The first cricket match played in the Brisbane Water area was at the end of 1857 against a Macdonald River Valley team which came from around the village of Macdonald, the present town of St Albans up from Wisemans Ferry on the Hawkesbury River. In those days not enough land was cleared in the Brisbane Water area for a cricket field but one was eventually chipped out at Blue Gum Flat in a paddock at the top of the road that ran from Tuggerah to Maitland Road.
In the Gosford to Ourimbah area at the time only one person could play cricket. He was Mr Lyall Scott who had taken over the establishment known at the time as The Sawmill, on Ourimbah Creek, covering a large area around the junction of what are today known as Ourimbah Creek Road and Foott’s Road. The rest of the members of the local team came from Wyong Creek and Yarramalong. They played for a bat worth a guinea, a ball and dinner but were badly beaten. Later in a return visit Macdonald River again proved too strong for the Blue Gum Flat team.
In 1858 Lyall Scott started the first cricket club in the Brisbane Water area at Blue Gum Flat. This was recorded in 1928 by cricket veteran John Robley (see photo of earliest cricketers under History of Ourimbah Cricket Club ) who had come to the district in 1855 to work in a sawmill. In the early days of settlement here on the coast, cricket was basically the only game played. Matches usually lasted 2 days and most bowling was ‘underarmers’. During breaks of play there would be songs and at night feasting and dancing.
Lyall Scott encouraged his workers to take up the sport of cricket. Edward Hawkins “Ned” (see photo of earliest cricketers under History of Ourimbah Cricket Club) who was employed as a young man at The Sawmill after having come from Wollombi in 1862 enjoyed the company of some of the influential men of his district as a keen and talented cricketer. He was later appointed a Trustee of the Local School Board (the eminent Edward Walmsley was another). He served in several capacities, including President, on the committee of the Ourimbah Progress Association.
By 1871 matches against Wollombi were also being held by the Blue Gum Flat Cricket Team. It was said that theBlue Gum Flat Cricket Team had the best team of cricketers in the land at this time. They even challenged an Australian XI side to a barefoot match which was declined, the oldtimers say, because they were afraid of the bindis.
When the Traveller’s Rest Hotel (now The Tall Timbers) was built in 1878 by Mr Robert Creighton for Mr Edward Walmsley, the players would return there for the post match celebrations. The cricket club was now known as Blue Gum Flat and Ourimbah Cricket Club. The only other cricket club on Brisbane Water at the time was the Wyong, Yarramalong and Cooranbong Cricket Club. ( match report)
Over the next few years both the names Blue Gum Flat and Ourimbah were used in newspaper articles about games of cricket by the club but by 1883 the club was now just called the Ourimbah Cricket Club. ( match report vs Eastern Cricket Club)
In 1885 Lyall Scott the founder of the first cricket club in the Brisbane Water area was elected to Parliament as the member for Wollombi.
Compiled by Simon Bauer
Ourimbah Recollections, Ourimbah Public School 1994.
Ourimbah: History of a New South Wales Timber Town to 1930 by BC Jones & AC Eyers. Published by Wyong Shire Council in 1988.
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser NSW 1843-1893.