Monday, February 24, 2020

Vale Raja Ram (12.12.1940 - 16.02.2020)

Photo:  Raja Ram as a teacher at Claremont High School in 1981. 

The death has occurred in Hobart of Raja Ram, aged 79 years, who was one of the finest players at University in the early 1960s.

Ram was born in Fiji and came to Tasmania in 1957 to be a boarder at The Hutchins School.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tasmania and it was while he was an undergraduate that he played for the University Soccer Club, including in Tasmania’s top-flight southern competition.

Ram was a speedy winger who scored many goals and made many, too.

His striking partner was often Aslam Buksh, a fellow Fijian, who was soon signed by Hobart Juventus, where he had a very successful playing career before eventually returning to Fiji.

Ram’s trademark was the white handkerchief he always carried in his right hand when playing.  He used it to mop his brow after every sprint.

Ram finished playing for University in the mid-60s when he began his teaching career and moved around the State to various schools.

I taught with him at Claremont High School and he relished the staff versus student games we played each year.

He headed many a goal from precise crosses he received from the wings in these games.

Some games during his University career stand out.

He scored University’s goal when they lost 5-1 to Caledonians in the 1962 Falkinder Cup Final.

He netted a hat-trick on 3 June 1961 when University downed Caledonians 6-4, the other goals coming from Aslam Buksh, Ray Milton and an own-goal by Calies’ John Biggar.

A week later, Hobart Juventus’s interest in Buksh was aroused when they drew 3-3 with University and Buksh, Ram and Franz Hadorn scored for the Students.

Hadorn was a brilliant Swiss player who was playing in Hobart in the 1960s.

A typical University senior side of the era was:  C Leslie (goalkeeper), W Goodhand (captain), A Mudalier, D Groves, R Surrendra, M Share, Amrath Lal, Raja Ram, Aslam Buksh, A Woods, R Pillay (Reserves:  Haresh Chandra, R Milton, K Bradley).

Goalkeeper Cameron Leslie went on to achieve high positions in the Tasmanian legal fraternity (Solicitor General).

Robert Surrendra, a close friend of Ram, also became a school teacher and I taught with him at Cosgrove High School.

Buksh returned to Fiji after his career with Hobart Juventus and died prematurely.

Photo:  Raja Ram as a teacher at Claremont High School in 1983.

Ram was a regular at the monthly lunches held by about 15 former staff members of Claremont High and I last saw him at one of these a couple of months ago.

He will be missed at these gatherings and I am sure the University club will honour one of their former notable players in a fitting manner.

His funeral was held last Friday.


Ash said...

Hi Walter
The Fijian soccer player ‘Aslam Buksh’ you mention in this article was married to my sister. He unfortunately passed away in 1977 at the young age of 37 due to cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife, two sons,a daughter and 7 grand children. Aslam came from the famous Buksh soccer family of Rewa , Fiji. Five brothers who all played soccer and in fact at least 3 of them represented their country at some stage in their career. Very little is known of Aslam’s playing career in Tasmania. If you have any further details about his time in Tasmania or any photographs of his playing days could you please post it on your blog or let me know how to get in touch with you. I do remember he had a trophy which he had that said ‘Top Goal Scorer of the Season’ 1962 which could have been from his club. Apparently his playing career ended abruptly when his left knee was damaged playing a game against (not certain) the Caledonians?. He could never completely bend his knees after that. I do have some photographs of him that I can share if you wish.

Thank you for your article on Raja Ram which has given me the opportunity to get in touch with you to shed some light on Aslam’s playing years.

Walter said...

Hi Ash
It's wonderful to hear from you! I am so pleased that you read the article about Raja and posted a response. I have no photos of Aslam as I was in my early teens when he played. I do have newspaper clippings from that era and he would have featured prominently in those. I will find them and email them to you if you provide me with your contact details. You can contact me at:
I would love to hear from you.

Ash said...

Thanks for replying Walter. I look forward to receiving some newspaper clippings. I will email you a couple of photos of Aslam. I am actually living in Sydney and Aslams wife and family live in NZ.
Thanks again