Another sad day for Manly Rugby


By John Morcombe

HIGHLY-RESPECTED Manly dentist John Begg died on Saturday, aged 87, after a short illness.

Dr Begg was well known through his dentistry practice in The Corso, where he offered services to those who otherwise could not have afforded them and also helped indigenous people on Bathurst Island and children who visited the Royal Far West Home.

He was also well known for his involvement in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Manly for nearly 80 years, where he served as an elder for more than 36 years and as the church’s session clerk for more than 16 years, and for his involvement in the Lions Club and Manly Rugby Union Club.

Born in 1924, Dr Begg enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942, served as a navigator aboard mainly American Liberators and rose to the rank of Flight Lieutenant with 5 Operational Training Unit before his discharge in 1946.

At the same time, Dr Begg played for Manly Rugby Union Club, notching up at least 20 first grade games.

After the war Dr Begg studied dentistry at Sydney University and started practice on the Dental Train, which travelled to outback towns where there was no local dentists, before moving to England.

After marrying his wife Eileen, a dental nurse, the couple returned to Australia and Dr Begg bought a dental practice in The Corso.

Initially he and his wife lived at Frenchs Forest but then moved to Balgowlah.

Last year Dr Begg was honoured by Manly Council as an outstanding community volunteer.

Dr Begg’s son said that in his 87 years, his father never made a single enemy.

“He was very kind and gentle, and he lived for his family and the community,” he said.

Manly Mayor Jean Hay said Dr Begg would be sorely missed around Manly.

“He was a highly-respected member of the community and a lovely gentleman,” she said.