20 April 1908

First day of competition in the New South Wales Rugby League.

Early in the 20th century in Sydney, the game of rugby football was contested in competitions that were affiliated with the Rugby Football Union based in England. In 1895 the breakaway Northern Rugby Football Union was formed and its own version of rugby football started to evolve. The reasons for this split were ultimately based around the fact that clubs had wanted to compensate their players for time away from work due to injuries and travelling. After the Rugby Football Union denied the clubs’ requests for compensation, many northern English clubs broke away and formed a new league, which implemented gradual rule changes to the football it played in an attempt to make a more attractive game for crowds. When crowd numbers started to rise, clubs were able to afford to pay players benefits as a direct result of increased gate takings.

In 1906 in Sydney, crowd numbers for football matches began to increase significantly following the emergence of a special player, Dally Messenger, whose skill was considered a pleasure to watch. It was around this time that the discontent of players with their clubs for continually failing to shift away from the amateur culture of the Rugby Football Union was starting to show. Even though bigger crowds had brought increased revenue to the game, footballers ended up failing to see any of the increased revenue going back to them. On 8 August 1907 a group of leading players and supporters met at Bateman’s Hotel, George Street, Sydney and resolved to form the New South Wales Rugby Football League. In the latter half of 1907, and unknown to the general public, Dally Messenger secretly agreed to sign on to play in a breakaway professional competition that would start the following year, run by the New South Wales Rugby Football League. It would turn out to be Messenger’s popularity that would ensure the success of the new competition.

Early in 1908, a number of Rugby Football Union clubs held meetings across Sydney and Newcastle to decide whether or not breakaway clubs should be formed in preparation for the new Rugby Football League’s premiership that was to start in the following months. The popularity amongst players in support of the new competition was overwhelming, with only some players deciding to continue playing in the traditional amateur Rugby Football Union competition. The Rugby Football League clubs that were formed were essentially breakaway clubs, and in most instances, teams continued the use of their team colours into the new competition. A key aspect of the new code was that players would be paid for playing the game. Adopting the playing rules of the rebel Northern Union of England, the new competition began in earnest in Australia on Easter Monday, 20 April 1908.

20 April 1946

The League of Nations officially dissolves, handing over power to the United Nations.

April 20, 1946 – The League of Nations Is Officially Disbanded.
The League of Nations was first formed in 1919. The final version of the Covenant of the League of Nations became Part I of the Treaty of Versailles, but could only begin to function, formally and officially, after the Peace Treaty of Versailles came into effect. Thus, the League of Nations was not officially inaugurated until January, 1920.

The 32 original Members of the League of Nations were also Signatories of the Versailles Treaty. In addition, 13 other States were invited to accede to the Covenant. The League of Nations was open to all other States, providing they fulfilled certain requirements. At its greatest extent, from September 1934 to February 1935, it had 58 members.

The League was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labor conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

The League was marked by notable failures, most glaringly, in preventing the invasion of Manchuria by Japan, the annexation of Ethiopia by Italy, and the onset of World War II. The powerlessness of the League contributed to the alienation from it by the Member States.

It did have a number of successes, however, including cooperative ventures that were transferred to the United Nations.

At the 1943 Tehran Conference, the Allied powers agreed to create a new body to replace the League: the United Nations. Many League bodies, such as the International Labour Organisation, continued to function and eventually became affiliated with the UN. The designers of the structures of the United Nations intended to make it more effective than the League.

The final meeting of the League of Nations took place on April 18, 1946 in Geneva. This session concerned itself with liquidating the League: it transferred assets to the UN, returned reserve funds to the nations that had supplied them, and settled the debts of the League. Robert Cecil, a British lawyer, politician and diplomat and one of the architects of the League of Nations, said:
Let us boldly state that aggression wherever it occurs and however it may be defended, is an international crime, that it is the duty of every peace-loving state to resent it and employ whatever force is necessary to crush it, that the machinery of the Charter, no less than the machinery of the Covenant, is sufficient for this purpose if properly used, and that every well-disposed citizen of every state should be ready to undergo any sacrifice in order to maintain peace … I venture to impress upon my hearers that the great work of peace is resting not only on the narrow interests of our own nations, but even more on those great principles of right and wrong which nations, like individuals, depend.

The League is dead. Long live the United Nations.”

The Assembly passed a resolution that “With effect from the day following the close of the present session of the Assembly, the League of Nations shall cease to exist except for the sole purpose of the liquidation of its affairs as provided in the present resolution.”

20 April 1908

The New Wales Rugby League competition starts.

The 1908 NSWRFL season was the inaugural season of the New South Wales Rugby Football League’s premiership, Australia’s first rugby league football club competition, in which nine clubs competed from April till August 1908. The season culminated in the first premiership final, for the Royal Agricultural Society Challenge Shield, which was contested by Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney. In 1908 the NSWRFL also assembled a New South Wales representative team for the first ever interstate series against Queensland, and towards the end of the season, the NSWRFL’s leading players were absent, having been selected to go on the first Kangaroo tour of Great Britain.

Early in 1908, a number of Rugby Football Union clubs held meetings across Sydney and Newcastle to decide whether or not breakaway clubs should be formed in preparation for the new Rugby Football League’s premiership that was to start in the following months. The popularity amongst players in support of the new competition was overwhelming, with only some players deciding to continue playing in the traditional amateur Rugby Football Union competition. The Rugby Football League clubs that were formed were essentially breakaway clubs, and in most instances, teams continued the use of their team colours into the new competition. A key aspect of the new code was that players would be paid for playing the game. Adopting the playing rules of the rebel Northern Union of England, the new competition began in earnest in Australia on Easter Monday, 20 April 1908.