26 September 2023

Sporting nation scores in National Library

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Sporting stories are being celebrated at the National Library of Australia (NLA) in a new exhibition, opening this week (9 June).

Director-General of NLA, Marie-Louise Ayres said the Grit & Gold: Tales from a Sporting Nation exhibition captured the spirit of Australian life.

“Our collections tell a vast range of stories highlighting the triumphs and tribulations of human endeavour, including the contributions made by many to Australia’s rich sporting heritage,” Dr Ayres said.

“The National Library may not necessarily be a place many would associate with sport, but when you consider the stories and societal impacts of sport and the contributions of the people who play and support it, you really get a sense of how valuable it is to the cultural fabric of our nation.”

She said among the highlights on display are a selection of Emma McKeon’s gold medals from various Olympic and Commonwealth Games; the outfit worn by Ash Barty during her victorious 2021 Wimbledon campaign; an autographed cricket bat used by Don Bradman; the ‘State of Origin’ shield awarded from 1980 to 1991 depicting Brett Kenny and Wally Lewis; and an Olympic torch from the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

“Other material in the exhibition includes scorecards, trophies, books, pamphlets, photographs, drawings and clothing relating to swimming, tennis, cricket, the Olympics and Paralympics, NRL, AFL, sailing and boxing to name a few,” the Director-General said.

“The 160 items on display are drawn from the collections of the National Library of Australia and other national cultural institutions, photographic archives, sporting museums, and local sports associations and clubs.”

Dr Ayres said the exhibition was exclusive to Canberra and would run until 5 November.

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