The year 1892 was extremely eventful, in Australia especially. It was a year full of significant births: John Simpson Kirkpatrick (of Simpson and his donkey fame) was born, as was Australia’s Queen of Song, ‘Our Glad’, Gladys Moncrieff.

It was also the year that the Collingwood Football Club was founded, and the year that the Australian Cricket Council announced an inter-colonial cricket competition to be known as the Sheffield Shield. On the other side of the globe, meanwhile, a Canadian mathematician named James Naismith published the rules of a new sport he had invented: basketball.  

Speaking of significant sporting moments, in October of 1892 a record was set that remains unbeaten 135 years on, when Jackie Howe sheared – by hand, mind you – no fewer than 321 sheep in seven hours and 40 minutes at Blackall, Queensland.

And in St Petersburg,...