And the Crowd Went Wild Cover

And the Crowd Went Wild

Sporting days that thrilled a nation

Ian Heads and Gary Lester

Playright Publishing

And the Crowd Went Wild celebrates the spectacularly colourful saga of Austrlaian sport’s first 200 years. It is both an homage to Governor Lachlan Macquarie and the moment of formal sport’s beginning (October 15, 1810) and a joyous, sometimes startling narrative of the rise and rise of Aussie sport in the two centuries since.

Overlooking all in the telling is the calm figure of Macquarie, the man who gave the first nod for an official sporting event to take its place in the Australian community. The heroes and heroines are the men and women (and, now and then, horses) who perform their magic through the pages of the story. The theme is ‘famous days’ and the case is glittering—champions from sports’s past, present and, in some cases, future (some still very much on the path of brilliant careers).

If Don Bradman is perhaps captain and Shane Gould vice captain—the team at their command is limitless in ability. This is not a book that sets out on a definitive quest to name ‘the greatest’. Rather, in keeping with the Macquarie tradition: his aim in providing patronage to the Hyde Park race carnival of 1810 was to provide an event that could be uplifting, unifying and beneficial for the still-new colony at a fractured time. Great sport and the shared experience have that effect.

It was on such a foundation that authors Ian Heads and Gary Lester, together with editorial manager Geoff Armstrong, set out to reduce an initial bank of 200 or so posisble themes down to the 70 stories we have here. The guideline was the chosen stories, either from home or abroad, would be of sporting days that were genuinely unifying and thrilling—for community, city, state or nation. The tales are told with freshness, often with elements of true revelation—the result of a vast interview-and-research exercise—and they are illuminated by brilliant early illustrations, and photos that capture ‘the moment’. The result is a book that in a notable year is a valuable addition to the literature of Australin sport—one that is both an education and a rousing entertainment.

What a concept. Stretching from the first race meeting at Hyde Park in Sydney in 1810 … a wonderful and ‘must read’ book.

Richie Benaud

I am honoured to be recognised in this story of the 200 years, among so many great athletes and incredible moments.

Louise Sauvage

Authors Ian Heads and Gary Lester have bandged the blood, sweat and tears of Australia’s athletes through the ages …

Danny Green

This book will become an invaluable reference for future generations as they learn of the exploits of the country’s great sporting heroes.

Ian Thorpe

Through its thrilling stories of bravery and brilliance and almost 300 evocative photos And the Crowd Went Wild pays homage to the first 200 years of Austrlian sport. This is a book about champions and fantastic feats and famous days. At the end stands a panoramic view of sporting moments that will live forever in memory.