The casket had been thought lost since 1954 ©Football Australia

A football trophy believed lost for over 70 years has been rediscovered in Australia in time for ANZAC Day.

The trophy, originally contested by Australia and New Zealand 100 years ago, had been in the possession of former Australian Soccer Football Association chairman Sydney Storey.

When he died in 1966, it remained unnoticed until found by family members among a collection of his memorabilia.

Built by New Zealand trophy maker Harry Mayer in 1923, it was made from a combination of New Zealand honeysuckle and Australian maple.

The trophy took the form of a casket and contains ashes of cigars smoked by Australian captain Alex Gibb and New Zealand captain George Campbell after the first football meeting between the two nations on Australian soil in June 1923, a year after Australia’s first international.

It was named the ANZAC Trophy and the lid has a depiction of the kangaroo between two silver ferns.

The ashes themselves are housed in a razor case carried by Queensland Football Association secretary, Private William Fisher, at the Gallipoli landings in 1915.

ANZAC Day is celebrated in both Australia and New Zealand every year on April 25 to remember members those who died in war, and is named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

The case of the casket depicts the emblems of both New Zealand and Australia ©Football Australia
The case of the casket depicts the emblems of both New Zealand and Australia ©Football Australia

"This is quite possibly the greatest domestic treasure there is in the game, it is a fabulous thing to have in such good condition," Australian football historian Trevor Thompson said.

"This assumed a legendary status built on the sacrifices that had been made by the men fighting in the armed forces from both countries against a common enemy,

"It’s an emblem more of unity than it is of opposition, which is intriguing for a trophy commemorating a sporting contest."

The discovery comes in time to commemorate the centenary of the first full international on home soil by Australia.

"The fact that the Ashes have been found is a huge win for soccer history, and also for the Anzacs both, so we're very excited that they're in good condition," the Storey family said.

"Of course, how it is used again is up to Australia and New Zealand, but at least it's now available to the football organisations as a first step."

The ANZAC soccer ashes were created 100 years ago ©Football Australia
The ANZAC soccer ashes were created 100 years ago ©Football Australia

Football Australia chairman Chris Nikou has hailed the discovery.

"Preserving and celebrating the history of Australian football has become a renewed focus for Football Australia over recent years, where the recovery of the Anzac soccer ashes is a special moment for not only football but in trans-Tasman history," he said.

"The story attached to these soccer ashes is extraordinary, and its journey is a symbol of the courage and camaraderie of the Anzacs, where this shared spirit continues to be demonstrated every time Australia and New Zealand take to the sporting arena."