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Cricket Bat #2010-0126

Cricket bat autographed by Peter Burge; previously used by Sir Denis James Killen.


Sir James Killen served as MHR for Moreton 1955-83 and was Minister for Defence in the Fraser governments. He played a leading role in the Liberal Party in Queensland from the 1940s, and after retirement from parliament served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1998.

This cricket bat belonged to Sir Denis James Killen, Australia’s longest serving Minister for Defence (1975–83). It is part of the large collection of objects (consisting of items such as plaques, commissions, photographs and books) that were donated to the Museum in 2008 by Killen’s widow, Lady Benise. These objects were collected from Killen’s study in his home in Chapel Hill, Queensland, where he retired after leaving Parliament in 1983. He entered Parliament in 1955: there is more than a quarter century of parliamentary service to Australia captured in this collection, plus elements of his life before and after.

This cricket bat was given to Killen by Peter Burge, an Australian cricketer who played in 42 tests in the 1950s and 1960s. In his book, Killen in Company, Killen explains that Burge loaned him cricketing equipment for the annual match between the Bar and the Solicitors:

“One year I was given a new bat by Peter for the occasion. I reluctantly accepted, protesting that a more ancient instrument would perform as required. He was insistent. I was to put ‘a nick’ in the back of the bat, which very properly raises the question as to how it got there. An arrow was drawn near ‘the nick’ with the words: ‘Killen hit here’. Peter Burge subsequently used the bat in his last match in first class cricket. He scored over 100 runs, contending that every time he looked down at the words a wave of anger swept over him.

The bat is now on a wall in my study.” (J. Killen, Killen in Company, 1989, p. 146)

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Statement of values

This cricket bat is significant as part of the Killen collection, which is comprised of a selection of objects that belonged to Sir Denis James Killen, Australia’s longest serving Defence Minister (1975–83). Political memorabilia of this nature mirrors the actual life experience of senior government ministers, charting in material form their work and achievements often in relation to an occasion such as a launch or an overseas visit in which they have played a central role. In this respect, such material culture reflects actual events, and thus attains significance in itself. A collection such as this has additional significance in that its well-documented display of trophies in the room which was Killen’s personal retreat and domestic work-space testifies to his sense of the meaning and associations related to those events and the people involved in them. The long row of plaques recording visits to defence establishments, for example, says a great deal about the central importance of defence matters in Killen’s life, and reflects his status as one of our longest-service Ministers for Defence. The Killen collection at the Museum of Australian Democracy uniquely links the personal with the political, thus affording an opportunity to develop exhibitions and conduct research which tells a rounded story of this important and complex parliamentarian.

  • Cricket BatCricket Bat —
  • Cricket Bat BackCricket Bat Back —
  • Cricket Bat InscriptionCricket Bat Inscription —
  • Cricket Bat Killen InscriptionCricket Bat Killen Inscription —
  • Cricket Bat, autographCricket Bat, autograph —


Width 115mm
Height 870mm
Depth 45mm
Medium Timber, textile, rubber
Creator’s name Dunlop-Crockett
Date created Unknown