Heroes of the Ages


Written by Lyall Gardner OAM
Honorary Club Historian

In April 1859 an advertisement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald calling on the various clubs in Sydney which played social cricket, to meet “for the purpose of forming an Association.” The result of that and subsequent meetings was that in the following December the New South Wales Cricket Association was formed with one of its main directions being to organise local cricket in a more structured way so as to improve the quality and playing strength of the local NSW colonial team which had begun playing against Victoria in 1856.

By the 1880s, a Sydney club cricket competition was under way with some clubs locality based such as Bathurst, Carlingford, Petersham and Stanmore. However, the greater strength resided in the non-localised clubs namely Albert, Belvidere, Carlton, Incogniti, University and Warwick.

An expanding population at that time saw many people shifting from metropolitan Sydney into newly created suburbs. This movement forced the creation of more parks and ovals in those outer-areas by recently established municipal councils thus helping to overcome the ground shortage problem which had restricted the Association’s ability to develop the game.

Electoral boundaries provided greater community recognition and in 1893 the NSW Cricket Association decided to establish a Premier Competition comprising clubs from the various electorates and Sydney University. This was the start of Sydney Grade cricket which commenced from the 1893-94 season. The eight teams making up the competition were East Sydney, Glebe, Manly, Paddington, University, Central Cumberland, Redfern and Canterbury.  The following season four more clubs, Waverley, North Sydney, South Sydney and Leichhardt were added to expand the competition to 12 clubs. Qualification to play with each club was based on residential location.

The success of the Grade Cricket concept resulted in a 2nd Grade competition being added in 1895-96 while a 3rd Grade was included in 1899-1900.

Petersham District Cricket Club

The Petersham Electorate Cricket Club was established following a public meeting presided over by the Mayor of the Petersham Borough Council at the Town Hall on 3 July 1899. Office bearers were elected and rules approved at a meeting two weeks later. Mr Walter F Eames was elected the first Hon. Secretary and Mr A C Rofe the first Hon. Treasurer. The Mayor of Petersham Borough Council, Ald. J W Cockbaine was the club’s first President. The club first fielded teams in 1899-1900 in the 2nd and 3rd Grade competitions conducted by the NSW Cricket Association.

In 1907-08 the club was admitted to 1st Grade and accordingly changed its name to Petersham District Cricket Club. At the same time there were name changes at the council with Petersham Borough Council becoming Petersham Municipality Council. Sydney Smith, who later became President of the NSW Cricket Association, was the first Hon. Secretary of Petersham as a 1st Grade club with Edwin Tyler Hon. Treasurer. Alderman FL Langdon was the President.

Petersham Oval c.1905

Petersham DCC Australian Test Cricketers – Biographies

Marrickville District Cricket Club

On 14 June 1909 a meeting at the Marrickville Town Hall was called by the mayor for the purpose of forming an electorate cricket club for the district.   At a meeting a few days later on 25 June 1909, one of the largest public meetings held in Marrickville, Messrs G S Travis and F S Denshire were elected joint secretaries of the newly formed Marrickville District Cricket Club.   A provisional committee was also named while Marrickville Council granted the club a 30 years lease of the new oval. It was also intended to prepare turf wickets as soon as possible and facilitate an application to the NSW Cricket Association for entry into the 2nd and 3rd Grade competitions.

On 12 July 1909 Mr Denshire was elected Hon. Secretary with Mr G Travis his Assistant. Mr G Glass was elected Treasurer. It was also reported that council was to start work immediately on a picket fence enclosing the playing oval.

On Saturday 17 September 1910 the new ground known as Marrickville Park was officially opened by the mayor Ald. W H Osgood. To mark the opening, a cricket match was played between a Marrickville DCC XI and a team captained by Victor Trumper and including players of the calibre of M A Noble and Reg. Duff.

Marrickville played in the NSW Cricket Association’s 2nd and 3rd Grade competitions from the start of the 1910-11 season. However, with the onset of The Great War, competitions were suspended by the Association for four years between 1915 and 1919. And while non-competitive matches were arranged during this period “to enable those unable to go to the front an opportunity of obtaining healthy exercise and at the same time to keep the good old game going,” the Marrickville club was not operative for the final three years of the war.

With the war officially ending in June 1919, the Association re-introduced competitive cricket from the commencement of the 1919-20 season. During the lead-up to that season the Petersham and Marrickville clubs announced an amalgamation with the main objective being to “obtain the best cricketers in the two districts for the higher grades of cricket.” The selection of teams were made without regard to residential qualifications although to “avoid confusion and at the same time to retain in some measure the identity of the districts,” the teams in the lower grades were called Petersham and Marrickville. The Marrickville teams would continue to use Marrickville Oval as a home ground.

The effect of this arrangement was that there was one 1st Grade Petersham team while in the lower grades teams from each of Petersham and Marrickville were fielded in both 2nd and 3rd grades. Indeed, the Petersham annual reports for 1919-20 and 1920-21 included separate statistics for the lower grade teams of each club. It is interesting to note that the Petersham 1st Grade team included players drawn from each of the Petersham and Marrickville 2nd Grade teams.

In 1921 the NSW Cricket Association decided to expand the 1st Grade competition to 16 teams and admitted four news clubs—Randwick, St George, Mosman and Marrickville. With Marrickville DCC becoming a 1st Grade club from the 1921-22 season, the two-year amalgamation with Petersham came to an end. Thirty years later the two clubs again came together in a merger to form Petersham-Marrickville DCC which would last 50 years before it in turn was amalgamated with Randwick to form Randwick Petersham DCC in 2001.

Marrickville DCC Australian Test Cricketers – Biographies

Randwick District Cricket Club

It has always been accepted that the Randwick District Cricket Club (formerly the Randwick Electorate Cricket Club) was established in 1900. However, evidence of its creation that year has been difficult to locate. While it is known that a Randwick Borough Cricket Club existed as far back as 1893, at a public meeting held at the Randwick Town Hall on 31 May 1897 it was agreed to form an electorate cricket club. The club’s ground was to be a public park at Kensington which was to be turned into a cricket oval with a turf wicket (it is assumed this is a reference to Kensington Park although Kensington Oval was not opened as a cricket ground until 15 November 1928). Mr P H Mills was elected Hon. Secretary with Mr W R Jones Hon. Treasurer of the club to be known as Randwick Electorate Cricket Club.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday 2 September 1902, the first annual general meeting of the Randwick Electorate Cricket Club was held at Randwick Town Hall on Friday 29 August 1902. This was more than five years after the original meeting was set up to establish an electorate cricket club and was reporting on activities of the club in season 1901-02, which would have been its first playing season. The committeemen named at this annual meeting were different to those named at the meeting in 1897 which raises the question as to whether this and the club set up on 31 May 1897 were one and the same.

At that 1902 meeting it was also reported that an application to the NSW Cricket Association for affiliation as a 1st Grade club had been rejected because the playing ground at Randwick Park was not good enough for Grade Cricket.  It was announced that in view of that decision, the club would play social cricket of two day’s duration the following 1902-03 season (City and Suburban). Mr J E Phelan was elected Hon. Secretary and Mr J D Spedding Hon. Treasurer.  Shortly after that meeting on Eight Hour Day, Monday 6 October 1902 Randwick Park was officially opened by the State Premier Sir John See.

In July 1904 an application by Randwick to be admitted to the 2nd and 3rd grade competitions conducted by the NSW Cricket Association was rejected. At the following third annual meeting on 10 August 1904, Hon. Secretary J E Phelan reported that the club was having a pavilion constructed on the club’s Randwick Park ground, its membership had increased, its finances were in good shape and it would continue to play in the City and Suburban competition. Mr Phelan was again elected Hon. Secretary.

On Wednesday 26 July 1905 the club held its fourth annual general meeting at Randwick Town Hall under the presidency of the Randwick Borough Mayor James Snape. It was reported that the many improvements effected to the ground at Randwick Park had resulted in the club’s acceptance to play in the NSW Cricket Association’s 2nd and 3rd Grade competitions from the start of the 1905-06 season. Mr H de Josselin was elected as the new Hon. Secretary while it was also agreed to change the name of the club to Randwick District Cricket Club.

While the above does not paint a clear picture as to the actual creation date of the Randwick club, the reference to its establishment in 1900 first appeared beneath the name of the club in the 1913-14 Randwick District Cricket Club annual report and was reproduced in that form during the remainder of its existence. If 1901-02 was its first playing season it does not discount the possibility that the club was not established shortly before that season but the previous year, that is 1900. Despite the lack of clarity but having regard to the information set out above, the result is that the Randwick club will always be accepted as having been established in 1900.

Randwick became a 1st Grade club in 1921-22.

Randwick DCC Australian Test Cricketers – Biographies

Petersham-Marrickville District Cricket Club

The Petersham-Marrickville District Cricket Club was created in 1951 as the result of a forced amalgamation of two inner-city Grade clubs, Petersham and Marrickville. In the years before that event there was regular discussion about the need to include in the 1st Grade competition a team from the Bankstown area having regard to a shift in the Sydney population.

As far back as 1949 the suggestion was made that this aim should be achieved without any addition to the 16 clubs making up the competition. This meant that two clubs would need to merge while Bankstown would be an addition. In that regard, the Executive Committee of the NSW Cricket Association in November 1950 recommended that the Petersham and Glebe clubs be amalgamated and the residential boundaries be altered accordingly.

Petersham representatives however, objected and claimed that the two clubs concerned should be Petersham and Marrickville and that Petersham should in fact, absorb Marrickville as it was originally a sub-district club to Petersham. This proposal was accepted by the delegates to the Association and the Executive Committee was invited to review its decision.

The Marrickville club however, along with Marrickville Council, lodged several letters of protest claiming that the district was capable of fielding two 1st Grade clubs. But at the February 1951 meeting of the Association, after a long and keenly contested debate, it was resolved by a very small majority that Petersham and Marrickville be amalgamated with the new club taking over the assets of the two individual clubs.

The first meeting of the newly formed Petersham-Marrickville District Cricket Club was held at Petersham Town Hall on 17 July 1951. At that meeting a new constitution drawn up by a committee of representatives from both Petersham and Marrickville clubs was adopted. Life members of each club were also deemed to be life members of the new club.

The boundaries of the new Petersham-Marrickville club were defined by the Association with players joining the club needing to be residentially qualified within those boundaries. However, players of each club who had been members for 12 successive years or 15 years in all would be permitted to play with the new club irrespective of their residential location.

Interestingly, the merger of the two clubs was not the only merger of inner-city organisations around that time. In 1948, Petersham Municipal Council which was incorporated in 1972, merged with Marrickville and St Peters councils to form the Municipality of Marrickville.

Petersham-Marrickville DCC Australian Test Cricketers – Biographies