Ashes museum move

By Jessica Micallef

Sunbury’s claim to fame as the birthplace of the Ashes will soon be set in stone.

The Old Sunbury Courthouse will be transformed into an Ashes museum.

During last Monday’s Hume council meeting, councillors gave the green light for the Sunbury Historical and Heritage Society to tell the story of the town’s cricket history in a dedicated Ashes museum.

Sunbury claimed the title as the birthplace of the Ashes after an 1882 cricket match between an English touring team and a local side at the famous Rupertswood manor. After the match, Rupertswood’s Lady Janet Clarke presented an urn containing the ashes of burnt bails to the English captain Ivo Bligh.

The courthouse, at 43 Macedon Street, has been used as the Sunbury Visitor Information Centre for 26 years but the visitor centre will be relocated to the Hume Global Learning Centre in Sunbury upon its opening in December.

The council undertook expressions of interests in March for interested groups and organisations to propose their idea for use of the courthouse site. The council received seven applications.

Sunbury Historical and Heritage Society president Peter Free said the museum would be a “great tourist attraction” for the town.

“Sunbury’s the birthplace of The Ashes, which is very important to the cricket world and to the history of Sunbury,” he said.

“We haven’t told the story, so with the museum, that’s what we hope to do.

“A lot of people come to Sunbury and they want to know where the Ashes were played and there’s nowhere to tell it.”

Mr Free said he hoped to get the museum up and running by March next year.

“We want to do it properly, we want to make sure that it’s going to be a really good exhibition,” he said.

“It’ll have a lot of cricket memorabilia. It’s in the very beginning of the planning stage. We want to make sure we’ve done the displays and the stories correctly.”

Hume mayor Carly Moore said the society’s proposal was a perfect fit for the Old Sunbury Courthouse.