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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

National Sports Museum

National Sports Museum

National Sports Museum

The National Sports Museum is a museum is dedicated to Australian sport and features exhibits for cricket, Australian rules football, the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, tennis, rugby league, rugby union, soccer, basketball, boxing, and netball.

The Australian Sports Hall of Fame is also located within the museum along with the Australian Racing Museum and the Melbourne Cricket Club Museum.

Highlights of the National Sports Museum

National Sports Museum

  • Name:                      National Sports Museum
  • City:                          Melbourne, Australia 
  • Established:            1986
  • Collection:               Sports Museum
  • Location:                 Melbourne Cricket Ground, Brunton Ave, Melbourne, Victoria

Tour of the National Sports Museum

  • First Australian Olympic Medals 1896
    • The “First Australian Olympic Medals” were won during the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, it was the first international Olympic Games held in modern history. These medals were awarded to Edwin Flack (1873–1935) Australia’s first Olympian, and only representative in 1896, and the first Olympic champion in the 800 meters and the 1500 meters running events. As the Australian colonies had not yet federated, there was no Australian national anthem or uniform. Flack competed in his Melbourne Grammar School colors.

      On the opening day of the Games, Flack won his first race in the first heat of the 800 meters run. On the second day, he won a first-place medal in the 1500 meters run, and on the fourth day of the Games, Flack won his second first-place medal in the 800 meters race. A day later Flack tied for a treble, in the marathon, even though he had never run or trained for the marathon distance.  Flack also competed in the tennis singles and doubles at the Athens Olympics. He placed third, but medals for third places were not yet awarded in 1896.

  • Olive Branch Wreath Awarded to Australia’s first Olympic Medallist
    • This Olive Branch Wreath was Awarded to Australia’s first Olympic Medallist during the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, it was the first international Olympic Games held in modern history. Reflecting the history and traditions of the Ancient Greek Olympics, these olive branches were awarded to Edwin Flack (1873–1935) Australia’s first Olympian and only representative in 1896.  Flack was the first Olympic champion in the 800 meters and the 1500 meters running events. As the Australian colonies had not yet federated, there was no Australian national anthem or uniform. Flack paid his own way to Greece while working in England and he competed in his Melbourne Grammar School colors.

      On the opening day of the Games, Flack won his first race in the first heat of the 800 meters run. On the second day, he won a first-place medal in the 1500 meters run, and on the fourth day of the Games, Flack won his second first-place medal in the 800 meters race. A day later Flack tied for a treble, in the marathon, even though he had never run or trained for the marathon distance.  Flack also competed in the tennis singles and doubles at the Athens Olympics. He placed third, but medals for third places were not yet awarded in 1896.

  • Edwin Flack’s Diary of the First Olympic Games
    • Edwin Flack’s Diary of the First Olympic Games includes entries covering his historic wins in the first 800m and 1500m events in the first modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Edwin Flack (1873–1935) was Australia’s first Olympian, and only representative in 1896, and the first Olympic champion in the 800 meters and the 1500 meters running events. As the Australian colonies had not yet federated, there was no Australian national anthem or uniform. Flack competed in his Melbourne Grammar School colors.

      On the opening day of the Games, Flack won his first race in the first heat of the 800 meters run. On the second day, he won a first-place medal in the 1500 meters run, and on the fourth day of the Games, Flack won his second first-place medal in the 800 meters race. A day later Flack tied for a treble, in the marathon, even though he had never run or trained for the marathon distance.  Flack also competed in the tennis singles and doubles at the Athens Olympics. He placed third, but medals for third places were not yet awarded in 1896.

  • Berlin 1936 Olympic Torch
    • This Berlin Olympic Torch represents the 1936 Olympics torch relay, which was the first of its kind. It pioneered the modern convention of transporting the flame via a relay system from Greece to the Olympic venue. The sculptor Walter Lemcke designed the torches and 3,840 were produced for the runners. It was designed to cope with different weather conditions and could stay alight longer than each section of the route. The torch was transported over 3,187 kilometers by 3,331 runners in twelve days and eleven nights from Greece to Berlin.

      The 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin was organized by the Nazi Party under the guidance of Joseph Goebbels. Adolf Hitler invested in the Games as a way to demonstrate his belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich.

  • Cricket in Marylebone Fields, 1748
    • “Cricket in Marylebone Fields, 1748” is the earliest known depiction of a cricket match and this engraved reproduction shows that this 1748 game bore a strong resemblance to the game as played today. This engraving is an early depiction of a cricket match set in a field traditionally thought to be London’s Marylebone Fields.

      The artist, Francis Hayman (1708 – 1776) depicts the critical characteristic of early cricket including the curved bats, the two stump wicket and scorers notching stick. The underarm bowling and umpires holding bats were also prominent aspects of the early game. Hayman’s painting was first engraved in 1748 by Charles Grignion the Elder (1721–1810) a prolific historical engraver and book illustrator.

  • Cricket Bat 1770s
    • This Cricket Bat is from the 1770s, when they were curved bats, with most of their weight concentrated towards the bottom of the bat. This type of early cricket bat was best suited for playing under-arm “grubber” bowling which was the norm until the 1770s. Today Cricket is the world’s second most popular spectator sport after football or soccer.

      The sport of cricket started in the late 16th century, originally from south-east England, it became England’s national sport in the 18th century. The first reference to cricket being played as an adult sport was in 1611 when two men were prosecuted for playing cricket on Sunday instead of going to church. The original form of bowling was to roll the ball along the ground as in bowls, this was superseded sometime after 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball.

  • Tour de France winning Bicycle
    • This “Tour de France bicycle” was ridden by Cadel Evans (b. 1977) an Australian four-time Olympian, to win the “2011 Tour de France”. With this win, Evans became the first Australian to win the Tour de France and the second non-European to have officially won. The Tour de France is an annual multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, it consists of 21 stages over a little more than 3 weeks.

      This yellow bicycle was specially produced by Evans’ team, BMC Racing, specifically to be ridden on the final day of the race. Its yellow colour reflecting the yellow jersey worn by the lead rider in the Tour. Evans’ win was celebrated in Australia, and at a homecoming parade held on his return, tens of thousands of people turned out, many dressed in yellow and waving yellow flags. Evans rode this bicycle through the yellow-lined streets during the parade in Melbourne.

Explore Museums  in Australia

Australian Proverbs and Quotes

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“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part.”
– Pierre de Coubertin

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Photo Credit: By Joyofmuseums (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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