The Cumberland Throw

Vale Arch Brown

The Cumberland Throw were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Arch Brown, player number 231 for the Parramatta Eels.

Arch was a goal kicking winger blessed with exceptional pace. He was a prized signature for the Eels after the 1964 season as the club looked for a goal kicking solution heading into 1965.

After earning Queensland honours in 1964, the then 20 year old Brown inked his five year contract with the Eels. However, moving from his Wests Brisbane club to NSW would not prove to be quite so easy.

The media reports the signing of Brown.

Back in those days the QRL had attempted to prevent a player drain to the illustrious Sydney premiership via an interstate transfer ban. The ban was supported by the NSWRL and upheld in the Equity Court when challenged by Manly and Parramatta.

The Sea Eagles were battling to engage the services of Mick Veivers and Ken Day, whilst the Eels sought to bring Brown to Sydney. Threats of legal action by the players themselves brought a change of heart from the QRL, and for Arch Brown that meant his career with the Eels could begin in 1965 as planned.

His first season in 1965 saw both individual and team success for Brown. His 131 points from 5 tries and 58 goals was a record for the Club, whilst the Eels qualified for their fourth consecutive finals appearance.

The following year was one of personal tragedy for Brown and his wife Diana, losing their baby daughter in a tragic car accident.

Brown would go on to fulfil his five year contract, finishing as top point scorer for the club in the final two seasons – notching up 124 points in1968 and 123 points in 1969. This YouTube clip includes footage of Brown in an Eels 1969 clash with the Dragons.

His 460 points during his career with the Eels has Brown still placed in fourth spot behind Mick Cronin (1971 points) and Luke Burt (1793 points) and Steve Ella (552 points). Jarryd Hayne is currently sitting on 459 points.

Arch was a popular figure with fans during his time with the club. He was renowned for always giving his time to the fans. Though the Eels only qualified for one finals series during his career, Brown’s tally of 460 points remained a club record until Mick Cronin set his benchmark.

Besides his importance to the team with his accurate goal kicking, Brown’s sprinting prowess was exceptional enough for him to earn extra income on the sprint circuit during the off season.

Back in those days the Eels were blessed with two of the fastest wingers in the premiership in Brown and Dave Irvine. Both wingers would train under a specialist sprint coach in preparation for these off season sprint events.

In this fabulous feature on Brown from 1969, the winger discusses how he varies his training and his weight for the different sports. The image of famous footballer/sprinter Mike Cleary in pursuit of Brown should bring back some memories for older followers of the game.


The Cumberland Throw extends our condolences to the family and friends of Arch Brown.

I’d like to thank Arch’s daughter-in-law Leasa, Parra Pete and Parrathruandthru for their assistance with this post.

Eels forever!


If you liked this article, you might consider supporting The Cumberland Throw.

29 thoughts on “Vale Arch Brown

  1. Gazzamatta

    I remember Arch very well. With Arch and Dave Irvine on the wings we had the fastest wingers in the comp. They would regularly run 1 & 2 in the annual “Backs Race” encompassing players from all clubs. Definitely one of my all time favourite players. RIP Archie.

      1. Ace Eel

        Wow.. Arch Brown…I remember a game at Cumberland Oval against the big red v…Archie took an intercept right on their try line..then he ran the old 100 yards and scored in the corner right in front of me…nearly ran through the old white picket fence he was so fast …will never forget..great memories…RIP Archie….

        1. Anonymous

          I remember that game against Saints at Cumberland too. I was a kid at the ground. I think it was Langlands who was the last line of defense and ankle tapped Archie, who had already sprinted 80 meters, who rolled over from the tackle to run the last meters to score. The conversion from near the sideline won the game for Parramatta in one of the greatest games I have seen.
          RIP Archie.

          1. sixties

            Appreciate you sharing this anecdote. Must have been a terrific moment to witness.

          2. Chris Haviland

            I remember that as well. Sorry to be a nitpicker, but Brown missed that conversion, but later kicked a penalty from the same touchline to win the match in the last minute, after Langlands had been cautioned for punching him!

  2. Paul

    Yes Arch and David Irvine were professional sprinters as well, David won the race for fastest back in league and Arch came second . Keith Campbell won fastest forward and John McMatin was fastest hooker buy a long way

    1. sixties Post author

      Those were the days. Do you think the NRL would stage events like that again? I guess it’s such a different era – the club’s probably would want their players to pull a hammy.
      Thanks for sharing Paul.

  3. colin hussey

    A top line eels player, great kicker as well, not only that but a nice person as well. Met him as a young boy and was impressed big time, made me being an eels supporter easy, along with my late dad

  4. Anonymous

    My condolences also to Archie Brown’s family and loved ones. Arch was a wonderful footballer winger in an era when there were many fine, fleet footed finishers in the game.

    I particularly remember a game at Redfern oval against the Bunnies in their heyday. And in fact the call by Rex Mossop was superfluous in his praise of Arch as he ran over half the length of the field “he’s beaten the entire Souths team twice” Rex enthused as Archie took the ball up one side of the field from his wing and headed infield to run straight through the great Souths pack of the time. “Confronted by the steel of the Rabbitohs pack and with nowhere to go, Arch Brown chipped over the top to regather and run around the fullback”!

    In regards to athleticism, both Brown and Irvine were freaks. Dave Irvine raced and beat both a thoroughbred race horse a a Sydney track and a great amateur gold medallist, might have been Bob Hayes? The annual sprint races for Rugby League backs and forwards on a Friday night at Harold Park Trots or Saturday night Wentworth Park Dogs (can’t remember which track) was a win in both races for Parramatta where we got the quinella in both races on one occasion:
    Backs; 1st Dave Irvine 2nd Arch Brown Forwards; 1st Keith Campbell 2nd John McMartin

  5. Milo

    Good post and comments. Thanks for the history lesson fellas and 60’s and Arch seemed a superb and quick player. That clip was superb.

    1. sixties Post author

      We’re very fortunate to have Parrathruandthru and Parra Pete as friends of the Throw to help with sourcing memorabilia, videos and clippings.

      1. Milo

        I’d wear hat jersey every year mate; in cotton too. Loved that jersey. My first jersey was the the blue and gold hoops.

  6. Michael Gunning

    Thanks for a great article. It brought back many great memories for my father who was at Cumberland oval as a youth.

  7. Leasa

    Wow, really awesome to read this tribute! Arch would be so pleased to be remembered like this. 🙂

    1. Mark

      It’s a shame it’s lacked any history of his teaching Karate through the 80s in Brisbane too though. Trained with him (and your husband and his brother) several nights a week.

  8. Joe Vass

    Arch and Dave Irvine fastest wingers in the comp. Still say Dave Irvine was the fastest league player I have ever seen. Picked up a loose ball against the ‘Riff’ at Penrith Park one day and ran 70 meters to score. If you blinked you would have missed it. He was a professional sprint champion and had blinding speed. Arch Brown was not far behind him and a great goal kicker,

  9. Poppa

    I was just catching up and didn’t to know of Arch’s passing.

    I feel very sad as it’s a memory of losing someone you went and watched every week and yes he was my favorite player, after saying that I think of the Thornett’s who were also my favorites’.
    Arch had nowhere the natural ability that the brother’s had, but he will always be special to me, its just a reminder of how finite we all are, I guess he was 80 odd and that’s not that old these days, but a good innings just the same.

    Obviously he had a daughter in law and presumably grandchildren, can anyone fill me in where he lived i.e Sydney or Brisbane in his latter life. Any information ad’s to the nostalgia.

    Thank you TCT for giving me the opportunity of reviving my memories of Arch Brown a great son of Parramatta football in the days when sitting on splintered seats is still a pleasant memory.

  10. Lynbeth

    RIP Arch Brown. Thank you to his daughter-in-law for passing on the news of his passing.
    Arch Brown along with Dave Irvine gave many of us older Parra supporters many special memories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: