Lacrosse on the BIG screen


With the release of the new feature lacrosse film starring Brandon Routh (also played Superman) we asked Doug Fox if we have ever seen Lacrosse on the big screen in Australia.  Well, sure enough, Doug went to great lengths to get the answer, which in itself was a surprise.

Nowdays we take for granted the opportunity to watch live televised sport or review past events with the aid of film or video copies.  Camcorder devices are inexpensive and easy to use so there is plenty of lacrosse footage available for people interested in seeing what the game looks like.

The showing of animated silent movies in public theatres commenced in Australia around 1911-12 and lacrosse featured as one of the early news items in the weekly Pathé's Gazette.  Pathé's Gazette was a newsreel compilation covering topical local events and international news and was screened alongside comics as support material to the feature films of the day.

The newsreel listing for the Princess Theatre in Launceston for the 15th October, 1913 included the following:

"Interstate lacrosse, Adelaide v Sydney; the new Zoological Gardens; Interstate Hockey, South Australia v Victoria; big fire in Auburn NSW; docking the cruiser Melbourne; football Association game, Melbourne v Brunswick; Olympic games; Yachting season; £40,000 racehorse; bank holidays; preparations for the Cowes regatta; Princess Mary and Prince Albert by the seaside; railway smash; on board H.M.A.S Australia and the Australian flag and ships".

The lacrosse match referred to was the South Australia v NSW match which took place in Melbourne on the 13th August 1912 as part of the second Australian Interstate Carnival.  SA won the match by 14 goals to 1.

Frenchman, Charles Pathé was the pioneer of the moving image in Paris in the 1890's.  By 1910 Pathé's Gazette was being produced in London on a bi-weekly basis.  Sound was not added to the newsreel productions until 1930.

old movieSome titles from the Pathé Gazette have been preserved in the Australian Film Archives but, unfortunately, the lacrosse match is not one of these.  So far as we can tell, the earliest preserved moving film of lacrosse in Australia comes from the 1959 Australia v USA match played before 10,000 spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

If our readers have in their possession other historical lacrosse film or video we would be pleased to hear about it so that we can help with its preservation - email Lacrosse Victoria

(Prepared by Doug Fox)


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