Andrew Stoddart's bat
This ruthless rout of Australian cricket will do and has done more to enhance the cause of Australian nationality than could ever be achieved by miles of erudite essays and impassioned appeal.
The Bulletin, 1898
Stoddart's wooden bat has a string binding around the handle and the toe where the wood has split. Photo: George Serras.
We think that English captain Andrew Stoddart used this bat during his team's 1897 tour to Australia. The Ashes was established as a regular Test series between Australia and England by the 1880s. Every few years Australia would visit England, or England Australia, to contest up to five matches.
Left: England dominated these contests until, in 1897, Australia emphatically claimed the Ashes, defeating England four matches to one. The victory was hailed by the Australian press as more than just a sporting triumph. As the nation approached Federation, the win seemed to signal that an independent Australia had emerged as Britain's equal if not superior. The 1897 English cricket team. Courtesy: La Trobe Picture Collection.
Left: As a united Australian cricket team emerged in the 1890s, the English press delighted in drawing parallels with the impending federation of the Australian states.
This cartoon appeared in Punch magazine in June 1899. Photo: George Serras.