In the 1930s and 40s cricket bats were a precious thing. Around the world, bats were in short supply, largely due to an increase in demand for English willow (Salix alba var. caerulea) for use in a range of items both during and after the Second World War. As was noted in correspondence between J. M. Crockett and The Commissioner of the Australian Council of Agriculture in July 1940:
every available tree of this type has been taken over in Gt Britain for War Purposes, the chief item being aircraft construction, the timber being the best substitute for spruce, which is all tied up now in countries occupied by the enemy … The other uses for this willow is artificial limbs for which no other timber is suitable, and recently has [been found to have] the quickest, and most powerful detonation as a component in high explosive fuses for shells … So you can see that none of the tree is not of high commercial value.
As a cricket bat manufacturer, J. M. Crockett (Jim) had obvious motives in writing to the Commissioner and highlighting both the current global willow shortages and the value of willow timber more broadly; he wanted to propose the planting of willow trees as a viable and profitable agricultural activity in Australia. As Jim Crockett continues in his letter, ‘in normal times Australia’s requirements alone is 100,000 cricket bats annually, for which 4,500 mature trees would be required to produce the same.’ Kashmiri willow, which today is a major source of cricket bat willow, had not yet been fully developed as an industry outside of India, and so the bat-making industry was having to look further afield to other sources of willow. Australia, and most particularly the cooler and wetter climate of Tasmania, was certainly a strong option worth exploring. Over the next few years Jim Crockett made several visits to Tasmania, noting the ‘climatic conditions ideal’ for willow bat propagation. Indeed, he went so far as to state that ‘not only could Tasmania make Australia self-sufficient, but an export trade to the empire’s cricketing Dominions was extremely likely.’
Continue reading “Isn’t it good, Taswegian Wood: Experiments in Growing Cricket Bat Willow Trees and a Wooden Cricket Pitch”
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this post contains images and voices of deceased persons.
This blog features some of the recently digitised items from the Tasmanian Archives and the State Library of Tasmania. Each year, we place items online to help promote and preserve our rare and special collections. These images and films are just a tiny sample of an amazing treasure trove of Tasmania’s heritage. From colonial artwork to convict records, fragile glass plate negatives to rare films, private letters to government records, our collections (including the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts and the W L Crowther Collection) tell millions of stories from Tasmania and around the world.
Read on to find out more about our new additions to our digital collections! To discover even more, you can also search our catalogue or visit us on Flickr and YouTube.
In this blog:
- Peter Laurie Reid Carte-De-Visite Collection, c1860 – Ref: NS1442/1/1 to 53
- Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 – Ref: NS6607/1/1 to 14
- Stereoscopic Photographs of Emu Bay Burnie, c1890 – Ref: NS6664/1/1 to 5
- Stereoscopic photographs taken by George Benjamin Davies for submission to the Postal Stereoscopic Society of Australia, c1921 – Ref: NS6538/1/1 to 33
- Tasmanian Government Tourist Bureau photographs – AA375
- Photograph of Fanny Cochrane Smith and Horace Watson recording Tasmanian Aboriginal Songs: NS1553/1/1798
- Illustrated Travelogue July 1919 – Ref: NS6853
- Fountain in Governor’s garden, Port Arthur – Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts
- Drawing of George Meredith, Senior – Ref: LMSS12/1/72
- Photographs from the Trustees of the Tasmanian Public Library – Ref: SLT23
- Wills Image Replacement Project: AD960/1/1
- Diary of Police Duties kept by Charles H. Brown, District Constable, Coal Mines, Tasman Peninsula 1853 – Ref: CON129/1/1
- Index to General Correspondence, 1836-7 – Ref: CSO4
Continue reading “Recently Digitised Material: October-December 2020”
The Bream Creek Show Society recently donated a collection of its posters from the 1930s to the 1950s to Libraries Tasmania. Whilst we already held some samples of Bream Creek posters, the donation by the Show committee means that we now have a solid and substantial record of this iconic rural event. With the 2020 Show one of the many public events cancelled in this particular historical moment, we are publishing this blog as a celebration of the Show’s long history – and look forward to its re-emergence in 2021.
Continue reading “The History of the Bream Creek Show: 1896 – the Present”
The Soldier Land Settlement Scheme was created to help settle returned soldiers on the land after the First and Second World Wars.
“The Returned Soldiers’ Settlement Act, 1916,” and the amending Acts of 1917 and 1918, make provision for the Settlement on land in the State of Tasmania of any returned soldiers with satisfactory discharges, and who have had previous farming experience, desirous of following this occupation. – Government Printer 1919
Continue reading “Soldier Land Settlement Scheme”