If you type Sydney Rollers into a search engine you may well be directed to the City’s Roller Derby League, the organisation of a ‘full contact women’s team sport striving for empowerment, athleticism and, above all, fun’ made popular in the Chicago of the Nineteen Thirties and seemingly enjoying a revival in Sidney over the last few years.
Do not be diverted, but press on until you find mention of the SCG’s historic rollers.
The first is Boxer’s Roller. This sandstone roller was used to prepare the Sydney wickets as early as 1901 and was therefore in operation at around the time the photograph below was taken in the ‘Noughties. The roller was drawn by a horse named “Boxer” who wore special shoes to avoid damaging the pitch.
The Barford & Perkins roller pictured at the top of the page and again here replaced Boxer’s roller. It has been restored by the SCG Trust’s Grounds and Maintenance teams. The 2.5 ton roller was built around 1924 and purchased new by the Trust from Noyes Bros. (Sydney) Ltd to replace Boxer’s Roller and has been in regular use at the SCG ever since as the primary roller used for preparation of cricket pitches.
According to TrustNo1, who may have had a hand in the restoration that commenced in 2001, ‘incongruous components that were added to the English-built machine over the years were removed, and the paintwork and chrome plating was largely redone’.
For those who need a closer and sharper look, the SCG Roller has a brother pictured here, owned by Dubbo City Council.
Third Man does not rate many articles in his special ‘Heavy Roller’ category, but this naturally must be one such.