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Cricket’s legendary Ashes Urn will be the centrepiece of a major free exhibition opening at the State Library Victoria later this year, with the support of the Victorian Government.

The original Ashes Urn, which symbolises cricket’s greatest rivalry between Australia and England, is coming home to Victoria for only the third time in 137 years. 

It will form part of the library’s largest ever free exhibition, Velvet, Iron, Ashes, a powerplay which will explore the surprising connections between some of Victoria’s best known, and not so known, stories.
The interactive exhibition will reveal the true origins of the Ashes Urn – from a mock funeral notice, a precious perfume jar and a family cricket match – and its little-known connections to Ned Kelly, Yallourn power station and even Nappy Wash.
The Urn is normally kept behind glass at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, with only replicas appearing in Australia, but England’s Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has agreed for it to be part of the first exhibition in the new Victoria Gallery, endowed by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation.
Velvet, Iron, Ashes will open in Spring 2019 in the library’s new gallery, one of the stunning heritage spaces to be returned to public use as part of $88.1 million State Library Victoria Vision 2020 redevelopment.

The massive transformation is supported by the Victorian Government and generous philanthropic donations. State Library Victoria is one of the most visited public libraries in the world, welcoming around 2 million people each year.

Updated on 26 May 2023