The formation of the NSW Cricket Association is most aptly described in the book “True to the Blue, A History of the New South Wales Cricket Association”, written by Philip Derriman.
The book describes an advertisement appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 27 April 1859 inviting secretaries of cricket clubs in Sydney to meet “for the purpose of forming an Association”. The purpose of the Association, the advertisement said, was to “have the management of affairs in which the clubs generally are concerned and take immediate steps to adopt those means best calculated to improve the cricket players of this colony”.
At a meeting of club secretaries held on November 2, 1859 it was decided to appoint a Cricketing Association. William Tunks and Richard Driver were appointed joint secretaries, apparently with a brief to bring the association into existence.
On November 16, 1860, a meeting of the Association elected most of the office bearers. A prominent Sydney lawyer and politician named JB Darvall became president, William Tunks, Captain Edward Ward, John Fairfax and Richard Jones the vice presidents, and Joseph Clayton the secretary. The Governor, Sir William Denison, agreed to be patron, thereby establishing a tradition which Governors of NSW, with one exception, have continued.
The NSW Cricket Association were without official premises for a number of years, with most meetings held in city hotels or rooms that could be hired at short notice for very little cost.
For the first few years the Commercial Hotel (corner King and Castlereagh Streets), due to the courtesy of mine-host James Cunningham, was the venue.
From 1862 all business by the NSWCA was conducted at and through Charles Lawrence’s cricket depot. From 1865 a move was made to the Tattersall’s Club in Pitt Street where William J O’Brien was the cooperative proprietor. Then in 1878 O’Brien sold out to George Adams who proved just as cooperative and generous. From about 1906 to 1922 premises at Bull Chambers, 14 Moore Street (28 Martin Street, when the street name was changed) were rented and used as NSWCA headquarters.
In 1922 the Association purchased premises numbering 255A – 256 George Street, Sydney with a view to ultimately establishing a permanent home, to be known as ‘Cricket House’. This however, was not ready for occupation until 1939. This four storeyed building became headquarters for the NSWCA for the following 41 years.
Since 1980 the Association has been involved in a number of moves – 55 Clarence Street, Sydney (1980 – 1984); 47 York Street, Sydney (1984 – 1990); 60 York Street, Sydney (1990 – 1993); 51 Druitt Street, Sydney (1993 – 1997) and finally the current premises, Driver Ave, Paddington Sydney Cricket Ground.