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Ashes Won, Now Urn Prepares For Return To Melbourne

09 September 2019

Victorians will be able to revel in Australia’s Ashes victory for months to come with the original Ashes urn coming to the State Library as the centrepiece of a major new exhibition.

Celebrating the win, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said the urn will come home to Victoria for only the third time in its history as part of the upcoming Velvet, Iron, Ashes exhibition – a ground-breaking showcase that will explore the surprising connections between some of the state’s greatest stories.

Cricket lovers usually must make the long trip to England to see the iconic trophy, with the urn kept behind glass at Lord’s in London.

Melbourne’s free, interactive exhibition will celebrate the origins of the Ashes urn, which started as a light-hearted joke 137 years ago in Sunbury before becoming a symbol of one of sport’s fiercest rivalries.

It will also reveal the urn’s unexpected connection to notorious bushranger Ned Kelly, as well as key objects and stories from Victoria’s history.

Marylebone Cricket Club has exclusively loaned the urn to the Library as part of the first exhibition to be staged in the new Victoria Gallery, a stunning heritage gallery opening as part of the Library’s $88 million Vision 2020 redevelopment.

This significant redevelopment has been supported by an investment of $60.4 million from the Andrews Labor Government.

The Ashes will be on display at the State Library Victoria from November 2019 until February 2020. The Victoria Gallery has been made possible through an endowment by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation.

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Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley

“While just 11cm high, the Ashes looms large in Victoria and Australia’s story. We look forward to putting the urn on display in an exhibition that will be a big part of State Library Victoria’s exciting new chapter.”

“The Ashes urn is one of the most famous and contested items in sport and a symbol of rivalry that spans generations. Today’s win will be made even sweeter when we welcome it home to Victoria.”

“Velvet, Iron, Ashes will be the first exhibition to showcase the new spaces that have been created through the transformative Vision 2020 redevelopment.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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