New Prize for Victorian Lacrosse

Fergus Stewart, Victorian Lacrosse Foundation Chair (left) hands over the Shappere Urn to incoming Lacrosse Victoria Chairperson, Josh Anderson
Fergus Stewart, Victorian Lacrosse Foundation Chair (left) hands over the Shappere Urn to incoming Lacrosse Victoria Chairperson, Josh Anderson  

An important new opportunity for Victorian lacrosse was initiated this week with the donation to Lacrosse Victoria of an historically significant silver urn lacrosse trophy that has remained hidden for 134 years.  The trophy is the oldest known existing lacrosse trophy established by a lacrosse association for inter-club competition in Australia and the world.

The return of this trophy to Lacrosse Victoria is a fascinating and curious story and now has the potential to have a positive impact on the growth of our sport.

The trophy dates from 1883 when it was donated as the prize for the Premier team in inter-club competition by Phillip Shappere, a pioneer player and administrator during the early years of the Victorian Lacrosse Association.  The South Melbourne Lacrosse Club won the trophy in 1883 and again in 1884, earning the right under the rules stipulated at the time to retain it permanently.  Instead, the club elected to donate the trophy to the Gordon brothers, the star players of their club who had been primarily responsible for the premiership wins.  

Nothing was seen of the silver urn until it appeared for sale on Ebay in 2018.  Presumably it had been cared for and handed down among descendants of the Gordon family.  

Recognizing the historical significance of the trophy for Victorian lacrosse, the Trustees of the Victorian Lacrosse Foundation (VLF) resolved to purchase it and return it to where it rightly belongs in the archives of Lacrosse Victoria.  The acquisition was pursued and achieved with the help of Mary Millar (ex-Eltham Club President) and a few passionate helpers within the lacrosse community.  Rather than having this special trophy hidden in a museum or bank vault, the VLF Trustees proposed that the urn be returned for use by Lacrosse Victoria as a special annual award to recognize the club, group or individual judged to have made the best, or most innovative, contribution to lacrosse growth. 

Ferg Stewart, Chair of Trustees for the VLF, this week passed the trophy to Josh Anderson, the incoming Chair of Lacrosse Victoria.   The award will commence for 2019.  Click here for the guidelines and to make nominations for this prestigious award. 

When commenting on the donation, Ferg Stewart said, “The trophy will be known as the ‘Shappere Urn’ in recognition of the outstanding contribution made by its original donor, Phillip Shappere, an untiring prime-mover for over forty years in the establishment of our sport and also a VLA President for 21 years, 1895-1915.   We hope that our lacrosse community will embrace the opportunity of striving to win the annual award that now goes with the Urn by embracing a push for growth and coming up with great development projects”.

Accepting the donation on behalf of Lacrosse Victoria, Josh Anderson congratulated the VLF Trustees on their initiative and stated that the Association was delighted to see an important part of Victorian lacrosse history preserved and also have the added bonus of a “growth incentive” award that looks to the future.  He commented further that... “Much of our lacrosse history is lost when families discard historically important lacrosse memorabilia, photographs and records during a home clean-up or on the passing of a family member.   Before doing this, we encourage people to contact Doug Fox, LV Historian, and either donate the items to our archives or loan them for scanning”. Doug can be contacted by email dougwfox@bigpond.com.au or by phone 0488 241 100.

 

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