to­gether and chipped in.

Mt Pleas­ant man Bruce McCosh worked with Mur­doch at Mt Isa Mines over the Christ­mas of 1967.

He got in con­tact with Mur­doch’s sis­ter Bar­bara who lives in In­ver­cargill, and co-or­di­nated some fundrais­ing.

“I asked Bar­bara whether she wanted to put some words to­gether and we’d raise some money and get a proper head­stone for Keith,” he said. “Bar­bara said ‘yes’ and just a cou­ple of days ago the lo­cal un­der­taker sent me the pho­tos of Keith’s new head­stone.”

Mur­doch was buried in March in a small ceme­tery on the out­skirts of Carnar­von along the North West Coastal High­way.

The words on his new head­stone read: “Here lies a man some called a leg­end, a mys­tery man, but to his fam­ily and friends he was a very much loved big man with a kind heart, who loved a beer with his mates and found his peace in the soli­tude of The Out­back.”

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