This article critiques the symbolism of the journey as a team of Australian cricketers voyaged to India in 1935 embarking on the first Australia cricket tour to the subcontinent. Travel and tourism theories explicate the reactions of the cricketers to the ambivalence of being neither home nor away. This article asks: what did the Australians learn about themselves, their home and their destination whilst in transit? The theme of transition, both physical and emotional, is the central focus of this study. The journey on the ship signifies the team’s last immersion (for the duration of the tour) within exclusively English structures and customs. The cricketers’ insecurity when faced with the looming unknown upon descending the gangplank into India is extrapolated from available sources. The influence of Frank Tarrant as leader and educator intensified in the artificial hermetic vacuum of the ship’s environment. The unceremonious departure scenes in Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle are described and contrasted with the formality of the arrival in Bombay; such contrasts epitomize and underpin the cultural differences encountered throughout the tour.
This article critiques the Indian material culture located in present-day Pakistan pertaining to the inaugural Australian cricket tour to colonial India in 1935/36. The historical voice of the Indians is evident in the images and it is over the shoulders of the hosts of the tour that new perspectives emerge. It is culturally inappropriate to assume and evaluate how the locals felt about the visit of the Australian cricketers and the raison d’être of the tour. However, archives located in Pakistan provide a deeply subjective perspective. Goodwill and amicability reverberate through the photographs challenging conventional scholarship, which argues that Australian-Indian cricket is based on acrimony. The article concludes that despite the obvious and significant differences between the competing teams the tour experience minimized the racial divide between the Australian and the Indian cricketers.