On the 24th of December 1861 the ship Great Britain docked at Sandridge (Port Melbourne) after a 2 month journey from Liverpool.1  On board were the All England 11, the first ever international cricket team to tour Australia. 2

All England 11 1861
The All England 11 about to embark for Australia. Mr Mallam, the top-hatted gentleman behind the players, was the agent for Spiers and Pond. 3

They were greeted rapturously by the locals, with a vast crowd assembling at the docks.

Inspired by the 1859 tour of an All England 11 to North America,  two enterprising entrepreneurs, Felix Spiers and Christopher Pond, owners of the Cafe de Paris, organized the tour.

English cricketers arriving at Cafe de Paris
The All England 11 arriving at the Cafe de Paris, The illustrated Melbourne post IMP00/01/62/1

The All England 11 (not quite a national team but one containing many of the best English county cricketers) were each paid £150 for the tour. At this time, English cricket was well ahead of cricket in the colonies and in most games they faced local teams fielding between 18 and 22 players.

The first match commenced at the MCG on New Years Day 1862 with an estimated crowd of at least 15,000. Another 10,000 fans watched from the hill overlooking the ground. Over 4 days the England 11 prevailed over the Victorian 18 by an innings and 96 runs. 

First international crciket match, All England 11 in Melbourne 1862
The first cricket match played by the All-England Eleven and Eighteen of Victoria H6653

The enthusiastic attendance allowed Spiers and Pond to recoup their entire investment in this first game. The England 11 had a busy time with matches in Beechworth, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine, Hobart, Bathurst and Sydney.

The tourists finished their final match against a Victorian 22 on 24 March4. They departed Australia on 26 March 1862 arriving home in England on 12 May 1862. Their travel time to and from Australia had taken four months!

Such was the success of the tour that an All England 11 returned for another tour during the 1863/64 summer.

New Year’s Day, 1864. The All- England 11 versus 22 of Victoria. Frederick Grosse IAN25/01/64/8-9

These tours were a catalyst for the rapid development of Australian cricket and several of the All England professionals remained in Australia to take on coaching positions.

Following the 1861/62 tour Charles Lawrence5 was appointed coach at the Albert Cricket Club in Sydney.  In fact he played for New South Wales against his old All England 11 team mates in 1864.

He was captain coach of the famous Aboriginal Cricket Team that completed the first Australian cricket tour of England in 1868. 6

The Aboriginal Australian cricket match on the M.C.C. ground
The Aboriginal Cricket Team playing a match at the MCG prior to the English tour. IMP24/01/67/8

At 54 years old Lawrence faced Ivo Bligh’s English team in a match in Newcastle and after retiring from his job with the New South Wales railways he came south and coached at the Melbourne Cricket Club until he was 70.

Champion all rounder Billy Caffyn was a member of the team that toured North America in 1859, and the Australian tour of 1861/62. He has the distinction of having bowled the first ball in international cricket in Australia in Melbourne on 1 January 1862.

Again he was part of the All England 11 that toured Australia in 1863/64.7 After that tour he stayed on, first as a professional with Melbourne Cricket Club, and then with the Warwick Club in Sydney. His defection to Melbourne’s northern rival earned a satirical poem from Punch newspaper.

you've shown much hurry ;
In more than one sense
You'll find, six month hence,
That Warwick is not Surrey…
Bill Caffyn
Cease your chaffing.
And stay where you're in clover;
Sydney's the wrong shop,
In Melbourne " long stop,"
And don't, though called, go " over." 8
Charles Lawrence & Billy Caffyn
Charles Lawrence (Australian Town and Country Journal 15 March 1890 p. 28) & Billy Caffyn (Seventy-one not out: the reminiscences of William Caffyn p. 96)

Billy, though, went to Sydney in part to revive his career as a hairdresser, opening a salon with his wife in George Street. 9

He was a fine all-rounder, known in England as the ‘Surrey Pet’. In Australia his fierce batting particularly earned him the nickname ‘Terrible’ Billy.

Lawrence and Caffyn were regulars with the New South Wales side in intercolonial matches.

The Intercolonial Cricket Match: Victoria v. New South Wales. 25 January 1866 IMP25/01/66/209 Charles Lawrence (Laurence) captained New South Wales and is in the striped shirt, holding a bat in both hands. Billy Caffyn is far right, with a bat in his left hand

Their coaching brought a new professionalism to Australian cricket and they helped many up and coming cricketers, including future stars Billy Murdoch and Charles Bannerman.

Australian Test Team 1880
Australian Eleven, 1880. Charles Bannerman, middle row far right, Billy Murdoch, middle row centre. Two metre tall George Bonner, a big hitting batsman, stands at centre behind Murdoch H96.160/151

Billy Caffyn laid down his memories in a biography, Seventy-one not out. Amongst the vast amount of cricket literature this stands out as an eyewitness account by the only participant in each of the first three international cricket tours.

All England 11
All England 11, 1861/62, Australian Town and Country Journal 9 March 1895 p. 32

Cricket tours now are grand affairs, telecast around the world, and attended by vast crowds. It is doubtful though whether any subsequent visit has been greeted with such enthusiasm or had such influence as that first international tour by the All England 11 to Australia.



Listen to this podcast on Billy Caffyn

Further reading


  1. For a full account of the voyage see Reid, A. (1862). The cabinet : A repository of facts figures and fancies relating to the voyage of Great Britain S.S. from Liverpool to Melbourne, with the eleven of all England and other distinguished passengers. Melbourne: Reid.
  2. While 11 cricketers travelled together on the Great Britain, a twelfth player, George Wells, was already in Australia and joined the team for the tour. His performance at club level in Melbourne had not always impressed the locals
  3. Image from Seventy-one not out: the reminiscences of William Caffyn p. 173
  4. After the final days’ play each of the 12 players who had represented England planted a tree at the edge of the MCG. Unfortunately the trees fell victim to the expansion of the ground in 1911
  5. Occasionally his surname appears as Laurence.
  6. Lawrence took over as coach from Tom Wills and played in 40 of the 47 tour games. The future cricket careers of many of the fine cricketers on the tour was curtailed by the Protection and Management of the Aboriginal Natives of Victoria Act 1869 which greatly restricted movement and freedoms.
  7. Billy Caffyn had also bowled the first ball in the 1859 North American tour and was the only player to participate in all three tours.
  8. Hard Lines for Caffyn, (1865, March 30). Melbourne Punch 30 March 1865 p. 7
  9. Billy claimed hairdressing endorsements from both HRH Prince Alfred and the Prince de Conde

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