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Australasian Gazette – The Last Innings of Victor Trumper (1915)

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Clip description

This newsreel footage shows part of the funeral procession of Australian cricketer Victor Trumper. A large group of men march in front of a horse-drawn vehicle carrying the casket of Victor Trumper as it approaches a Sydney cemetery.

Curator’s notes

Victor Trumper was one of the most popular cricketers of his time and was renowned for his stylish batting technique. He was the first Australian to score a triple century during his first international tour in England in 1899 and became the first batsman to score a test century before lunch at Old Trafford, England in 1902.

He died on 28 June 1915 at the age of 37. On the day of his funeral, which is briefly captured in this newsreel, 20,000 people lined the streets of Sydney, forming a 3.5-mile procession behind his funeral cortege. He was survived by his wife, his son who later played cricket for New South Wales and his daughter.

Being silent, this newsreel starts with a title card which explains what the audience will see on screen. No further facts or information about the event was detailed on the newsreel including no further intertitles.

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This silent black-and-white clip shows newsreel footage of the funeral of Australian cricketer Victor Trumper in 1915. It opens with an intertitle that reads ‘The Last Innings of Victor Trumper. The Champion of Champions’, then shows the funeral procession making its way down a Sydney street. A long line of male mourners walks past the camera, followed by a horsedrawn hearse bearing Trumper’s flower-strewn coffin, with pallbearers walking alongside. A second carriage laden with flowers follows. Onlookers line both sides of the procession route.

Educational value points

  • Victor Trumper (1877–1915) was described by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac of the time as ‘the best batsman in the world’. He played 255 first-class matches, hit 42 centuries and scored 16,939 first-class runs at an average of 44.58, which included a highest score of 300 not out. During the 1902 tour of England, in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, he became the first cricketer to score a century before lunch. After a period of indifferent health, he died from Bright’s disease at age 37.
  • Trumper’s sporting fame meant that his funeral was a large public event, with 20,000 mourners joining the funeral procession as it made its way to Waverley Cemetery in Sydney. In the early years of the 20th century funerals were lavish affairs and usually included a funeral procession with a horsedrawn hearse and coffin draped in mourning fabrics. Soon after Trumper’s funeral, the huge loss of life in the First World War (1914–18) made such displays seem inappropriate.
  • The mourners in Trumper’s funeral procession were nearly all male, as it was not the custom at the time for women other than family members to take part in the funeral procession to the cemetery or to attend the interment. As was usual until the 1950s, some of the men who lined the procession route paid their respects by pausing and taking off (doffing) their hats as the casket passed by.
  • Such was the Australian public’s affection for Trumper that in 1913 as his health declined, a match was played for his benefit between the New South Wales state side and cricketers from ‘the rest of Australia’, raising about £3,000 in gate money and donations. Trumper co-owned two sports stores but was a poor businessman. His estate was valued at £5.
  • At a time when the newly federated nation was forming a sense of national identity, Trumper’s success, particularly against England, stirred feelings of patriotism. The importance of cricket for Australian nationalism was highlighted by an article in The Bulletin magazine, which stated that a ‘rout of English cricket will do – and has done – more to enhance the cause of Australian nationality than could ever be achieved by miles of erudite essays and impassioned appeal’.

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  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

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