Dally Messenger collection
The Dally Messenger Collection consists of the Royal Agricultural Society shield, the first premiership shield for the NSW Rugby League competition. The Shield was presented to South Sydney in 1908 and 1909; Newtown in 1910; and Eastern Suburbs 1911-13. After winning the competition in 1913 Eastern Suburbs Club were presented the shield permanently. Eastern Suburbs then presented the shield to their star captain Dally Messenger.
The shield's significance stems from its association with the establishment of a professional rugby league competition in Sydney in 1908. Rugby League is one of the dominant football codes on the east coast of Australia. The shield is also associated with one the "greats" of the game Dally Messenger. Messenger was one of the leading players who defected from Rugby Union upon the establishment of the new professional competition in 1908. Many league historians argue that his popularity as a player helped ensure the success of the new code. His contribution to the sport is still recognised today in the 'Dally M' Award for player of the year.
Copyright National Museum of Australia
Physical access to the collection by appointment only