commemorating WA’s home of cricket
A project to pay tribute to the WACA Ground was conceived as a joint venture between the Western Australian Cricket Association, Holman Industries and local publisher Churchill Press. Each party holds a special connection to the Ground: the Association as its custodian for over 130 years; Holman (owned by former WA and Test batsman Wally Edwards) as sponsor of the Perth Scorchers team; and the team behind Churchill Press as being lifelong ‘cricket tragics’.
The WACA Ground is a fabled venue in the world of cricket. Although its tales have been recorded in decades of press articles, and its funding and development chronicled within the Association’s substantial centenary book, there was no dedicated and definitive history for the home of cricket in Western Australia. As the Ground prepared to host its final men’s Ashes Test match, we undertook the task of piecing together and presenting its story to a nostalgic Western Australian – and cricketing – community.
We conceptualised a special publication, The Doctor Declares, that was framed around the ‘memorable moments’ – matches, performances, incidents and characters – that have made the WACA Ground such a special venue to the game of cricket.
The concept also came to life with a pop-up exhibition at the Ground, open to the public during the summer, comprising a bespoke modular system of internally lit display towers.
After the success of the project, and a remarkable final Ashes Test and Big Bash League, a companion edition – The Doctor Declares – was commissioned to cover the WACA Ground’s 2017/18 season and complete the documentation of the Ground.
The book was designed in a contemporary ‘coffee table’-style format, accessible to both cricket enthusiasts and the general public. The title for such a project could only have been the familiar catchphrase that heralded the cooling sea breeze sweeping over the scorching WACA Ground near the end of the day’s play – “The Doctor’s In”.
In collaboration with local sports media doyen Ken Casellas and the WACA Museum, we curated 48 moments into five chapters (more than double the original scope), all recalled with concise and engaging copy. The pictorial publication is rich with over 120 historical images from archives, libraries and personal collections.
Also featured are forewords from WACA President Ken Michael AC and Holman Industries Managing Director Wally Edwards; informative ‘tidbits’ on the Ground’s origins, surrounds, architecture, pitch and other hosted events; and a suite of contemporary photographs by Will Russell.
The 96-page production was printed on tactile uncoated stock and casebound – an enduring piece of WA history for coffee tables and cricketing libraries alike.
As part of the WACA’s season-long celebrations, we devised, designed and produced a temporary exhibition featuring the highlights of the book.
A series of 12 four-sided towers were custom-built to display the historical content, each internally lit and laid out within a darkened space for an immersive experience.
The activation was a great success, adding to the festive and nostalgic atmosphere during matches and introducing the book to a captive audience.
Not long after the final ball was bowled in a Test match at the WACA Ground, a companion for The Doctor’s In was envisioned. We again joined forces with Ken Casellas to present each day of the match, as well as each men’s and women’s Big Bash League game at ‘The Furnace’ over its swansong season.
While the format and style remained true to the more historically minded original, The Doctor Declares had a slightly different function – curating the summer of 2017/18’s best photographs in vibrant full-colour imagery.
Before the descriptive match reports, thoroughly researched pieces on the history of Ashes Tests and men’s & women’s Twenty20 at the Ground give contextual grounding to the importance of the season. Readers will also find comprehensive record tables – from the leading wicket-takers, to the closest victories – and match statistics from all 44 men’s Tests, 3 women’s Tests, 36 BBL matches and 14 WBBL matches played at the WACA Ground.