The 1878 Australian Eleven collage
This photo collage, Australian Eleven, 1878, is composed of albumen prints mounted in a cardboard mat. Photo: George Serras.
This collage of photographic portraits was presented to Australian captain Dave Gregory to recognise his top score in a match between the Australian XI squad and a Victorian 18 in March 1878. Australia played England in the first ever Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1877 and an Australian team, captained by New South Welshman Gregory, was organised to tour England the following year. Before departing, the Australian XI played a series of warm-up matches against local colonial teams. This collage marks the last of these domestic matches.
Conway, the team manager, appears in the centre of the collage, surrounded by the players. Someone has written 'Colonial Tour only' under Kendall's portrait. It seems that Gregory dropped Kendall from the squad because his drinking and lack of discipline caused problems that the captain did not want repeated in England.
Right: The 1878 Australian tour was eagerly followed by English and Australian newspapers, with the English trying to gain an impression of the colony and Australians endeavouring to prove their worth to the mother country. Courtesy: National Library of Australia.