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Bransby Cooper's medallion

Bransby Cooper's medallion

Bar WG we're just as good as they are, and some day we'll lick 'em with eleven.

Australian bowler Sam Cosstick, 1873.

On Boxing Day 1873, a Victorian 18 claimed victory against a touring English side at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Bransby Cooper top-scored for the Australians, making 84 of the 266 Victorian runs, and two Melbourne gentlemen, Messrs Edwards and Kaul, were so impressed that they personally awarded Cooper this medallion in recognition of his achievement.

Nobody expected the Victorians to beat the strong English team captained by WG Grace, but at the MCG the Australians won by a hefty innings and 21 runs. It was the first ever local victory for Victoria and many saw it as proof that Australian cricket was on the rise.

Two photographs of a gold medallion. The left side photo shows one side of the medallion. It has an engraving of the Australian coat of arms, under which are engraved the words 'Advance Australia'. The medallion has a border in the appearance of a decorative rope-like form that runs around its circumference. A chain is attached to the medallion. This chain is attached to a safety pin-like fastener which is seen to the left of the medallion. The right side photo shows the reverse side of the medallion. It has an inscription engraved upon it which says 'Cricket. England v Australia Presented by Messrs Edwards & Kaul to B. B. Cooper. The highest scorer. Melbourne 1873.' The reverse side of the medallion shows a fastening pin attached to its right side. The clasp for the pin is on the medallion's left side. The medallion, chain and fastener are all lying on a purple-coloured piece of material. The weave in the material is visible in the photograph.
Bransby Cooper's Medallion. The medallion is only 28 mm in diameter.
Photo: George Serras.

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One side of Cooper's medallion is engraved with the 'Advance Australia' coat of arms, which was often used as an unofficial symbol for Australia before Federation in 1901.

Messrs Edwards and Kaul's medallion for Bransby Cooper marked a significant match in a small way.

A nineteenth century black and white artwork showing a cricket match under way at a cricket ground. The cricket field is seen in the background. There are 13 players and two umpires on the field. A large crowd is shown watching the match. The crowd appears to encircle the the field. In the foreground are women and men dressed in the fashions of the day. Many of the men wear top hats and many of the women wear skirts with many layers and large bustles. Trees can be seen at the far left and right of the image, as well as in the distance beyond the cricket field and the crowd. A line of billowing clouds can be seen on the horizon.

Right: The Melbourne Cricket Club renovated their grounds for the 1873 match, adding two new scoreboards and an elevated 'hill' for spectators.

The club hoped to attract a well-to-do crowd who would spend up big at the game and help ease its financial woes.

Courtesy: La Trobe Picture Collection.

Take a closer look at the cricket ground
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