Nearly 100 years of WA cricket history washed over Ashton Agar as he cradled a cap believed to be a unique treasure from the game’s past.
The maroon, green and yellow cap with a black swan hand-stitched on the front was worn in 1920 by State cricketer Henry Nurse, who served with the 8th Field Artillery Brigade in World War I.
WACA Museum co-ordinator Stephen Hall believed the cap was the only one of its kind still in existence. He said it was a gift from the Nurse family.
“It’s very significant,” Mr Hall said. “When you look at the photographic history of the WA representative teams going right through 1920 and 1921, they were all wearing something similar to this cap and then in 1925 they moved to a more traditional black cap with the WA lettering.
“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to connect the physical cap to those photographs.”
Agar said he was curious about the cap’s colouring and was humbled to hold it, saying his WA caps were among his most prized possessions.
“It’s pretty special and I have to respect that so much,” he said.
“One of our biggest values at the WACA is respecting the past and this is what it’s all about.
“Just to hold that cap and feel the history, it’s pretty cool.”
Ironically, in a picture of the WA team that played a touring England side in a match at the WACA in 1920, Nurse is the only player not wearing the cap.
“By all accounts, as the family explained, he was a really tall guy with a big head and it’s quite possible that he decided for the sake of the photograph that he’d tuck the cap away so he didn’t look too silly,” Mr Hall said, adding that Nurse took five wickets in the match, including legendary English batsman Jack Hobbs.
Nurse was attached to the British Army in London in the late 1920s and again during World War II.
He was also believed, on his return from the war, to have played in the WAFL with South Fremantle. He retired from the army as a brigadier in the 1950s and diedin 1981.