Nonetheless, in those days it would have been vitally important ahead of what was the second Lions tour to Australia to get some publicity about the trip.
Mullineux had toured South Africa with the 1896 tourists, playing in one Test. In fact, he only played in the first Test against the Aussies before dropping himself for the remainder of the series.
He never played for England, and never won a Blue at Cambridge, but he did make 22 appearances for the Lions on his two tours. He was an interesting character and remains the only Lions skipper never to have played for one of the Home Countries.
An interesting character, his ability on the rugby field so impressed the Australians that 'Banjo' Paterson, the Australian balladier, wrote a poem about him - adding an extra 'a' to his name by mistake.
THE REVEREND MR MULLINEAUX
I'd reckon his weight as eight-stun-eight,
And his height at five-foot-two,
With a face as plain as an eight-day clock
Game as a bantam too,
Hard and wiry and full of steam,
That's the boss of the English team,
Makes no row when the game gets rough -
None of your 'Strike me blue!'
'Youse wants smacking across the snout!'
Plays like a gentleman out and out
Same as he ought to do,
'Kindly remove from off my face!'
That's the way he states his case,
Kick! He can kick like an Army mule -
Run like a kangaroo!
Hard to get by as a lawyer-plant,
Tackles his man like a bulldog ant -
Fetches him over too!
Didn't the public cheer and shout
Watchin' him chuckin' big blokes about,
Scrimmage was packed on his prostrate form,
Somehow the ball got through -
Who was it tackled our big halfback,
Flinging him down like and empty sack,
Right on our goal-line too?
Who but the man that we thought was dead,
Down with a score of 'em on his head,
Mullineux was ordained an Anglican clergyman and served as a Chaplain with the British forces in the Boer War between 1899-1902, presumably returning to South Africa three years on from his time there as a Lions tourist immediately after returning from the 1899 trip to Australia in September.
He was then a Chaplain in the Royal Navy, serving on HMS Amphion 1902-4, Terrible 1904, Albion1904-6, Barfleur 1905-6 and Hogue 1906-7. His next stop was New Zealand, reaching there after working his passage on SS Moana.
He went to France with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force 23rd Reinforcements in April, 1917. Before joining the battalions in the trenches he served for a time with 1 New ZealandAmbulance and 2 New ZealandGeneral Hospital. He took his discharge from the New Zealand Army in England in September 1919.
By the time Mullineux reached the front line the 2nd New Zealand Entrenching Battalion was thrown separately into the line in a vain attempt to halt the German thrust in May 1918. They fought apart from other New Zealandunits and not under New Zealand Division's control.
On the first day, they were struck by German fire and the Battalion's medical officer, Capt J.K. Venables MC, was mortally wounded and most of his staff killed. They remained under enemy for the rest of the Battalion's heroic two-day fight with Chaplain Matthew Mullineaux running the show.
He later received an MC for his gallantry and devotion to duty. The citation in the London Gazette on 16 September, 1918 read:
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During two days' hard fighting, when the medical officer had become a casualty, early on the morning of the first day, he took charge of the Regimental Aid post, dressed the wounded and superintended their evacuation. The Regimental Aid post was subjected to very heavy high explosive and gas shell fire for twelve hours, and but for his skill and excellent dispositions, serious congestion would have occurred. His untiring energy and cheerful service in providing comfort for the troops under most adverse circumstances were of the greatest value to all ranks of the battalion."
In a letter to the Brisbane Courier (see below) Mullineux outlined who he had selected to make the Lions trip in 1899. The letter he wrote to the Brisbane Courier newspaper was printed on 1 June, 1899, only 13 days before the tour opened against a Central Southern team in Goulborn. The letter refers to the last position still being up for grabs, so presumably the content originated before the tourists departed.
The tour party left Charing Cross Station on 9 May and they travelled to France. In Marseillesthey boarded the P&O liner HMS Oriana. They were at sea for five weeks before they docked at Adelaide. From there they travelled overland to Sydney.
In the end, the final place was filled by Scottish international Alf Bucher, after failed approaches were made to recruit fellow Scot James Couper and Welsh wing Viv Huzzey.
Only nine of the 21 strong party had played international rugby, although they did manage to win the Test series 3-1 after losing the opening match in the rubber - the game in which Mullineux led the team and then dropped himself..
Here is the transcript of the letter published in the Brisbane Courier. Note that some of the spellings of the players names are incorrect:
THE ENGLISH FOOTBALL TEAM.
LETTER FROM THE REV. M.MULLINEAUX.
DETAILS OF THE PLAYERS.
(By Telegraph from Our Correspondent.)
SYDNEY, May 31.
With reference to the English football team which is about to visit Australia, the Rev. M. Mullineaux, writing to Mr. Rand, hon. secretary of the New South Wales Rugby Union, by the mail which reached Sydney today, says :I have had some disappointments since I last wrote, but have got a good side together, and all are decent fellows. Several are Varsity men, and many are Public School men. The following is the team so far:
Backs: E. Martelli (Dublin Wanderers) an excellent drop, punt, and place kick, and plays three quarters as well as back; C. E. Thompson (Lancashire) a good kick, can play three quarters, and also take a place in the forwards.
Three-Quarter Backs: G. P. Doran (Lansdowne) a most deadly tackier, who played for the Irish team this season; A. B. Timms (Edinburgh University) played in Scotch trials, and is an excellent centre or wing; E. G. Nicholls (Cardiff) plays for Wales, and is the greatest centre three quarter since the days of A. J. Gould, and is supposed by many to be better than Gould; E. T. Nicholson (Liverpool) a very fast wing, played for Lancashire.
Half- Backs: C. Adamson, can play centre, three quarter, or half, and got his North of England cap last season; G. Cookson, a very " nippy" half-back, plays for Lancashire, and got his North of England cap last season.
Forwards: F. M. Stout (Gloucester) one of England's best forwards, and always to the front; T. M. McGown (late Cambridge University), a good Irish forward, brilliant at times; W. J. Jarman (Bristol captain) a splendid, hardworking forward, played for England; G. R. Gibson played for England, a capital worker; F. C. Bolsón, an old Clifton College boy, played for Somerset ; A. Ayre-Smith (Guy's Hospital) a cap-holder for the last two years, and a grand forward, he has played for Surrey; B. I. Swannell, got his East Midlands cap, and many think him up to international form, he is an old Repton School boy; G. V. Evers (Moseley) an old Haileybury boy and is a capital little worker forward; W. Judkins (Coventry), an old Repton boy, a good scrummager; J. S. Franscombe, played for Lancashire, an old Oxford man, very tall, and wants a lot of stopping when he gets going; H. G. Gray, Scotch trials, a good forward of the Scotch type. The last place in the team will be filled by either Huzzey (Wales) or J. H. Cowper (Scotch international).