The St George District has unveiled its 'Spirit of the Red V Museum' with priceless Dragons memorabilia dating back to 1921 now on show at the St George Leagues club.
As part of the club's centenary celebrations, the St George board invested in the museum, appointing curators to itemise thousands of pieces of history to bring the museum to life.
Dragons board member and premiership-winning captain Craig Young told NRL.com there was a huge amount of work involved in turning a storeroom full of dusty memorabilia into the museum that was opened this week.
"It's centenary year this year and there was a lot of memorabilia an items lying around so we decided to turn it into a museum," Young said.
"The leagues club has kindly offered this space for us. We contracted Anthony and Amanda O'Carroll as curators who did the job at the Sydney Cricket Ground who've done a fantastic job by curating all the memorabilia and items we had and putting it in a display so all the ex-players and supporters can come through and have a look.
"It was all in a cage upstairs at the leagues club so you can imagine the job to go through, itemise it, track down where it came from, get the plaques and cabinets made, get the temperature controls right."
Once all the pieces were identified and itemised they then had to select around 150 pieces for the initial layout and have plaques and cabinets built, but the museum will be refreshed and rotated over time, he added.
"We've got a program where supporters or family members can loan things to the museum," Young added.
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"There's about 150 items here, we've got over one thousand in storage because part of the process is to refresh the museum so there's new things for people to come and look at. We've already been inundated by requests from family members.
"Graeme Langlands' family have offered things, Carol Raper has offered things. They'll loan them to the museum and the museum will be refreshed on a regular basis. Instead of being locked in a garage somewhere they'll be here for people to remember Chang and Chook and what they did for the club."
There will be an official opening this Friday with former players such as Rod Reddy, Brad McKay, Kevin Ryan, John Riley and Johnny King in attendance. Those players and more than a thousand others feature on a wall in the museum listing every player from 1921 including their representative honours.
Museum curator Anthony O'Carroll said the entire process started with cataloguing in November with the installation only getting underway in May this year.
"The exhibition is divided into a few different zones – there's the origin story, the district story of the St George junior club, replica jerseys that go through all the eras of the famous Red V," O'Carroll said.
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"We have touch points for the 11 straight premiership wins. The highlights for me are the 1949 blazer of Johnny Hawke which is an amazing artefact. Right next to it you have the Norm Provan jersey with a touch of SCG history there, you can see the embedded Bulli soil. Craig Young and Steve Edge's match-worn jerseys from the 1977 and 1979 premierships are there too.
"The significance here is the 11 straight premierships. The players that were involved as well. Provan, Gasnier, Langlands, the list goes on so you look at these guys and think 'what a great team'."
Amanda O'Carroll said the itemising process was both the most challenging and enjoyable part of the process and wouldn't have been possible without assistance from the likes of Young and Edge.
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"It was an honour to go through such an amazing history but also the little discoveries where there would be a box of just magazines then at the bottom you'd find some original photographs so sorting through that was a privilege but a lot of fun for us," she said.
"We had a lot of help in terms of jersey signatures, to be able to decipher from Steve Edge and Craig Young and say 'that's from that era'."
Anthony praised the board for bringing the vision to life.
"Essentially this is the board's vision – Peter Doust, Craig Young, Warren Lockwood, Steve Edge, all those gentlemen had this vision," he said.