They came from all walks of life to honour the man who had a knack of finding his way into their hearts.
There was a former Senator, Ursula Stephens, former rugby league stars Allan Fitzgibbon and Gavin Miller and a large contingent of footballers, Mayor Bob Kirk and everyone in between.
Up to 400 people attended Allan ‘Jockey’ Rudd’s funeral service at Sts Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral on Wednesday. Jockey, known far and wide for his endless kindness and generosity, died at Waminda Aged Care Facility on Friday, aged ninety-two.
The local character, ever ready with a quip and one-liner, might have been small but he packed a punch. The wide array of people celebrating his life did not surprise Parish Priest Father Dermid McDermott. He knew Jockey well through the church he attended every Sunday.
“They say good things come in small packages but big things can also come out of small bodies,” he said.
Although Jockey and his beloved late wife, Phyllis, didn’t have children, they, like Jesus, had many rooms in their hearts for other people.
“Today we celebrate the fact that Jockey opened his gifts to share with us and by doing so, he shared a hope, friendship and joy with us,” he said.
His only surviving sister, Gladys Cavanough, one of eight siblings, told The Post that Jockey had been a wonderful brother to her.
“He, Phyllis and I would always go away on holidays together,” she said.
Good friend, Chris Grant delivered a eulogy, detailing Jockey’s career as a butcher, love of football, characteristic humour and legendary love of Phyllis.
He described him as one of the city’s most popular figures and a man of “incredible attributes,” too numerous to detail.
Former Goulburn United rugby league coach and Goulburn City councillor Barry Cranston told of humorous footballing exploits together, including being locked up in a police cell overnight after falling off a pushbike beside the Carlton Hotel. It just happened to be next to the Police Station.
Mr Cranston had given a false name to police, only to be corrected by Jockey.
“No it’s not, his name is Barry Cranston and he’s never done a thing wrong in his life,” he told the officer.
Mr Cranston said his friend had enduring qualities that endeared him to people everywhere.
“Each day I drop my 14-year-old daughter off to school and tell her – ‘be happy, be kind and make new friends.’ Guess what? That’s Jockey Rudd,” he said.
Great nephew Craig Berelle told The Post that Jockey was a favourite uncle who always took time for people and was highly generous.
“He was very warm-hearted and loved sharing stories with the family,” he said.
“He loved his life, which he lived through a wide circle of friends.”
Mr Berelle said his mother was Jockey and Phyllis’s favourite niece. After she died, they planted a rose in their garden in her honour.
Whenever he saw him, Jockey would always give him something. The last time, a week before he died, it was a little toy surfing dog, which he treasures.
“We never left empty handed,” he said.
Another great nephew, Darren Rudd, said Jockey was “the connector of stories and folklore in the family.” He recalled visiting his home and never wanting to leave.
Vera Lynn’s song, We’ll Meet Again played as his great niece and nephews carried his casket from the Cathedral. The funeral cortege, led by police escort, paused at the Auburn Street cottage Jockey shared with Phyllis.
It also stopped at the nearby Phyllis Rudd memorial rose garden before making its way to Goulburn Lawn Cemetery where he was laid to rest with his beloved wife.
A wake at Goulburn Golf Club after the funeral was a chance for former local footballers to share stories.
Cronulla Sharks immortal and rugby league international Gavin Miller knew Jockey Rudd for more than 40 years.
Jockey took a keen interest in his career, which started with Goulburn United as a junior and progressed into first grade in 1976.
“Jockey never failed to miss a game,” Mr Miller said.
By 1977, Miller was off to Sydney to advance his career. But whenever he returned to Goulburn, he’d drop in on his number one supporter for a yarn. In some ways it was a relief to “chill out” with him, he said.
“He always sat out on his veranda and after I returned to Goulburn in 1992 I’d intentionally walk that way to have a chat with him,” Mr Miller told The Post.
“...To us (former footballers), this is a celebration of his life and I say that with a heavy heart.
“But to have had an impact on this community the way he has, he’s made a profound mark on Goulburn.”
Former United player, John Payne credited Jockey with igniting his love of football.
“One morning I was walking past the butcher shop where he worked and he introduced me to Cyril Eastlake,” he said.
Eastlake was a New Zealand rugby league international who coached United in 1962-3.
Mr Payne played for the team from 1967 to 1986. He now manages the first grade Goulburn Workers side.
Ray Moroney can’t forget the night that United coach and another NZ international, Ron Ackland, hung Jockey up on a coat rack.
“He was trying to tell him how to coach and wouldn’t shut up,” he said.
“Ron just picked him up and put him up on the coat rack, his arms flailing around and everyone laughing.”
Those were the days when matches at United’s home ground, League Park, and the Workers Arena were packed to capacity for the classic clashes.
Mr Moroney said while Jockey didn’t hold back in his views, he never had a bad word to say about anyone.