On any Saturday in the summers of my childhood, you could be sure that the house would be empty and the family camping at a nearby cricket ground. We were not alone; for many in Mount Colah, whether watching or playing, cricket has always been an essential part of the summer months.
In service of this passion, the local volunteer group of Mount Colah Cricket Club organizes teams and games for anyone in the community who wants to play. Mount Colah Cricket Club is registered with the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai & Hills District Cricket Association (HK&HDCA) in both junior and senior competitions and participates annually in teams in competitions with other local clubs.
The early stages
When I was asked to consider valuable community organizations in my area, the Mount Colah Cricket Club was my first thought. In September of this year, I approached club president Paul McSweeney to ask if the club could use a history student hoping to complete a public history project. In dialogue with committee members, I have since developed a rough plan to outline the history of the club for its new website, consolidating the local knowledge currently scattered across paper scorebooks, digital records and members’ and players’ memories (past and today).
Working in lockdown conditions for the first few weeks of this project, I was quickly discouraged by the lack of information about the clubs’ history online. Looking for sources, I contacted local historian, councilor and cricket enthusiast Nathan Tilbury for advice. In a response that far exceeded my expectations, this conversation ended with Nathan Tilbury who lent me a virtual treasure trove of hardcopy research material.
The highlights in this collection are the Alf James book, Summer Saturdays, which documents a history of the association up to 2000, and a box of HK&HDCA annual reports dating back to its founding in 1926. These resources will be invaluable when used in conjunction with the club’s collection of old scorebooks, and the paving the way for constructing a timeline of Mount Colah match records and star players.
In consultation with these sources, it has become apparent that the Mount Colah Cricket Club has a long and largely untold history of endurance and rebirth. The club was first founded in 1933 and joined a C-class team for that season before dissolving in 1934. Many of these inaugural teams continued to play for Asquith and achieved great things in local leagues. Mount Colah Cricket Club would rise from the ashes after World War II to play three more seasons and join teams in the newly developed junior league for the first time in its history. After disappearing again in the 1950s, the club would bounce back in the 1960s and go on to a wildly successful period in the 1970s and 1980s. The club has steadfastly endured the years of growth and decline in the decades since, fighting to give Mount Colah locals the opportunity to get out in the summer, aim for greatness or simply enjoy the sport. to enjoy.
I plan to flesh out my photo of Mount Colah Cricket Club and its history in the coming weeks as one worthy of being recorded and published within the community. I hope to do this by extrapolating from the data in a backlog of scorebooks and annual reports, and (most importantly) by engaging with club committee members and former players.
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