The mystery of how cricket’s association was formed
CRICKET: It’s one of Bundaberg’s oldest associations and cricket is steeped in history in the Rum City.
Bundaberg has produced plenty of famous cricketers who have gone on to represent Queensland and Australia.
The NewsMail has been delving into the history books to see how sports started for during the past few weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Today is cricket’s turn.
Cricket was one of the first sports to be brought into Bundaberg when it was formed in 1870.
It mainly came from the English settlers who brought the game with them from their land to Australia.
The game has been played in Australia since 1803.
According to the book Bundaberg Cricket Association century – 1897 to 1997, the first reported games were held in 1872 with a Town versus Country clash.
George Bell who was prominent in creating North Bundaberg mentioned that date.
This would continue until clubs started to be formed in 1877 and continue into the 1890s.
Town and Country matches were still being held but clubs started to play each other.
But it wasn’t until 1893 that organised matches began to be conducted by an association.
This is where the conjecture starts as to how and when the association was formed.
The book, which was written to celebrate the sport’s centenary, recognised that there was an association mentioned in 1893 but puts the sport’s start date in the Rum City as 1897.
However, the book didn’t explain why.
The NewsMail has been able to go back through the archives to solve the mystery, and also found first name of the association that came about in 1893.
And it was the first.
On September 20 of that year, a Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser (now the NewsMail) article reported that a meeting would be held on Friday, September 22, at the Queen’s Hotel to discuss the formation of a cricket association.
As a result the Bundaberg Cricket Association was formed with clubs Bourbon, Federal, Woongarra and Exile joining up.
A president was announced but from the clipping the NewsMail has seen it is hard to determine exactly who it was.
The story also revealed that the plan was to build a concrete wicket at the Showground to facilitate play, backed up by the 100-year anniversary book, which states it was one of the grounds used.
On October 6, in another meeting at the Queen’s Hotel, the formation of rules and fixtures would then be released.
It started the first season of the competition.
North Bundaberg Cricket Club would join the association with Barolin Cricket Club involved as well.
The association had its moments of struggle during the next three decades, which included World War One.
Since then the competition has thrived with more clubs joining or playing for small periods and then moving away.
Teams officially started playing for a competition in 1946 after World War Two.
Norths, formed in 1890, are still there to this day, but the other five are no longer in existence. Norths are currently joined by YMCA, Past Highs, The Waves, Isis and Brothers.
Previous clubs that were involved include Burnett Heads, Country-Diggers and Combined Country Western Suburbs, East End Outlaws and Yandaran.
And there were others not mentioned in the book or in the archives.
Over time the BCA has merged or joined up with other leagues.
In 1946 the Commercial Cricket Association, founded in 1925, joined after playing for almost 20 years at Olsen Park.
The Bundaberg Juniors was formed in 1968 as a separate entity to allow juniors to play before rejoining with the BCA in 2005.
One thing is for sure, no matter how long the association has been involved it has a proud history that continues to grow, year by year.