Sample of soil from the Sydney Cricket Ground pitch

Soil from the SCG pitch , c. 1932–38
R 939/3

'Once upon a time’ a librarian was sorting boxes of manuscripts and came upon a small bundle of objects related to our sporting collections. One of the objects was a lump of soil. Affixed to one side was a typed label that read ‘Hamilton Soil for to[p] dressing the Sydney C.G. wicket’ and above this was a handwritten notation, ‘July 1932’.

Bulli soil, mined from the base of the Illawarra escarpment, has been used for the Sydney Cricket Ground pitch for over 120 years. In the 1920s the groundsman, Bill Stuart, looked for alternative sources as Bulli soil was sometimes difficult to obtain. Stuart used Hamilton soil for the pitch in the early 1930s. This sample was probably souvenired from the soil used to dress the pitch for the ‘Bodyline’ series — the English Ashes tour of Australia in the summer of 1932–33.