The Century Begins
The Club was reformed in 1902 and played in the Eastern District competition in 1902-03. Blackburn joined the Reporter competition in 1903-04 and has not missed a season since. No other Club in the Association can match this record.
Box Hill historian Andrew Lemon notes that, in the first decade of the new century, the local community had strong concerns about the younger generation going "off the rails". At a concert given by the United Churches Cricket Club in Box Hill, The Reporter observed "an unfortunate choice of comic songs" - despite the presence of the Rev. R S Carson - and even worse. the boisterous conduct of some of the 'undergrowth' in the back seats - shouting, whistling, caterwauling and "throwing about Swiss rolls and tarts". This vignette suggests that some of the early 20th Century local cricket "larrikins" were quite similar in temperament and behaviour to their modern day successors!
Part of the response to these youth concerns was for the local paper The Reporter to sponsor district cricket and football competitions to encourage young people to channel their energies in a healthy and constructive manner. Evidently driven by similar motives, the Council resolved in May 1905 to borrow up to 3,000 pounds to buy land for reserves. Council was offered 50 acres around Blackburn Lake, but instead it chose 15 acres and the existing hall at Morton Park. It was purchased specifically for the making of play grounds for children and young people, and at that time was considered the best sports ground in the eastern district (a view with much support still today).
In 1906-07, the Club's sole XI won four matches and lost three to finish fifth out of eight teams.
Blackburn then contested the 1908-09 final against Canterbury having won 9 matches and drawn one. The team was comprised of the three Allen brothers, Goodall, Game, Gilchrist, Daniel, McNamara, Spurling, Fenn, Knox and Pope. The match was played over five Saturdays from 24th April to 22nd May. Canterbury 125 and 144 defeated Blackburn 119 and 89, after Blackburn appeared to have a chance resuming the final day on 3 for 66 chasing 151.
As more teams joined the Reporter Association, the competition was restructured into grading divisions in 1910-11. Blackburn has played in the "top flight" of the competition in all but one season since the Club's reformation in 1902 - another feat unrivalled by any other Club in the Association.
The First World War was declared two months before the 1914-15 season. Blackburn managed to field two teams - one in each of the two grades - for that and the next season. Official competition was suspended for the following three seasons, however, the Club fielded one side in the friendly competition organised among Reporter Association clubs.
One twelfth of the population of Nunawading Shire enlisted for active service in World War 1. Of these, one in six were killed. Those eligible to serve, who remained at home, became the subject of ignominy. The Club's surviving records are not sufficient to indicate whether any Blackburn cricketers may have lost their lives serving their country in the Great War. However the War Memorial at Morton Park records the following Blackburn residents as having made the ultimate sacrifice during the unfortunately titled "War to end all Wars". *
Lest we forget.
* An article was recently discovered regarding the death of Gunner Fred Hurst, from Mont Albert, which mentions his batting prowess when he played for Blackburn CC a few years previously. His former team mates wore black armbands in their next match as a sign of respect.