AdamLileDrive_sign.jpg Adam Lile Drive sign. Mike Gooch. Word on the Street image collection.

In a city with few streets named after sporting identities, Adam Lile Drive is a welcome addition. 

Adam (Addie) Lile, a rugby league pioneer, was born in Waitara in 1885. His working life began in his father's bakery, but he didn't stay for long.

At the age of sixteen, Lile stowed away on a troop ship taking soldiers to the Boer War.  He must have been discovered as his military records confirm he enlisted to join the war effort on board the troop ship Drayton Grange in April 1902. Lile was obviously keen for adventure as he listed his age as twenty. 

By the time the Drayton Grange arrived in the republic, the war was drawing to a close and it is unlikely Lile saw much action. However military life obviously appealed, and on his return to New Zealand he became a member of the permanent forces. 

It was while serving in Wellington that he was selected for the first New Zealand Rugby League team to travel overseas. Known as the "All Golds", the team toured Australia and England in 1907-08.

On his return to New Zealand Lile helped organise the first representative game of rugby league in Taranaki. Played at Western Park No. 2 (now Sanders Park) on September 18, 1908, Taranaki beat Auckland 5-3. A match report noted that "the game was interesting, but purely on account of its novelty."

Lile continued to support the development of rugby league locally. He was a founding member of Taranaki Rugby League and also presented a trophy, the Adam Lile Shield, which remains an important prize for Taranaki rugby league clubs. 

No doubt the winning team often celebrated at the State Hotel in New Plymouth. For nearly thirty years, until his death in 1954, Lile was the hotel's proprietor.

Fittingly, on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Taranaki Rugby League in 1999, developer Marcus Durkin suggested a road in his Branch Road subdivision be named after Taranaki's first rugby league international.

In a city with few streets named after sporting identities, Adam Lile Drive is a welcome addition. 

Adam (Addie) Lile, a rugby league pioneer, was born in Waitara in 1885. His working life began in his father's bakery, but he didn't stay for long.

 At the age of sixteen, Lile stowed away on a troop ship taking soldiers to the Boer War.  He must have been discovered as his military records confirm he enlisted to join the war effort on board the troop ship Drayton Grange in April 1902. Lile was obviously keen for adventure as he listed his age as twenty. 

By the time the Drayton Grange arrived in the republic, the war was drawing to a close and it is unlikely Lile saw much action. However military life obviously appealed, and on his return to New Zealand he became a member of the permanent forces. 

It was while serving in Wellington that he was selected for the first New Zealand Rugby League team to travel overseas. Known as the "All Golds", the team toured Australia and England in 1907-08.

 On his return to New Zealand Lile helped organise the first representative game of rugby league in Taranaki. Played at Western Park No. 2 (now Sanders Park) on September 18, 1908, Taranaki beat Auckland 5-3. A match report noted that "the game was interesting, but purely on account of its novelty."

 Lile continued to support the development of rugby league locally. He was a founding member of Taranaki Rugby League and also presented a trophy, the Adam Lile Shield, which remains an important prize for Taranaki rugby league clubs. 

 No doubt the winning team often celebrated at the State Hotel in New Plymouth. For nearly thirty years, until his death in 1954, Lile was the hotel's proprietor.

Fittingly, on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Taranaki Rugby League in 1999, developer Marcus Durkin suggested a road in his Branch Road subdivision be named after Taranaki's first rugby league international.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

 

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