Ashes urn comes home, free to see and closer to its Sunbury genesis

Standing at 10.5 centimetres high, made of terracotta and thought to be filled with the ashes of a burnt cricket bail, it was given to English captain Ivo Bligh by a group of Australian ladies after a social match at the Rupertswood Estate in Melbourne’s north-west suburb of Sunbury.

“It’s a massive honour [to have the urn in Australia],” Siddle said on Tuesday.

The Australian team, including Peter Siddle, celebrate with a replica of the Ashes at the Oval in September.Credit:AP

“To be the the ones that retained it recently and now have it here in Melbourne [in] my home state, it is pretty amazing.

“To actually see it in person it is still in pretty good nick … any series is a big series but growing up it was about playing in an Ashes.”

The urn is usually kept at the Marylebone Cricket Club museum at Lord’s in London.

The library, headed by chairman (and self-confessed cricket tragic) John Wylie, first asked the MCC if it could display the urn 18 months ago.

The MCC agreed to the library’s pitch, which will see the urn on show for free in the Velvet, Iron, Ashes exhibition, which explores the trophy’s connections with, among other things, women’s right to vote and Ned Kelly’s armour.

“The urn and I came together in business class,” the MCC’s curator of collections Neil Robinson said. “We had seats right next to each other.


“The urn travelled in a plain, unmarked black case. Nobody knew what was inside it apart from me and the curious thing is nobody asked.

“You have to bear in mind not just the possibility of accidents but even the vibrations during turbulence on an aircraft.

“With an article this fragile, this delicate and this irreplaceable you have to be sure every risk has been minimised.

“We had a few runs-throughs at Lord’s of how to pack and handle the urn, we used a replica for those.”

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