For my project I have taken on a number of tasks with the St. George District Cricket Club. What started out as a cataloguing of historical artefacts turned into an online museum, a brochure, and a report for the clubs committee. The club had been wanting to compile a record of the items in its collection for some time but had not had the time or resources for it to be completed. It was clear to me that this was an area where the club required assistance. Consequently, I took on the role of recording information with some assistance from Mr Ronald Cardwell. Mr Cardwell has worked with the club for around 40 years in recording certain parts of its history. His information was very valuable in the work which was completed.
Within the glass cabinets of the Booth-Saunders Pavilion, where many of the artefacts are kept, we took note of 168 items of historical significance. These items included things such as cricket caps, signature cricket bats, framed items, photographs of successful teams, blazers, and various cricketing trophies. The pavilion also houses an office space with a library of various books relating to cricket. Within the library, we took note of 121 books related to cricket, with approximately one-third written in relation to members of the St. George District Cricket Club. Most significant was a book written of the history of the club for its centenary, titled A Century of Achievement: The Players and People of the St George District Cricket Club. This book was the main source of information for many of the items and people within the club. Without this book written by Mike Coward, the research and writing of this project would have been significantly more difficult.
From this collection of data, I elected to create an online museum with some of the more notable items from the collection (Which can be found at https://stgeorgehistory.wixsite.com/museum). This would involve uploading images of the items and providing information for the item, or the person involved with the item. The plan for this online museum is to grow larger if more artefacts are found and if it is something that the club finds valuable. I am more than willing to continue work for this into the future. The online museum is a really valuable historical resource as it enables people who may not be able to travel to Hurstville Oval to see the items on display. It also allows people to gain more knowledge of the items in the collection. Within the Booth-Saunders Pavilion there is very little information regarding the artefacts. The museum provides a space for locals and regulars to also become educated about the history of the club through these items. Ideally, if some funding can be secured, the museum would be able to be linked to the main St. George District Cricket Club Website. A custom URL would also be attainable, as well as the removal of website creator ads from the website.
In conjunction with Mr Cardwell, I also put together a report which is planned to be submitted to the St. George District Cricket Club committee. The report outlines the work I have been undertaking as well as making some recommendations. The recommendations made in the report regard the preservation of the historical items in the club’s collection, as well as for improvements in storage and display. The overall argument that I have attempted to develop is the importance of physical artefacts to the club. I have also created a brochure which will be circulated with the aim to attain more items of historical note to the club. This brochure is an attempt to expand the collection of the club as well as reconnect with former players. These items are incredibly important in preserving the history of the club for future generations to observe. This preservation of items will benefit the club, the community, and the families of past players, as even when they pass away their memories will still be associated with the club. It will provide an opportunity for future generations to understand how the game of cricket has changed over time and how it has also stayed the same.
In all of the tasks I undertook with the club, my aim was to ensure that the history was at the front of what I was doing. With the online museum, I provided information with each photograph; a story to go alongside the item. These stories help to explain the historical significance of the items, distinguishing themselves from being just another cricket cap, or just another trophy. The report centres around the historical nature of the cricket club and the significance that holds today to both players and former members. Even the round previews are a look into the short-term playing records of the club. A history of the current decade of cricket played by St. George. This project has fuelled my interest in the history of the club, but also in public history itself. I have come to understand that without the efforts of ordinary people, public history would lose its appeal. Public history, if anything, is as much about the people as it is about the items.
The online museum can be found at:
The following links will take you to the St. George District Cricket Club Facebook page for each of the round previews that I have posted:
The St George District Cricket Club has an incredibly rich history spanning over 100 years. The club was founded in 1911 and lays claim to the greatest batsman to ever grace the game, Sir Donald Bradman. In total, the club has had 13 of its playing members go on to represent Australia in test cricket and 49 players who have represented New South Wales.
My interest in the club has stemmed both from my involvement as a player as well as my family connection with the club. I have found the club to have such a fascinating history, with so many stories to be told from over a century of cricket. I have met up with the club President and mayor of the Georges River council Kevin Greene and also with author/historian Ronald Cardwell who have both been very helpful.
I have begun some cataloguing work with the club which has involved collating items such as team photos, team caps, team ties, shields, trophies, signature bats, books, and commemorative items among many other things into an excel document. Through this process it has become abundantly clear that these gentlemen have forgotten more about these items than I will ever know. Their memories and historical insight have so far been invaluable to the work that has been completed. Due to many historical books and annual reports, it has been fairly easy to locate information surrounding particular pieces that would have otherwise been very difficult to find.
I have been meeting up on a regular basis with Mr Cardwell to sort through these items in the cabinets of the Booth Saunders Pavilion (named after the two patrons of the club, Brian Booth and Warren Saunders) at Hurstville Oval. We hope to have collected all the necessary data within the next week at which point we will be able to put together a report of our work.