IT would be impossible for Stephen Bailey to quantify just how many hours he has far devoted to the mammoth task of chronicling the Queanbeyan District Cricket Club’s long and storied history.
Bailey and fellow former club president Michael Frost are carrying out the task in conjunction with the club’s 150th anniversary which will be officially celebrated next month.
As part of his research, Bailey has spent four hours a day, two days a week at the National Library in Canberra, tracking down every article relating to cricket in the region since the formation of the Queanbeyan Cricket club in 1863.
So far, the former first-grade premiership player has focused on the club’s earliest era from its foundation through to 1922 when it officially joined the ACT’s first cricketing association.
Combined with his time spent painstakingly retyping nearly seven decades worth of newspaper and cricket reports into one single compendium, Bailey estimates he has devoted hundreds of hours to the effort.
But he said the advent of the club’s 150th anniversary meant now was the perfect time to attempt the enormous undertaking.
“If it gets left alone now, come the 200th anniversary the job will be that much harder,” he said.
“I started with Queanbeyan in 1964 so I’ve been around forever and you never lose that enthusiasm for the club,” he said. “This just seemed like a worthwhile exercise and it’s the kind of thing that will only ever get done once.
“There’s a lot of material there that will be lost forever unless someone actually consolidates it into something that’s accessible. It’s obviously never going to be a best-seller but it’s important for the club to know where it’s come from.”
The formation of the Queanbeyan District Cricket Club is dated to an article in the January 8, 1863 edition of The Golden Age detailing the earliest known appointment of club office bearers.
While focusing on the club’s early years in the lead up to next month’s celebrations, Bailey said the ultimate goal was to compile a complete history of Queanbeyan cricket from 1863 to the present day.
As part of the club’s sesquicentennial commemorations, all current and former players are being invited to attend a formal dinner/cocktail party at Freebody Cricket Pavilion on Saturday, February 23.