To many cricket fans, it’s a bumper Ashes year.
For the MCC, however, 2013 represents the 175th anniversary of the club’s formation, and that’s cause for celebration.
From April 1 until the end of this year there will be a number of opportunities for members to join us in marking a milestone for one of Victoria’s oldest institutions that has been an integral part of Melbourne life since establishment in 1838.
Much of the focus will centre on the weekend of November 15-17, coinciding with the birth of the club, when we plan to hold several events at the MCG.
The MCC was founded on November 15, 1838 when five men - Frederick Powlett, Robert Russell, George B. Smyth and brothers Alfred and Charles Mundy - agreed to form a cricket club to be known as the Melbourne Cricket Club.
Two days later, after purchasing the necessary cricket equipment, the members of the Melbourne Cricket Club played their first match, among themselves, near the former Royal Mint site in William Street.
The MCC was prominent in developing the colony’s cricket and played a major role in guiding the game until after the turn of the 20th century. For example, the club sponsored four Australian teams to England and eight visits to Australia between 1879 and 1905.
Alf Batchelder’s estimable book on the history of the club, Pavilions in the Park, outlines the club’s early days:
“The first members were pastoralists, government officials, bankers, insurance men and merchants. In the main, their presence in the colony was a direct result of the opportunities generated by the wool industry.
For men in their late twenties or their thirties, the club offered a means of recreation and of socialising with one another. The concept of playing matches against any other group was very low on their priorities.
Initially, it was not intended to establish a club in perpetuity – until well into 1840s, the MCC and other sporting clubs in Melbourne re-formed annually as the season for their activities approached.”
And so 175 years of club sport, evolving into today’s model of stadium manager, heritage preserver, tourism operator and custodian of public parkland, was under way.
For more information about the MCC’s 175th anniversary, keep an eye on mcc.org.au and our social media channels in the coming weeks.
MCC members and their families are encouraged to participate in the festivities and join us in celebrating this remarkable milestone.