"Yabba" (Stephen Gascoigne) Sculpture
The legendary Yabba has become a permanent Sydney Cricket Ground feature with the unveiling of a lifesized sculpture located in row two of Bay 15 on the Victor Trumper Stand concourse, the site of the old Hill.
Stephen Harold Gascoigne, nicknamed 'Yabba' because he was "a bit of a talker", was an iconic SCG supporter in the years prior to the Second World War. He was widely known for his rasping loud voice and witticisms directed at cricketers and footballers.
Born in Redfern in 1878, Yabba sold rabbits from his cart in Balmain where he lived with his wife, son and two daughters. So highly regarded was Yabba, the members of the New South Wales Cricket Association stood in silence before their first meeting following his death in 1942.
With the SCG crowd quieter and more conservative than the present day, Yabba's jovial piercing comments would echo around the SCG and penetrate the field of play.
Yabba usually arrived at the SCG in long trousers, open neck white shirt, vest and hat or cap and take up his position on the old Hill together with this carry bag containing his lunch, two bottles of beer, a bag of peanuts, his newspaper and his pipe.
He gained celebrity status making guest appearances on radio and had a Sunday newspaper column penned under his byline.
When England's Sir Jack Hobbs played his last game at the SCG, he walked to the Hill and shook Yabba's hand.
Among Yabba's infamous sayings were;
- "I wish you were a statue and I were a pigeon."
- Telling a fly-swatting English cricket captain Douglas Jardine, to "Leave our flies alone. They're the only friends you've got here."
- "Send 'im down a piano, see if 'e can play that!"
- "Those are the only balls you've touched all day!" (To a batsman adjusting his protector)
- "Put a penny in him George, he's stopped registering" to the umpire, a gas meter inspector, when the Nawab of Pataudi batted without scoring
SCG Trust Chairman, Mr Rodney Cavalier AO, said Yabba's sculpture would ensure that his legend remains at the SCG and in the history of Australian sport.
"Not only was Yabba an iconic figure during his lifetime, but he represents what makes Australian sports fans so unique and special," said Mr Cavalier. "He was a loveable larrikin and passionate about sport. He possessed an amazing quick wit and a string of one-liners.
"There have been many who have tried to follow in Yabba's footsteps over decades, but there was only one Yabba. With the unveiling of his sculpture, his legend will remain forever," added Mr Cavalier.
Mr Cavalier welcomed Major General Mark Kelly AO, Land Commander at Victoria Barracks, to unveil Yabba's sculpture.
Mr Cavalier said the presence of General Kelly is a way of acknowledging the debt of sport in New South Wales to the contribution of the North Devonshire Regiment stationed in NSW in the 1840s and 1850s for its decision to build an enclosed cricket ground in the scrub to the south of Victoria Barracks, a project financed entirely by the resources of the Regiment.
The sculpture was created by Sydney artist Cathy Weiszmann who also created the Dally Messenger sculpture, located in the forecourt at Allianz Stadium.
Yabba's creation is an additional sculpture commissioned by the SCG Trust.
"Yabba" (Stephen Gascoigne) Sculpture Booklet
"Yabba" (Stephen Gascoigne) Sculpture Location