Hearts in 50 objects: No.3 – Australian tour gong

The gong which was presented to Hearts in 1959
The gong which was presented to Hearts in 1959
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This wooden gong is a token from Hearts’ mammoth end-of-season tour to Australia in 1959.

They completed 50 domestic games in Scotland on April 25, 1959, and finished second to Rangers in the old First Division. They then headed Down Under for a rampaging tour which included some impressive scorelines.

Fifteen matches in total were played in Australia and Hearts, under manager Tommy Walker, returned to Scotland with an outstanding record of Won 14, drawn 1. Their team at the time contained legends like John Cumming, Alex Young, Willie Bauld and Jimmy Wardhaugh.

They started with a 7-1 romp against Australia in Sydney on May 9, before beating an Australian select side 6-1 the following day. They drew 3-3 with Queensland on May 12 and then beat Australia 7-1 again four days later.

Northern New South Wales were dispatched 8-2 in Newcastle as Hearts headed up the east coast. They returned to Sydney for a third consecutive 7-1 win against Australia on May 23. The next day, they put seven past South Coast without reply.

Australia were beaten again in Melbourne – this time the score was 9-1 – on May 30. Just 24 hours later, Victoria lost 5-0 against the Tynecastle side. The largest win of the tour came on June 3 against Tasmania, a 10-0 triumph in which Bobby Rankin and Bobby Blackwood both scored hat-tricks.

The sixth of seven meetings with Australia then brought a 6-0 Hearts victory on June 6, before a 7-1 success against Victoria. South Australia were beaten 8-0, Australia lost 9-0 and the tour finally ended with a 10-1 destruction of Western Australia in Perth on June 15.

Doubtless weary and jaded, the Hearts players and coaching staff then returned to Edinburgh after a memorable tour in which they had scored 109 goals in 15 games – and conceded just 12.