Montrose ... and Aussie Cricket ... and The Ashes

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Montrose is not a place I would immediately connect with international cricket, writes Peter McIver, and certainly not Australian cricket, yet David Scott, one of her sons, played a very important role in cricket in Australia during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

David Scott was born in Montrose on July 21, 1847. His father (also David Scott) was a wheelwright by trade, but like many others at that time caught gold fever and brought his family to Australia, landing in Melbourne in 1854.

The family settled in Pegleg Gully which is now part of Eaglehawk where David Scott Senior, operated a puddling machine and did well for himself.

It was in Bendigo that Dave befriended Harry Boyle and this friendship defined his life. Harry Boyle was one of Australian cricket’s early greats and bowled the last ball of the game at Kennington Oval in August 1882 which got out Edmund Peate and created the legend of ‘The Ashes’.

Whilst history has largely forgotten the players of this era, their importance in helping create a national sense of identity in Australia should not be underestimated.

Following the great success of the 1878 tour, Harry Boyle and Dave Scott set up Boyle and Scott’s Australian Cricket, Football and Sports Warehouse. The importance of this business in the development of cricket in Victoria and the early Australian teams cannot be overstated.

Scott’s obituary in The Argus stating that: “Their place of business soon became the regular meeting place of all cricketers, and it was their establishment of the Boyle and Scott Cup for junior cricketers which did so much for the game.” Equally importantly, Boyle and Scott played a very important role in organising the tours of the Australian Eleven throughout the 1880s.

It is for his encyclopaedic knowledge of cricket that Dave Scott will be most remembered and earned him his nickname ‘The Almanac’. His work was published in papers in both Australia and England. He was held in such regard that he was asked to contribute stories for The Memorial Biography of W.G. Grace.

Boyle and Scott also published The Australian Cricketer’s Guide which was influential in both Australia and England for the tips it gave to junior cricketers.

David Scott died in September 1922 with his contribution to the game of cricket in Australia widely recognised in the press. He left a wife, a daughter two sons and several grandchildren.