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The League of Legends exhibition includes numerous trophies awarded over many years of the game. To prepare the trophies for public display and to help protect them in the long term, the National Museum's conservation team spent hundreds of hours working on the trophies. Each piece was cleaned and preserved, while the nuances of different materials and makers, and the character of each trophy's history, was retained.
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The Courtney Goodwill Trophy - before
The Courtney Goodwill Trophy for competition in international rugby league was first awarded in 1936. Australia's dominance of the game and the difficulty of transporting this large trophy – it stands 1.76 metres high and has a 1.37 metre square base – meant it faded from public view.
When it arrived at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, the trophy's metal and timber surfaces were dirty and discoloured and several pieces were broken or had come away from the base. Courtesy Australian and New South Wales Rugby League. Photo: Peter Bucke.
Goodwill trophy conservation
Disassembling the trophy
The size, weight and construction of the Courtney Goodwill Trophy posed a challenge for conservators. Generally, trophies are built around a central armature with a threaded rod. The Goodwill trophy, though, consists of several layers of timber bolted together.
Instead of undoing a central rod and working from the top down, conservators worked from the base up. Four people were need to lift the trophy on to a support made of saw horses. Here, the top of the trophy, the globe on the left, has been separated from the next layer down. Courtesy Australian and New South Wales Rugby League. Photo: Peter Bucke.
Goodwill trophy base - before
Goodwill ornaments - after
Detailed marquetry work
The trophy's base shows a section of delicate marquetry work depicting a Maori warrior, on the left. The fine timber was cleaned lightly with a microfibre cloth. No detergent was used and the cloth was dampened only slighty, to prevent any moisture penetrating the surface and causing swelling.
The section of base on the right bears the signs of white polish residue and shows a recessed area where a paua shell embellishment had been bolted to the base. Other ornaments were attached with various glues. Courtesy Australian and New South Wales Rugby League. Photo: Peter Bucke.