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27 November 2006

The National Museum of Australia is preparing a major new exhibition to celebrate the centenary of Rugby League in Australia.

The exhibition will open at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra in February 2008 and will travel to other venues around Australia.

The exhibition will explore how the premiership competition began in 1908 and recount some of the great moments of rugby league history over the last 100 years. It will use sports photography, memorabilia, film and videos records of games.

'People come to the National Museum to see a history of Australia and an essential part of that history is this nation's sporting achievements,' said Craddock Morton, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

'The history of Rugby League powerfully illustrates how the game changed over the last hundred years from a faltering early competition to the national league of today.'

'The National Museum is looking forward to a partnership with the ARL and the NRL in developing this exhibition,' said Mr Morton.

Treasures of the Rugby League will be on display including objects associated with some of the legendary names of the game including Dally Messenger and Clive Churchill.

The Royal Agricultural Society Challenge shield, the first NSW Rugby League Premiership Shield, one of treasured objects held by the National Museum will be a key part of the centenary exhibition.

The Shield was presented to South Sydney in 1908 and 1909, Newtown in 1910 and Eastern Suburbs 1911-13. After winning the competition in 1913, Eastern Suburbs were presented the Shield permanently. Eastern Suburbs then presented the Shield to their star captain, Dally Messenger.

For more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or email

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