The First International Women's Cricket Tour

It is from the shoulders of Margaret Peden and Betty Archdale that the women’s game prospers today.

By Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Greatest Sporting Moments - Bradman Museum

Women's England Team in Whites, Ashes (1934/1935) by Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Australia V England

In 1934 the secretary of the Australian Women's Cricket Association, Margaret Peden, sent invitations to both England and New Zealand to tour Australia during the summer of 1934-35 and take part in a triangular series. New Zealand declined the offer however England accepted with delight and began making preparations for the tour. It was envisaged that the English team would travel to Australia, arriving in Perth, via the Suez Canal, and return by the Panama with the estimated cost of the return journey of £80 to be borne by the players.

In addition to being secretary, Margaret Peden was also appointed Captain of the Australian team.

In preparation for the Test series, Peden along with her equally talented sister Barbara (1907-1984), an architect and cricketer, set up the first indoor coaching centre in Australia located at the Salvation Army Building on Elizabeth Street, Sydney.

The three-Test series was comprehensively won by the more experienced English, captained by Betty Archdale who later emigrated to Australia. Archdale was conscious of lingering unrest from the Bodyline tactics employed by England during the 32-33 men's Ashes series, believed her team might help heal damaged relations. It appears to have worked.

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1934-1935 England Women's Team, captained by Betty Archdale

Back row, left to right:
Doris Turner, Mollie Child, Mary Richards, Molly Hide, Joy Liebert, Mary Taylor and Grace Morgan.

Front row, left to right: Mary Spear, Carol Valentine, Myrtle Maclagan, Betty Snowball, Betty Archdale (Captain), Betty Green, Joy Partridge, Mary Burleston.

England women's Ashes Team on ship (1934) by Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

The England team relax on board the SS Cathay enroute to Australia. The voyage, via the Suez Canal, took 32 days and ended at Fremantle, Western Australia, November 1934.

P&O Liner menu for England women's team (1934) by Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

P&O cruise liner menu used on board the SS Cathay. The ship was powered by steam and unstabilized, making it pitch and roll in rough weather.

Australian Women's Cricket Test Team (1934/1935) by Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

The first two Tests were to be three-day games whilst the last was to be played to conclusion. The hours of play were from 1.15pm to 6.15pm with the tea break taken between 3.15 and 3.30pm. The 59 day tour included 23 days cricket.


The uniform for the Australians consisted of a linen divided skirt and shirt blouse in the same style as the English. Some of the Australians wore the divided skirt as adopted by the English but generally their skirts were longer and more cumbersome. The English uniform consisted of a divided skirt (coming to just above the knee) and blouses of airtex. The skirts had pleats and flares to provide the necessary fullness and were to be worn with lisle stockings. Due to the expected hardness of Australian fields some of the English players wore canvas shoes with crepe rubber soles in place of the leather-soled nail-studded shoes they would normally wear. It is interesting to note that prior to the tour the accepted dress for cricket in England was a white dress, not sleeveless.

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1934-1935 Australian Women's Team, captained by Margaret Peden.

Back row, left to right:
(Umpire unknown), Nell McLarty, Lorna Kettles, Margaret Peden (Captain), Amy Hudson, Barbara Peden, (Umpire unknown).

Front row, left to right:
Hazel Pritchard, Esther Shevill, Kath Smith, Rene Shevill, Joyce Brewer, Anne Palmer. Absent; Peggy Antonio, Ruth Preddey (Manager)

Australian article, about touring England side (1934) by The Telegraph. National Library of AustraliaBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

News article from The Telegraph, heralding the arrival of the English side to Australia. Labelling bowler Enid Taylor as the 'Larwood the Englishwomen". 'Bad blood' was still felt by the Australian audiences at the beginning of the women's series, after the acrimonious Bodyline series 2 years prior.

Women's First Ashes, Official Programme (1934) by Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

From their opening tour match in Perth, the English team were feted across the country. Large crowds turned out to many matches, rivalling contemporary Sheffield Shield audiences.

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Image: The official programme for the women's 'first international' cricket match, played on the W.A.C.A ground, Perth.

Lola Edwards, Women's first Ashes (1934) by Holman Fairfax Collection, Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Cricket in their blood
Lola Edwards going out to bat for Western Australia in Perth, against the English.

Lola was the aunt of former Test player and former Cricket Australia Chairman, Wally Edwards. Photo at the W.A.C.A in November, 1934.

Betty Archdale Tour Diary for First International Women's Test. (1934/1935) by Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Tour matches against most states and some country teams led to the first women’s Test series, played at Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Along the way, sceptical male spectators were won over, and even the press championed the quality and spirit of the cricket played.

Match Play at First International Women's Test Australia v England, Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum., 1934/1935, From the collection of: Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame
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On field action during the 1934-35 series.

England are the fielding side, Australia batting.

Match Play at First International Women's Test Australia v England, Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum., 1934/1935, From the collection of: Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame
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England fielding, Australia batting. 1934-35 series.

Extract from Betty Archdale's Test Tour Diary. (1934/1935) by Betty Archdale. Tour Diary. 1934-35. Former loan Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

England all-rounder Myrtle Maclagan dominated the international series with 20 wickets (best return of 7/10) and 253 runs. At Sydney, her 119 runs saw her become the first woman Test centurion. Her fellow opening bat Betty Snowball wasn’t far behind with 192 runs, at an average of 64.

Australian Captain Margaret Peden led a younger side, which was beaten comfortably in the first two Tests but drew the third.

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Image of Betty Archdale's tour diary

While England won the series 2-0, the considerable publicity generated by the international series far outweighed the result.

This significant international series was a defining moment in the acceptance of women's cricket around the world; the capstone upon which the women's game was then built upon.

Image missing

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Tour Schedule

England v

Western Australia 24 & 25 November 1934
Victoria 8 & 9 Dec
Deniliquin 10 Dec
New South Wales 14 & 15 Dec
Queensland 22 & 24 Dec

1st Test – QLD 28,29 & 31 Dec


2nd Test – NSW ( SCG) 4,5 & 7 January 1935

Canberra 9 Jan
Goulburn 11 Jan
Leeton 12 Jan
Junee 15 Jan


3rd Test VIC (MCG) 18, 19 & 21 Jan


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Image shows front page of the Australian Telegraph Sporting Supplement in December 1934, heralding the first English women's cricket tour to Australia.

Betty Archdale Blazer (1934) by Mark Kelly Photography. Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

The Bradman Museum currently exhibits Betty Archdale's blazer, together with other objects from the first womens International series, and beyond.

A dedicated display to Women's cricket at the museum along with a research team - the Women's Cricket Heritage Project - highlights the ongoing development and advancement of the women’s game in Australia and throughout the world.

The cream blazer worn by Betty Archidale during the first women’s Ashes series 1934/35 displays a green Tudor Rose as the team’s motif. Donation Chris Brierley, Bradman Museum Collection. Image Mark Kelly.

Credits: Story

Authors: Yvette Hollings, Karen Hill, Rina Hore. Bradman Museum.
Art Direction: Monica Donoso, Bradman Museum.

© Bradman Museum 2019

Objects:
Betty Archdale Blazer: Donation Chris Brierley, Bradman Museum Collection. BM 2011.072
Women's Cricket collage. All objects Bradman Museum Collection. BM 2017.165
Betty Archdale Tour diaries (former loans: Bradman Museum)
Lola Edwards, WACA 1934. Holman Fairfax Collection, Bradman Museum Collection.

Images:
Betty Archdale Blazer. Photograph Mark Kelly.
The Telegraph, December 14, 1934. Courtesy National Library of Australia.
Bradman Museum Collection archive images.
Official Programme 1934/35. P&O Cruise liner menu. Aust/Eng team portraits. Former Loan Bradman Museum.

Video:
First Women's Test Series 1934-35. Bradman Museum Collection.

Archive footage authorised for use by Bradman Museum for non-commercial gain.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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