Belinda Clark Sculpture Unveiled at Sydney Cricket Ground
Wednesday, January 4
The Sydney Cricket Ground is home to the world’s first sculpture of a female cricketer, with Belinda Clark immortalised in bronze at the venue’s entry.
The former Australian cricket captain’s sculpture was unveiled by The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO and NSW Premier The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP on day two of the 2023 New Year’s Test, attended by Clark herself as well as special guests including Sydney Cricket Ground Chairman Tony Shepherd, Cricket Australia Chair Lachlan Henderson and CA Chair-elect Mike Baird. A host of current and past Australian players, including Mel Jones, Lisa Sthalekar, Alex Blackwell, Rachael Haynes, and Leah Poulton were also in attendance.
Clark was born in Newcastle and honed her cricket skills in the backyard with her brother and two sisters. She played her first official match during high school, then played a season with a boys team at Eastern Suburbs Junior Cricket Club in Newcastle, eventually progressing to represent her country where she would go on to achieve ‘Bradmanesque’ success as a player and administrator.
In 1997, Clark became the first cricketer to make a double century in a One-Day International when she scored 229 not out (from 155 balls) against Denmark during the Women’s World Cup in India. Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar became the first man to equal Clark’s feat with an unbeaten 200 in 2010.
Clark’s Test aggregate of 919 runs (average of 45.95) from 15 Tests, built from 1991 to 2005, is the second best achieved by an Australian woman, and her ODI tally from 118 matches (4844 runs at 47.49) is an Australian record. She played in an era dominated by the One Day format.
Like Sir Donald Bradman, Clark was captain for 12 years, leading her country at three World Cups, a feat later matched by Ricky Ponting in men’s cricket. Off the field, Clark has played a significant role in growing cricket’s participation base and high-performance programs through various roles with Cricket Australia, Cricket NSW and the International Cricket Council – again mirroring Bradman’s post-playing contribution to the sport as an administrator.
Clark’s family, friends and teammates joined her at the unveiling. She said it was an honour to be recognised alongside sculptures of Fred Spofforth, Richie Benaud, Stan McCabe and Steve Waugh.
“I’m excited to have the sculpture in place and for people to now look at it and perhaps wonder what that is, who that is and to be able to tell a bit of a story is really important,” Clark said. “The sculpture encapsulates being able to have a go – to be courageous, to take on those challenges and break convention.
“I want people to take away that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it and you have good people around you, and I think I’ve been very fortunate to have had great support and have a bit of an imagination to take my game where I wanted to take it, and hopefully the sport is in a better place for it.”
Clark becomes the 15th member of the SCG sculpture project and the third female, joining champion sprinters Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Matthews who grace the front of Allianz Stadium.
The Clark sculpture was created by renowned NSW artist, Cathy Weiszmann, with input and guidance from Henry Mulholland, who has been the project’s artistic director since inception.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said Clark had inspired generations of females to take up the sport as fans, players, officials and volunteers.
“Belinda Clark set many records in her cricketing career and she’s setting another with this new sculpture – the first in Australia of a female cricketer,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The NSW Government is committed to breaking down barriers and driving greater female participation in sport – that’s why we’ve committed more than $1 billion towards community sports infrastructure, as well as investments in programs like Active Kids and Her Sport Her Way to boost opportunities for women and girls.
“But there’s nothing like seeing one of our best female athletes recognised right at the front door to the SCG to inspire the next generation of elite cricketers.”
SCG Chairman Tony Shepherd said the new sculpture’s position at the main entry to the members area was deliberately chosen to put her alongside two of the greatest captains in the men’s game, Richie Benaud and Steve Waugh.
“We recognise Belinda for all she has achieved as a player, leader, mentor and administrator – as well as all that will be achieved by those she’s brought to the sport,” Mr Shepherd said.
“Belinda’s legacy is only going to continue to grow along with that of women’s cricket in Australia.”
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley added: "I am absolutely thrilled that Belinda Clark has been honoured with a sculpture in the SCG precinct and becomes the first female cricketer to receive this recognition.
"Belinda not only compiled a superb playing record for Australia as a batter and captain; she helped inspire the current generation of cricketers and, as an administrator, has had a profound impact on community cricket and the growth in participation.
"On behalf of Australian Cricket, I would like to congratulate Belinda whose sculpture will stand very proudly alongside all the other sporting greats recognised in the SCG precinct."
The sculpture has been funded by benefactors Alan Jones AO, Rod McGeoch AO, Maurice Newman AC, Katie Page and Tony Shepherd AO, in partnership with the SCG Heritage Trust and after consultation with Cricket Australia’s Recognition of Women in Cricket working group.
The SCG Sports Sculpture Project began more than a decade ago owing to the philanthropy of businessman and cricket lover Basil Sellers AM and under the custodianship of former Sydney Cricket Ground Chairman Rodney Cavalier AO.
The sculptures in the SCG precinct are:
|Trevor Allan (rugby union)||Richie Benaud (cricket)||Ken Catchpole (rugby union)|
|Belinda Clark (cricket)||Betty Cuthbert (athletics)||Yabba – Stephen Gascoigne (spectator)|
|Reg Gasnier (rugby league)||Paul Kelly (Australian Rules)||Marlene Mathews (athletics)|
|Stan McCabe (cricket)||Herbert Henry ‘Dally’ Messenger (rugby league and rugby union)||Paul Roos (Australian Rules)|
|Fred Spofforth (cricket)||Steve Waugh (cricket)||Johnny Warren (association football)|
BELINDA CLARK AO
Name: Belinda Jane Clark
Born: 10 September 1970, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Batting: Right-hand batter
Bowling: Right-arm off-spinner
Teams: Australia (Women’s Test: 1990–91 to 2005); Australia (Women’s ODI: 1990–91 to 2005); Australia(Women’s T20I: 2005); New South Wales (Women’s First-Class: 1990–91 to 1994–95); New South Wales (Women’s List A: 1990–91 to 2000–01); Victoria (Women’s List A: 2001–02 to 2004–05)