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Prologue: Sport and Past Australasian Culture

In recent times, sport has become an ever larger business, both for those who do it and those who study it. Just a quarter-century ago, historians in Australia and New Zealand who were interested in sport pursued it as a fugitive enthusiasm. The Australians came out in 1977 with a conference on 'Making of Sporting Traditions', and published the proceedings of this and subsequent conferences. The fourth conference in 1983 established the Australian Society for Sports History, which in the following year commenced publication of the journal Sporting Traditions. Meanwhile in New Zealand, sport attracted the interests of academics through their involvement in the issue of sporting contacts with apartheid South Africa. The history of sport entered the university curriculum, theses were written and monographs published; a vigorous sub-discipline was established.