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Cricket History
(1931 Version)

The origin of cricket is shrouded in mystery, and the records of the game in it's early days, hundreds of years ago, are almost non-existent. That is to be expected, but it seems unreasonable that there should be so little authentic information concerning the early days of the game in Australia, one of the youngest countries in the world. When Australia was colonized 143 years ago, the game was well organized in England and the names of the prominent cricketers of that time are well known to all students of the game today.

The first newspaper published in Australia was the "Sydney Gazette", which first saw the light of day on March 5, 1803, but this modest paper had little room in which to chronicle the sporting activities of the community, which numbered about 7,000 persons, as most of its space was devoted to Government notices. But in its issue of January 8, 1804, there appeared the following paragraph:

"The late intense weather has been very favourable to the amateurs of cricket, who have scarcely lost a day for the last month. The frequent immoderate heats might have been considered inimical to the amusement, but were productive of the very opposite consequences, as the state of the atmosphere might always regulate the portion of exercise necessary to the ends this laborious diversion was originally intended to answer."

"Laborious diversion", indeed!

The next mention of cricket is in 1810, when a "Cricket Ground" was referred to, which was called St. George's Fields (now Hyde Park). But it is not until 1826 that there is any actual recording of a cricket match, and the game did not figure at all prominently until many years later. We know, of course, that the first inter colonial match between Victoria and New South Wales was played in 1856, and the records give a complete history of the arrangements and the actual playing of that match. But of the great men of the game who were responsible for its growth from the infancy of 1803 to the mature manhood of 1856, there is little record, nor have we much that is of value regarding the many clubs that were in existence during that time. And, as the years slip past, the prospects of obtaining accurate information diminish.

Parramatta, one of the oldest towns of this country, was always prominent in the cricket world. It is not so many years since visiting English teams played matches on Parramatta Oval, and a few of our most prominent cricketers made their debut on that ground. In years to come, some historian will attempt to chronicle the cricket deeds connected with Parramatta, and loud will be his lamentations when he finds so little in the way of actual records. And so I come to the point of this somewhat disjointed paragraph: Those of you who love the game and all its traditions, should make every endeavour to preserve everything relating to the game in your big Association. Not only that, but you should collect all possible records of past years. Books, newspaper cuttings, programmes, letters, trophies, in fact, anything and everything that is associated with your early days should be collected for the information and edification of future generations. Your motto in this regard should be, "Do it now!" and your names will live to be blessed by those who in after years seek information on the early days of cricket in your district.

H. HEYDON,
Secretary, N.S.W. Cricket Association.
30/6/1931





[The above was taken from the "Baulkham Hills Cricket Club 75th Anniversary - 1919-1994", published in 1994.]


This page last updated on 19 June, 2015.
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