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Melbourne Cricket Club marks 175 years
Australia's oldest and largest sporting club, the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), is celebrating 175 years since its formation with a number of activities throughout 2013.
The MCC was founded on 15th November 1838 when five men - Frederick Powlett, Robert Russell, George B. Smyth and brothers Alfred and Charles Mundy - agreed to form a cricket club to be known as the Melbourne Cricket Club.
Since then, the club has been an integral part of Melbourne life - principally as venue manager of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), but also as a large, diverse club comprising people from all walks of life and backgrounds. For generations, MCC membership has been one of the most keenly sought-after in Australia.
Throughout this year there will be opportunities for the public, MCC members and waiting list candidates to recognise a milestone reached by few other institutions in Melbourne. These include:
• An open day on the MCG and in the Members Reserve for MCC members, waiting list candidates and the public.
• A gala dinner for MCC members and guests.
• A commemorative cricket match on the MCG between two of the world's oldest sporting clubs - the MCC and the UK's Marylebone Cricket Club - on 31st December, following the Boxing Day Test between Australia and England.
MCC President Paul Sheahan said he was honoured to be leading the club through its 175th year.
Sheahan explained "the MCC is more than just a large group of members based at the MCG.
"It was prominent in developing the colony's cricket and played a major role in guiding the game until after the turn of the 20th century. It was also highly influential in the establishment of other sports in Victoria, including tennis, baseball and lacrosse.
"For almost two centuries, the MCC has funded and managed the largest and most attended stadium in Australia and today we also operate as a heritage preserver, tourism operator and custodian of public parkland.
"We invite our members and the broader public to participate in the festivities and join us in celebrating this rare and wonderful achievement."
Melbourne Cricket Club facts
• Two days after the foundation of the Club, after purchasing the necessary cricket equipment, the members of the MCC played their first match, among themselves, near the present site of the Royal Mint.
• The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is a private club, incorporated under the Melbourne Cricket Club Act 1974.
• The MCC also has the public responsibility of managing one of the largest and the most successful stadiums in Australia and the world – the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Management of the MCG is vested in the MCC by the government-appointed MCG Trust and an Act of Parliament guarantees the club's occupation of about 20% of the stadium for its Members Reserve.
• The keenness of Melburnians to belong to their club and retain membership, often for life, has been a major factor in enabling the club to develop the stadium, until the early nineties, almost exclusively through the use of members' funds.
• Assuming occupancy of the MCG's present site (its second) in 1853, the MCC has 102,725 members (comprising 61,746 Full members and 40,978 Restricted members).
• There are 227,537 people on the waiting list for MCC membership. The most recent intake of members, which occurred in July 2012, included those who were nominated between 1st September and 31st October 1995.
• Along with the playing of cricket, today's MCC is an umbrella organisation for hundreds of participants in community sport through 12 different sports - baseball, bowls, croquet, football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, real tennis, target shooting, squash, tennis and netball.
• The MCC has set benchmarks for the construction of sporting stadiums in Australia, hosted countless VFL and AFL Grand Finals, international cricket matches including the first-ever Test and One-day International, royal pageants, concerts and religious gatherings, and transformed the stadium to host the 1956 Olympics and 2006 Commonwealth Games.
• Today, the MCC continues to embrace modern technology, devoting substantial funding to provide modern facilities to the three million-plus people who visit the MCG annually.
• Since its inception, the MCC has regarded preservation and display of its rich heritage collection as paramount.
* The showcasing of this heritage when hosting visitors and significant events at the ground, via the MCC Library and MCC Museum, has given the club an enviable reputation.
* The MCC also manages the National Sports Museum, a multi-sport tourist attraction located on two levels inside Gate 3 of the Olympic Stand at the MCG. This year the National Sports Museum celebrates its fifth anniversary.
• Since March 2010, the MCC is also responsible for the day-to-day management of Yarra Park, a multi-use park adjacent to the MCG.
• In a major environmental initiative, a $24 million water recycling facility was installed in 2012 and is capable of producing 180 million litres of recycled water each year – providing a secure, sustainable supply of water to the heritage-listed Yarra Park, Punt Road Oval and toilet flushing at the MCG.
For more information about the MCC's 175th anniversary go to www.mcc.org.au
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