State Library Victoria scores The Ashes Urn

Media release

Thursday 14 March 2019


For the first time in more than a decade, the iconic Ashes Urn will leave Lord’s Cricket Ground to feature in a new exhibition at State Library Victoria.

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has exclusively loaned the Ashes Urn – a symbol of rivalry between England and Australia – for the inaugural exhibition in the Library’s new world-class gallery space.

The Ashes Urn will be on display at the Library in December 2019 as part of its new state-of-the-art exhibition, Velvet, Iron, Ashes – the Library’s largest ever free exhibition exploring the surprising connections between some of Victoria’s greatest stories.

The exhibition will reveal the true origins of the Ashes Urn – from a mock funeral notice, a precious perfume jar and a family cricket match in Sunbury. Visitors will learn how the Ashes are connected to the story of Ned Kelly, Yallourn power station, and even Nappy Wash.

State Library Victoria CEO, Kate Torney, said she was excited to welcome the seminal Urn to the Library this year.

“We are thrilled to have the chance to bring to life the wonderful stories surrounding the Ashes tradition, which of course, began here in Melbourne. The history of the Urn is very much woven into the history of this state and with the MCC’s generous support, the Ashes Urn will be the centrepiece of our vibrant new interactive exhibition, Velvet, Iron, Ashes,” said Ms Torney.

Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley said: “Cricket lovers and history buffs will be bowled over by this rare opportunity to get up close to the iconic Ashes Urn.”

“The Ashes Urn will be the centrepiece of Velvet, Iron, Ashes – the first exhibition to hit the deck in the Library’s brand new Victoria Gallery and it is the largest and most ambitious to date,” said Mr Foley.

MCC Chief Executive & Secretary, Guy Lavender said: “We are delighted to loan the Ashes Urn, a symbolic and special treasure, to State Library Victoria. The story of the Ashes Urn is one that captivates so many people around the world and the State Library’s exhibition is a very fitting place for its story to be told.”

Velvet, Iron, Ashes will open in spring 2019, and is set to establish a global benchmark in library exhibitions. It will be housed in the new Victoria Gallery, endowed by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation, which has been established as part of State Library Victoria’s ambitious $88.1 million redevelopment, Vision 2020.

The Ashes Urn will be on display from December 2019–February 2020.

For more information about Velvet, Iron, Ashes, please visit: www.slv.vic.gov.au/velvet-iron-ashes

Outside of State Library Victoria’s exhibition, the Ashes Urn is on permanent display in the MCC Museum and can be viewed as part of a tour of Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. For further information or to book a tour visit: www.lords.org/tours