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Black Diamond Challenge Cup
A silver plated trophy which is mounted on a circular wooden base. It has two curved handles, stands 66 centimetres high and features engraved floral patterns. It has a removable lid adorned with the figure of a nineteenth century Australian Football player wearing a woollen jumper, knee-length knickerbockers and a woollen cap. A football is positioned in front of him, preparing for a place kick.
History of the Cup
It was made in 1887 by the Richmond Tobacco Company and donated to the Northern District Football Association. Its name refers to coal and the wealth it has generated within the community. The initiation of The Black Diamond Challenge Cup further fuelled interest in the game. It was a competition run parallel to the normal competition, whereby any team could challenge another team at any time. If a club won the competition two seasons in a row then the trophy would be permanently presented to that club. In 1889 the powerful Wallsend Club won the right to keep it after winning in two successive years. In 1889 with economic depression looming, the competition ceased. The Cup, which had been held in safe-keeping, was reintroduced when the Newcastle Australian Football League started in 1948. Even though it was originally a challenge cup, from 1948 onwards it was presented to the premiership side in the NAFL after the grand final, where the club got to keep it for the year.
With the formation of the Black Diamond AFL, the Cup is now presented to the premiers of this competition.
The Cup Today
Until recently it was not treated with a lot of reverence. In 1996 the Cup was donated to the Newcastle Regional Museum where it has been on display since. The Museum has an arrangement with the Black Diamond AFL were the Cup is presented to the premiership side on Grand Final day before being returned to the Museum.
The Black Diamond Challenge Cup is the oldest sporting trophy competed for in Australia.