Monday, February 22, 2016

Too Tough To Lose: The Story of Laurie Morgan by Warwick Morgan

Australia’s first Olympic Gold Medalist

“Not many sons write a book about their father, 
but not too many people have a father 
like legendary sportsman Laurie Morgan.”

Australia’s first Olympic Gold Medalist
by Warwick Morgan 

Laurie Morgan, dual Olympic gold medalist, heavyweight boxing champion, outstanding rower, tenacious Australian Rules footballer, successful racehorse breeder and trainer, international polo player and victorious equestrian for Australia, was an extraordinary man who fought his way to the top.

At a time when Australian equestrians were unheard of, Laurie shipped his horse from the western plains of NSW to England and won against the world’s best riders. Due to his incredible determination the Australian equestrian team performed brilliantly at the Rome Olympics: Australia won two gold medals and a silver. 

Laurie’s boyhood ambition was to train and ride his own horse in the English Grand National, which he did at the culmination of a triumphant steeplechasing career. 

His trophies had barely gathered dust when Laurie took up the challenge of an Australian outback cattle station. Living under canvas Laurie and his mustering team slept in swags, trapped brumbies, mustered wild cattle, fought the tough Territorians and extreme isolation, to turn Balbirini into a commercial cattle station.

This biography of one of Australia’s greatest all-round sportsmen is written by his son, Warwick, himself an accomplished horseman, who tells his father’s story and of his life with this remarkable man.

About the Author
Warwick Morgan is a horseman. His earliest memories are of a horse stud in the Hunter Valley in NSW and of a western NSW property near Condobolin. He recalls that he probably started riding at the age five. He travelled to England with his celebrated Father in 1954 when England was the centre of the equestrian world, before returning to Australia to complete his schooling.

Warwick managed sheep and cattle properties and horse studs around Australia before moving to Tasmania where he and his wife continued property management before starting their own bush riding business.

Warwick is an accredited judge and has officiated at many horse shows including the Sydney Royal Easter Show. He is a classifier for the Australian Stock Horse Society. He has been an instructor for pony clubs and adult riders for 20 years. He now practices as an equine dentist.

I have come to know Warwick as a mate during the time we have worked together to produce this significant history of his remarkable father. Both Warwick and his father would have been at home in the company of Banjo Paterson. Both men are quintessential Australian blokes from a time when the image we held of ourselves was that of the bushman, the horsebreaker.

Warwick is a quietly spoken man that you sense would be at ease in an Irishman's debate, should the need arise. Almost a man from another era, that of the tough resourceful bushman. Yet he was also at home in the upper class English world of riding to hounds, country estates and the British aristocracy.

Although his father must have been a powerful and, one suspects, even a domineering figure, Warwick has always remained his own man; the kind of bloke you would want for a mate and definitely someone you would want on your side. There is no sense that he ever lived in his famous father's shadow.

He has vividly captured the extraordinary life of his remarkable father. He has brought to his writing some of the same qualities that have served him well as a horseman. Patience when required and hard work with careful research as is required to get the best from a fine horse. This book should be read not only for an insight into the story of Laurie Morgan but also for a view of an Australia that is fast vanishing.

As a writer Warwick takes the reader into the world that has been his whole life. This is a sport biography written by an insider with direct knowledge of the sport. It is a journey through the equestrian world in the company of an all-round horseman.

Warren Boyles
Editor, Tasmania 40o South  magazine

Australia’s first Olympic Gold Medalist

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