Under the recent humiliation of England’s defeat in the ashes maybe the birth place of the ashes is not on every Englishman’s top reading topic. However there is next year, so here is a brief explanation of the tradition of the Ashes between Australia and England.
The term ‘The Ashes’ originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, immediately after Australia’s 1882 victory at the Oval, their first ever Test win in England. The artical stated that English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.The mythical ashes immediately became associated with the 1882/83 series played in Australia before which the English captain Ivo Bligh had vowed to “regain those ashes”. The English media therefore dubbed the tour the quest to regain the Ashes.
After England had won two of the three Tests on the tour, a small urn was presented to Bligh by a group of Melbourne women including Florence Morphy whom Bligh married within a year. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of a wooden bail, and were humorously described as “the ashes of Australian cricket”.
All this took place at Rupertswood mansion which is located in Sunbury, About 40 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. Rupertswood was a social hub for the world’s upper class. King George V, Queen Mary, the Duke and Duchess of York and Dame Nellie Melba are reported to have stayed at the mansion, which at one stage had its own militia and railway station.
Rupertswood is now a very successful hotel and wedding venue and holding all sorts of other corporate events. The Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay team travelled to the area, where a re-enactment of the handing over of The Ashes to the British took place, in front of a small local crowd.