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The Wild Ones 1908-1970

By Andrew Frost

On what had once been the site of a market garden rose one of the most unlikely icons of that city now lost to time, Sydney and its suburbs before 1970. On the corner of Neild Avenue and New South Head Road in Rushcutters Bay stood Sydney Stadium, an open air arena where boxing promoters staged fights including the world title fight of 1908 between Canadian Tommy Burns and Jack Johnson – the first Black American to try for a world title in the class – which not only put the stadium on the international map, but piqued interest in Australia in the US.

With a seating capacity of 10,000 the Sydney Stadium was home bouts until the mid-1950s when it was given a makeover a new lease of life as the venue for showcase tours by international music acts including, in 1964, The Beatles. Although the venue was demolished in 1970 to make way for the Eastern Suburbs railway, its memory lives on in the archive of the Museum of Sydney. The Wild Ones exhibition at the Museum of Sydney traces the history and significance of Sydney Stadium through promoters, stars, patrons and key events associated with the venue through artworks, posters, photographs, sporting and music ephemera, objects, film footage, music and personal recollections.

Until March 10 Museum of Sydney, Sydney. Visit website

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