Tasmanian cricket's new museum and library, celebrating the sport and its long history in the State, was officially launched by the Deputy Premier, Mr Paul Lennon MHA, at Bellerive Oval yesterday (Thursday 6 February).
The state of the art facility will be one of Australia's most technologically advanced sporting museums, offering visitors a chance to test their skills in batting and umpiring - an experience of cricket as they've never known it before.
During its development the museum was rated among the world's best cricket heritage centres by visiting interstate and international cricketing officials and enthusiasts.
The museum and library are part of the major redevelopment of Bellerive Oval. Completion of the new work was marked by an official ceremony on 11 January.
The facility, spread over 300 square metres in the newly established TCA members' pavilion, is the result of years of planning by the TCA to develop an exciting, comprehensive and high-quality heritage centre for Tasmanian cricket.
The museum will highlight the traditions of cricket in Tasmania, which in the early years of the 19th century was a major cricketing colony and host to Australia's inaugural first-class match in 1851. A time-line of key figures and events depicts the story of the sport on the island.
Highlights are displays of memorabilia of Charles Eady, an early Tasmanian test cricketer, and modern-era test great David Boon, as well as the ball from the inaugural first-class match and the national one-day champions' Gillette Cup, won by Tasmania in 1979.
TCA Chairman Mr Denis Rogers commended the planning group for its high level of commitment and professionalism in developing the museum.
"Not only our cricketing community but also the people of Tasmania generally can be proud of this sporting heritage centre," he said.
"Whether or not you have been interested in cricket, this will provide you with an enjoyable experience of a slice of Tasmanian history and a chance to find out why so many people are passionate about the cricketer's way of life.
For those who know and love the game, video and computer-based information will provide new insights into Australia's most popular sport.
Interactive displays give visitors a chance to test their batting skills against different bowling speeds and their umpiring skills in actual cricket scenarios, while videos of players, umpires and match situations will inform, instruct and inspire visitors in the spirit and history of cricket.
One the world's foremost cricket statistical databases, developed in Tasmania, enables statistical buffs to obtain all manner of information from batting and bowling averages to figures on run-outs, off-side sixes and sticky-wicket performance.
Alongside the Museum is a 3000-volume cricket library, open to TCA members, guests and students of the game's history. Features of the Library are the noted cricket book collection of Max Atwell and historical Tasmanian records.
An additional feature of the new-look Bellerive Oval will be guided tours of the ground's many facilities, taking in the oval itself, scoreboard and replay screen, media rooms including Richie Benaud's `studio', and players' and members' facilities.
Education will be a strong component of the displays, and schools will be encouraged to bring classes to the Oval as part of their studies of sport and society. Catering for tour visitors and community groups also figures prominently in future plans for the Museum..
The TCA plans to have the full array of new visitor services made available over coming months. For further information email museum@tascricket.com.au or telephone the TCA at 6211 4000.