Vale | Robert Culkin

The New South Wales Rugby League would like to extend its deepest condolences to the family and friends of former referee, Robert Culkin.

Robert, who passed away peacefully this morning, recently celebrated his 100th birthday.

Born during the First World War in the Victorian countryside, he moved to NSW to trial with South Sydney, but was convinced by friends to pursue a career in refereeing.

It has been 72 years since Robert first officiated a match, but he kept his referee’s ticket in his possession post-retirement.

He was never lost to the game, staying involved in Rugby League up until today as the oldest living member of the New South Wales Rugby League Referees Association [NSWRLRA], and the oldest living member of the Men of League Foundation.

Robert presented the 2016 State of Origin officials with their Origin jerseys, something that current referee, Gerard Sutton, described as a special moment.

"It's because of Robert and men like him that we have the opportunity to be professional referees in 2016," Sutton said to the audience at the time.

"Robert and his colleagues really dug the well that we drink from. Thank you for your legacy."​