21 November 2006

The Ashes

A few weeks ago, Heather and I went to the Museum of Sydney (where we won the cruise a year ago). The real deal Ashes urn was on exhibit, along with other historical items from the series. This was only the second time it has left England, so seeing it here was a big deal for the Australians. The only negative was they didn't allow photography--the pictures here are a replica we saw at the Bradman Museum two months ago. The exhibit also included the Waterford Crystal
Ashes trophy that was commissioned in 1998. This trophy is an exact replica of the original, only not four inches tall.
The Ashes urn has had an interesting history. Here's some of the highlights:
  • The Ashes tradition began in 1882, when Australia beat England and a mock obituary was printed for English cricket: 'In Affectionate Remembrance of ENGLISH CRICKET, which died at the Oval on 29th AUGUST, 1882, Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances R.I.P. N.B. — The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.'
  • The urn was a gift from some Australian women to Ivo Bligh, an English player, in 1883 during an English cricket tour of Australia. Eventually, the urn became the property of the Marylebone Cricket Club in England.
  • No one is exactly sure what is in the urn. What are, or rather were, the ashes? Legend says they are from the stumps from the historic 1882 match. Some say it the remains of the stumps from the 1883 match in Australia. Others say the ashes are actually a burned handkerchief of one of the women. Yet another theory says that a housemaid at one time dropped the urn, spilled its contents, and refilled it with ashes from the fireplace.
  • The Ashes urn you see awarded the the victors is actually a replica. The real urn is too fragile for that. In fact, x-rays showed that at some point in the past, a bolt had been inserted to repair the damaged base.
Information about the 2006-2007 Ashes Test Series can be found at Cricket Australia. We will be at Melbourne Day 4.
As we left the museum, we entered the contest for a trip to England. Make it two for two?

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