Hash House Harrier roots extend back to the old English schoolboy game of "Hares and Hounds," in which some players, called "hounds," chase others, called "hares," who have left a trail of paper scraps along their route across fields, hedges, streams, bogs, and hills. One of the earliest Hares and Hounds events on record was the "Crick Run" at Rugby School in Warwickshire, England, first held in 1837.
Hare and Hounds as an adult sport began in the fall of 1867 with a group of London oarsmen who wanted to keep fit during the winter. Also called "Paper Chasing" or the "Paper Chase," the game became very popular after its introduction on Wimbledon Common in 1868 by the Thames Hare and Hounds. Early clubs called themselves "Hare and Hounds" or simply "Harriers."
THE HASH IS BORN
The Hash House Harriers as we know it today was founded in Malaya (now Malaysia) by Albert Stephen Ignatius Gispert, an English chartered accountant.
It was sometime during 1937 when Gispert (or simply "G" as he was known to his friends) acquired a taste for the paper chase with the Springgit Harriers in Malacca (also in Malaya). Shortly after being transferred by his accounting firm to Kuala Lumpur he gathered together a number of fellow expatriate businessmen to form a harrier group. The first run was held in in December 1938 and the founding members included Cecil H. Lee, Frederick "Horse" Thomson, Eric Galvin, H.M. Doig, and Ronald "Torch" Bennet.
The group's name came about primarily because local authorities required legal registration of the club. While the "Kuala Lumpur Harriers" would have appeared a logical choice, "G" decided instead to use the nickname for the Selangor Club where a number of the local harriers both lived and took their meals. It seems that due to its lackluster food, the dining room was commonly referred to as the "Hash House."
The Original "Hash House," Kuala Lumpur, circa 1938
The philosophy of the original Hash House Harriers from the 1938 charter:
To promote physical fitness among our members
To get rid of weekend hangovers
To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
Hashing in Kuala Lumpur was suspended during the World War II occupation by Japanese forces, but then reestablished after peace returned. It wasn't long before the hash began slowly spreading around the world. Former members of the original Hash House Harriers started a hash in 1947 near Milan, Italy, but it wasn't until 1962 that the next group was formed in Singapore. The Singapore Hash was gradually followed by others until in 1973 there were approximately 35 hashes in 14 countries.
Subsequently, the hash began spreading like wildfire and the number of hashes soon climbed into the hundreds by the early 1980s.
ROYAL PENINSULA HASH HOUSE HARRIERS
Formed on the 1st of March 1975, from members of Melbourne H3, Royal Peninsula Hash House Harriers, is now into its 44th year and is still going strong. The first run has held on the 18th of March 1975 in Mt.Eliza with 12 Runners present.
RPH3 is a very diverse hash in terms of age these days, which wasn’t always the case, and the age in the pack ranges from 20’s through to late 70’s (well that is what they admit to) and the Kennel boasts 12 runners who have achieved over 1000 runs. Nicknamed ‘The Corrupt Hash’ from the antics of former GM with dubious money handling habits, RPH3 is now a very well-resourced hash with a state of the art grog trailer (do you need anything else?).
How Peninsula became a Royal Hash is a question that very rarely gets asked, but the story goes that the GM at the time, after a run, took off his Peninsula Hash Singlet and a Corgi shat on it! To this day, and much to the members disgust, no one of them have ever been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
- 1/3/1975 - Peninsula Hash House Harriers formed from members of Melbourne H3
- 18/3/1975 - First Run Mt.Eliza, 12 runners present
- 24/4/1977 - 100th Run held, 65 Runners Present
- 1/4/1980 - Royal Status granted by HRH
- 5/1985 - The 5'8" Club formed for short arse hashers
- 5/1986 - Papal Presentation made
- 9/4/1994 - 1000th Run held in Flinders
- 26/3/2000 - 25th Anniversary Run in Mt.Eliza
- 2005 30th Anniversary & First Daylesford Members Weekend
- 17/3/2012 - 2000th Run held in Merricks.