Charles Lawrence (cricketer)

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Charles Lawrence
Cricket information
Batting Right-handed batsman
Bowling Right-arm medium
International information
National side
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 9
Runs scored 227
Batting average 15.13
100s/50s 0/1
Top score 78
Balls bowled
Wickets 38
Bowling average 10.94
5 wickets in innings 4
10 wickets in match 2
Best bowling 7/25
Catches/stumpings 7/0
Source: CricInfo

Charles Lawrence (16 December 1828 – 20 December 1916) was a Surrey cricketer, represented England but is most notable as the captain-coach of the Aborigine cricket team that toured England in 1868, the first ever tour of England by an Australian team.[1]

Teams: Merton CC,Middlesex, Surrey, Perth CC Scotland, Caledonian CC Glasgow, Phoenix Ireland, The First United Ireland XI, The World X1,1861 Stephenson's England XI First tour of Australia, Albert CC New South Wales,1868 The First Australian touring X1 to England, Newcastle,1891 coach of the Juniors at the MCC.

Lawrence played for Surrey between 1854 and 1857 and, in the days before the establishment of what is now called Test match cricket, represented England on one of the very first international cricket tours, when the team visited Australia in 1861-2. Charles Lawrence, had a long life interest in cricket at the age of 17 was engaged by the Perth Club in Scotland, he came to prominence. In 1849 when he played against the All English X1 on tour in Scotland and he took all the English wickets for 24 runs.He was a major force behind the 1868 First Indigenous International Cricket team that toured England,

1851 he played for the Phoenix club Dublin.1856 Lawrence formed and captained the United All Ireland X1 were he became friends with Tom Wills who played a few games in his Ireland X1, later Charles joined the First All England X1 that toured Australia between 1861-1862. Soon after he was appointed Australia’s First professional cricket coach for the Albert Club in Sydney to raise the standard of cricket in the state, coaching at the Albert Club in Sydney

His life had not been without great sadness. By the time he sailed for Australia with Stephenson, he and his wife Anne had a son and two daughters, all Dublin born. The family joined him Down Under, but his wife Anne died at the hotel in November 1866, five days later, their Sydney born daughter also passed. His eldest daughter Anne may have accompanied the team to England in 1868, she is recorded as being with them on the return voyage. In 1871, he married again to Yorkshire born Emmaretta Denison. They had three daughters, two of whom died in infancy. Emmaretta was to die before her husband, in hospital, in December 1915. Ian Friend is Charles Lawrence's Great Great Grandson and the custodian of his diary Ian has been heavily involved in promoting his amazing cricket story.

Charles first saw the indigenous team under the instructions of Tom Wills who played a match at the Albert Ground.On this occasion there was some contract disagreement between the failed sponsor Gurnett and Tom Wills, the players were left in Sydney. Charles Lawrence was instructed to look after the aboriginal players at this time Charles was a Publican and billeted the players in his hotel in Manly until he could arrange some cricket matches to raise money to return the players to the western district of Victoria.

1868 Charles was contracted to coached and captain Australia’s‘First Eleven’ that toured England. He trained the players for two months at "Lake Wallace" Edenhope in the Western District before selecting a side to tour England.

The 1868 Aboriginal XI: Bullocky (Bullchanach), Mosquito (James Couzens, Grougarrong), Charley Dumas (Pripumuarraman), Peter (Arrahmunijarrimun), Dick-a-Dick (Yangendyinanyuk), Red Cap (Brimbunyah), Jim Crow (Lytejerbillijun), Sundown (Ballrinjarrimin), Johnny Cuzens (Zellanach), Tiger (Bonnibarngeet), Johnny Mullagh (Unaarrimin), Twopenny (Jarrawuk/Murrumgunarrimin), King Cole (Bripumyarrimin), Charles Lawrence (captain, coach).

After arriving in England, the Aboriginal XI proceeded to play 47 matches against county and local teams, between May and October 1868, including a match on the hallowed turf at Lord’s. Impressively, the Australian team won 14, drew 19 and lost 14 of their matches.

On his return to Sydney, the tour having lost £2000, a large sum then, Lawrence sold the hotel, which fell into disrepute for some time, and moved up the coast to Newcastle where he worked for 24 years as an official for NSW Railways. Here aged 55, he played for XVIII of Newcastle v Ivo Bligh's 1882/83 tourists.

1891 for 8 years Lawrence coached the juniors of the Melbourne Cricket Club until the age of 71.

His death notice reads " The Father of Australian Cricket tours"

  • 2002 - The Australian Sports Hall of Fame recognised the 1868 touring team for there contribution to sport.
  • 2004 - The 1868 team members were presented with cap numbers by Cricket Australia.
  • 2018 - Australia Post released a Stamp celebrating 150 years since the 1868 tour.

See also


  1. ^ Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.

External sources

  • Cricinfo profile, (inaccurately labelling Lawrence as Australian)
  • State Library of New South Wales
  • Surrey site account of Surrey v Aborigines
  • Charles Lawrence's first-class cricket career details at Cricketarchive

Charles Lawrence diary.

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