Dr Gunning was an inaugural inductee to life membership at the Blacks in 1952. His name is, of course, ascribed to the A grade best and fairest medal. The sense of honour attached to receiving this award has as much to do with its donor’s history as it does to the club’s history and the history of its recipients over the years. Dr Gunning first donated and presented this award in 1927.
Dr Gunning commenced at the Blacks in 1922. He was an outstanding player, either at full forward or full back. He played intervarsity football throughout his Blacks’ playing career (1922-1926), was vice-captain of the club in 1926, and received a University ‘Blue’ in 1923 followed by an Australian ‘Blue’ in 1926. He represented the State in the inaugural state amateur game in 1925, and again in 1926.
In 1923 and 1924 Dr Gunning was club Secretary. Later, he held the position of President from 1937 until 1946. Dr Gunning was an inspirational early leader of the club and served with distinction both as an outstanding player and administrator.