"What I’ve done with my life since, I owe to this sporting club.” – Noel McMahen
A spectacular presentation on the MCG arena depicting the life and times of the MCC was the pinnacle of our 175th Anniversary Gala on November 15, described by many as the best function in the club’s history.
Around 1500 members and guests donned their finery to partake in the club’s marquee event in our special anniversary year. Expectations were high, and the evening didn’t disappoint.
Despite a week of wet weather that had organisers of this largely outdoor event nervous, the show was staged under clear skies, albeit with a crisp southerly breeze.
That didn’t deter guests from enjoying pre-dinner drinks and canapés on the MCG turf as they were welcomed by MCC president Paul Sheahan and posed for a commemorative photo.
After adjourning to one of four dining rooms to savour some of Epicure’s finest offerings, it was time to head back outside to the top level of the northern stand to witness a remarkable presentation.
The 40-minute performance, featuring a light show beamed onto a canvas on the arena, began with an actor playing the part of one of the club’s founders and its first president, Frederick Powlett.
Entering the MCG on horse and cart, he recalled the beginnings of our club back in 1838 when he and four others – Robert Russell, George Smyth and Alfred and Charles Mundy - agreed to purchase equipment and form a cricket club.
Current president Sheahan then spoke of the unique attributes and achievements of the club and the ground, and the committee’s desire to continue to evolve and stay ahead of the pack.
“This (the MCG) is a field of dreams for the people who play here, and for the people who come here to watch,” Sheahan told the gathering. “And, as much as that, it is one of the great meeting places for people near and far.”
From there the story was told in song (by Greta Bradman, Chris Doheny and Silvia Paladino), anecdotes from prominent MCC cricketers (Brad Hodge and Max Walker), Olympians (Louise Dobson and Claire Mitchell-Taverner) and footballers (Noel McMahen and David Neitz).
The interviews were accompanied by imagery and footage of memorable moments, people and events within the club and the famous stadium.
Finally, a cavalcade of fireworks lit up the night sky to the rapturous applause of all present.
As if that wasn’t enough, guests were treated to a two-hour after party in the Bullring Bar, with top Australian artists James Reyne and Daryl Braithwaite playing some signature tunes as the good times rolled on into the wee small hours.
It was a night that made you proud to be a member of what we unashamedly call the greatest sporting club in the world.