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15 March 2006

A match-used, signed Bodyline series stump is a key new National Museum purchase, which coincides with the opening of a new cricket exhibition tomorrow.

A Summer of Cricket celebrates the much-loved game and features rare philatelic cricket items, cigarette cards and historic photographs and engravings. The stump will not be on show at this exhibition but will be seen by the public at a later time.

WHAT: Bodyline stump and cricket exhibition preview

WHEN: 11am, Thursday, 16 March 2006

WHERE: Lower Nation gallery, National Museum

Bought at auction in Sydney last week for $12,500 at the hammer, the stump was used in the 4th Test of the Bodyline series played in Brisbane in February 1933 - when England beat Australia by six wickets and regained the Ashes. It is inscribed by Australian wicket-keeper Hammie Love and signed by players including English fast bowler Harold Larwood.

Love played only one Test in the Bodyline series, when he stood in for Bert Oldfield, who fractured his skull after being hit on the head by a delivery from Larwood. The series is seen as the most controversial episode in the history of Australian and English Test competition and was a rare occasion when a sporting incident was elevated to an issue of national importance.

A Summer of Cricket, an Australia Post exhibition, comes to the museum from the Post Master Gallery in Melbourne and captures the spirit and rich history of the game of cricket as it has been played and watched by generations of Australians.

It includes stamps from across the globe and features the world's oldest first day cricket cover, sent from Charing Cross in London in 1851. There's also a telegraph from Sir Donald Bradman, expressing his joy at being included on an Australian Legends stamp. 'It is a tribute to the way in which sport is embedded in the fabric of Australian cultural life,' Sir Don wrote.

A Summer of Cricket also takes a look at the quirky vocabulary of cricket and the rules of the game, along with the joy of collecting. The exhibition opens in the lower Nation gallery at the National Museum in Canberra tomorrow and runs until Sunday, 25 June. Opening hours are from 9am to 5pm and entry is free.

For interviews, images or more information please contact Leanda Kitchen on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or Ellen Peterson on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or

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