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.
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.
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.