2012 : Lindsay Barrett




The Importance of Sport in Everyday Life: Frank Burge and 1921 Kangaroos


In 1922 the eminent trade unionist, ex-Labor politician, patron of the NSWRFL and President of South Sydney District RLFC, Fred Flowers, hosted a dinner in Sydney for the returning 1921-1922 ‘Australasian’ Kangaroo touring team. The Kangaroos were defeated by England two tests to one, nevertheless the tour had made a handsome financial profit, and Flowers declared that the return of the team was ‘an event that marked the importance of sport generally as it affects our everyday-life.’ Through family inheritance I am in possession of an album of photographs collected by Frank Burge which detail various moments from the 1921-1922 tour, of which he was a key participant. Taking Flowers’ observation on the role of sport in everyday life as its point of departure, the project will produce a cultural history of the tour, situating it within the social and political landscape of rugby league’s first decades.


Lindsay Barrett is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney.


The Tom Brock Fellowship has enabled me, in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, to produce a web-based archive displaying photographs drawn from an album assembled by Kangaroo forward Frank Burge of the 1921-1922 Kangaroo Tour of England:


Lindsay Barrett Tom Brock Scholar 2012