Former Australian rugby international Simon Poidevin has paid tribute to the late Alan Cardy as a man of immense sporting talent and generosity.
Mr Cardy, who played for the Wallabies in the 1960s, died on Sunday at his Sydney home following a fall.
The 76-year-old was best known in Goulburn as owner of Range Road property, Lynton, which hosted the Lynton Horse trials for 33 years under his tenure. It rose to become one of Australia's premier equestrian venues and hosted numerous Olympians.
Mr Poidevin, who was raised at neighbouring property, Braemar, knew Mr Cardy for 30 years. Trials were also held on part of the Poidevins' land.
"He just became a great friend and was inspirational in his humility not only about his wealth but his achievements in life," he said.
"...He came from very humble beginnings but made every post a winner."
Born in Katoomba, his family moved to the Central Coast. Mr Cardy's athletic prowess shone from a young age. As a junior he ran 22 seconds for the 220 yards at the Australian National Championships. His third place was one ahead of Peter Norman, who went on to win silver in the 1968 Olympic Games 200-metre event.
Mr Cardy was also a gifted discus thrower but turned his attention to rugby. He played fourth grade for Drummoyne Rugby Club but was elevated to first grade where his performance quickly catapulted him into the Wallabies team in 1966, playing on the wing.
During the side's fifth UK tour he played all five tests and scored 11 tries.
"He was a real star of his era, which included an incredible galaxy of players like Ken Catchpole, Phil Hawthorne and John Thornett," Mr Poidevin said.
He missed the 1967 season due to injury but played in the Bledisloe Cup series in 1968. Mr Cardy played nine tests for Australia over three years before signing a four-year contract in 1969 to play rugby league for Eastern Suburbs.
Later, Mr Cardy took up a position with Lend Lease, excelled in the construction industry and became a successful Sydney property developer. He later struck out on his own and found financial success.
He bought Lynton in 1986 and indulged his passion for racehorses. Hellbent, which won a group one race in Melbourne was his greatest "success story." He is now a breeding stallion in the Hunter Valley.
The property's purchase proved fortuitous for Goulburn solicitor, Neil Kennedy.
He had started a small equestrian competition at the property in 1978 when it was a Pony Club base owned by the Bell family. When they sold to the Andersons, Mr Kennedy acted for them, while another well known local solicitor, Don Elder, represented Mr Cardy.
"We asked Alan if we could resurrect the event. He didn't know too much about eventing but he agreed. Thirty years later I was still building massive jumps around the property," Mr Kennedy said.
"It grew and grew to become one of the premier events and it just offered the most perfect conditions with its rolling hills."
With wife, Georgie, he spent six months of every year designing and building the course for the October event.
"Everyone thought Lynton was very special and Alan was extraordinarily generous to let us use it and have people come there every year," Mr Kennedy said.
In 2000, Mr Cardy shifted all his racehorses from Lynton to Queensland to free up stables for the Olympic three-day eventing team which trained there. He also accommodated them in an overall gesture that was rewarded with a gold medal. Members remained grateful and returned to compete at the Lynton trials.
Shane Rose, Stuart Tinney, Andrew Hoy, Heath Ryan, Chris Burton, Wendy Schaeffer and Olivia Bunn were among just some of the country's top equestrians who competed at the venue.
Mr Kennedy said each year Mr Cardy donated to an up and coming rider at Lynton.
"His generosity stood out. There wouldn't be too many people who own a property that they develop for racehorses and then allow people to go in there dig ditches, build jumps and the like," he said.
"It was incredibly generous...and he really loved the fact it was being used."
The trials ceased in 2019 after 41 years due to the difficulty of securing enough help to build the course.
Former Goulburn Dirty Reds rugby president Matt Klem can attest to Mr Cardy's kindness.
Mr Cardy was a club member and donated jerseys to four junior Fizzy Reds teams over 15 years.
"He was a loyal sponsor and without that support we wouldn't have been so successful. It made things affordable for families," he said.
"He was always there whenever we needed anything. He was easy-going, kind and considerate...He never wanted the limelight but helped our club out immensely."
Mr Poidevin said Mr Cardy remained proud of his rugby and athletics achievements.
"He always admired my resilience and toughness on the field and I admired his speed and evasiveness," he said.
The two spoke most days. Mr Cardy had spent more time at Lynton recently during a period of ill health. On Saturday, he died after falling down steps at his Coogee home. His passing has saddened family and friends
"Alan was a man who made the most of his talents and that's a great lesson," Mr Poidevin said.
Mr Cardy is survived by his children Alex, Stephanie and Tom, sisters Robyn and Jennifer, and former wife, Di Richards.
A private family service will take place in Sydney on Friday. A larger celebration of his life will be held in the new year.
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