The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) added to its magnificent collection of baggy green caps worn by Australia’s Test cricketers on Saturday, securing a cap worn by left-arm bowler Bert Ironmonger.
Ironmonger, who took 74 wickets at 17.79 in 14 Tests between 1928 and 1933, was the fourth-oldest cricketer to make his Test debut, at the ripe old age of 45 years and 237 days.
He also played in the infamous Bodyline series in 1932/33, took a hat-trick for Victoria against England in 1925 and was selected in the MCC Team of the Century in 1999. Read more on Bert Ironmonger's career.
Ironmonger joins luminaries such as Bill Woodfull, Neil Harvey, Richie Benaud and Alan Border with baggy green caps in the MCC Museum collection.
Cecily Reeves, herself a cricketer in the 1940s and a passionate follower of the game, donated the cap to the museum in the name of the Hamilton family, in memory of her father Walter Hamilton.
In the 1930s, Ironmonger had given his baggy green cap to Walter Hamilton, who was the trainer at the St Kilda Cricket and Football Club for 25 years.
Hamilton handed it on to his son Lawrence in the 1950s, but Lawrence’s interest in cricket was minimal, and he saw fit to give it instead to his sister’s husband, the cricket-mad Walter Reeves.
“Walter Reeves played district first grade cricket for Essendon,” said his widow Cecily Reeves, when she visited the MCG to donate the cap.
“He only wore the cap once - he put it on one day in a match against Footscray. He made a duck, so he never wore it again!”
“Bert Ironmonger was a quality bowler, despite having lost part of one of the fingers on his bowling hand to a piece of machinery on the family farm,” said MCC curator Helen Walpole.
“We are delighted that an important piece of Australian cricket history has joined our collection.
“We would love to hear from other Australian cricketers or their descendants who may have these treasured baggy green caps and other objects stored away.”
The Baggy Green Room is on display in the National Sports Museum.