Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published August 27th 2021
Melbourne is widely viewed, I think, as the sports capital of Australia. Australian Rules Football was born here; the first rules were drawn up for the Melbourne Football Club in 1859. We have the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Australian Open tennis tournament is played in Melbourne. Let's not forget the Melbourne Cup, 'the race that stops the nation.' We've hosted the Australian Grand Prix since 1996. There's the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Tournament at Bells Beach, and the Australian Motor Cycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island; are they close enough to claim as Melbourne's own?
Australian Sports Museum, Melbourne - Image by Ank Kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
That's right, we are Melburnians and sport runs in our blood. You'd think then, that we would have no shortage of museums paying homage to our sporting passion. But to my surprise, this is perhaps not the case. That's not to say, those we have are lacking in quality, there is no doubt they are superb. But where are all the sports museums? Here's what I've found.
National Sports Museum - Image by Joyofmuseums, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Australian Sports Museum is located at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) itself. It would be hard to imagine a more fitting setting, but don't imagine for a moment it's just about the footy and cricket. It's true, I know, that Football and Cricket do have their own dedicated galleries, why wouldn't they? These galleries are managed by the Australian Football League and Cricket Australia respectively. But, as they say, 'wait there's more.' The Sporting Nation Gallery embraces sports of all types from all parts of the great nation, it even covers camel racing. Then, although many of us, do our sports from the spectator stands, that need not be the case here. In the Game On Gallery enter the virtual world and try your skills. Then there's the Horse Racing Gallery, the Olympic gallery and of course, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Makes you breathless just thinking about it, doesn't it, but fear not, although you can wander about yourself, guided tours are available. Itching to go, here's the dull data:
Location: Gate 3, MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), Yarra Park, East Melbourne. Website: https://www.australiansportsmuseum.org.au/ Email: email@example.com Telephone: (03) 9657 8879 Ticket Prices
The Australian Horse Racing Museum and Hall of Fame is run by Racing Victoria although it might be a little bit of a cheat to note it separately since its collection is on display at the aforementioned National Sports Museum at the MCG. The collection covers thoroughbred racing, the champions, and the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
Tennis anyone? Oh my, Melbourne; no tennis museum. Surely not! Tennis is a sport as old as Methuselah. Well, not quite, but it does date back to the twelfth century, and surely deserves its own share of homage. Hmm, shall we record here, in quiet whispers, that the Australian Tennis Museum is in fact, in Sydney. Melbourne, what were you thinking!
Can we count the rest of Victoria? They're not really in Melbourne are they, but let's give them a mention anyway.
The Stawell Gift Hall of Fame pays tribute to Australia's oldest short-distance foot race. Located, of course, at Central Park in Stawell. Click here to go to their website which has information for visitors.
Australian Sports Museum, Melbourne 1956 Olympics (Left) and Cathy Freemans Running Suit (right) - Images by Ank Kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0via Wikimedia Commons-side
The National Alpine Museum of Australia is in the village at Mt Buller. OK, it's not just a dedicated sports museum but it does cover the history of winter sport in Australia. Click here to visit their website where you'll find all the visitor information you need.
The Australian National Surfing Museum is in Torquay. It's all about Australian Surfing, both here and abroad and does have changes to exhibitions. Click here for details of everything you need to know and to see what's currently on exhibition, there's a lot.
Australian Sports Museum, Melbourne - Image by Ank Kumar, CC BY-SA 4., via Wikimedia Commons
The Johnny Mullagh Interpretive Centre also referred to as the Harrow Discovery Centre is in Harrow, (that's wet of the Grampians.) You might never have heard of Johnny Mullagh or of Harrow but this is kind of a big deal because Australia's first-ever team to tour internationally and our first cricket team to tour England was an aboriginal team in the 1860s. Johnny Mullagh was the star all-rounder in that team. In Harrow, they've made sure these boys aren't forgotten. Click here for more details.
So, there you have it. Have I missed any? Let me know in the answers box, let's build up a definitive list to answer the question: 'Where are Melbourne's sports museums?'