Aboriginal timeline: Sport

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1868

  1. The first Australian Cricket Team to tour England leaves Australia for England; the team is all Aboriginal. Some of the team find it difficult to adapt to the climate and have to return home. One team member dies.

1908

  1. George Green plays 16 games for the Easts (until 1911) and 92 games for the Norths (1912–16, 1918–22). It was never clear whether his heritage was Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, or South Sea Islander, but he is recognised as the first Indigenous player in rugby league. He was a hooker.

1909

  1. First Aboriginal person to play First Grade Rugby League was George Green playing for Eastern Suburbs.

1920

  1. Aboriginal players such as Paul Tranquille and Paddy Crough play first grade rugby league in the 1920s.

1925

  1. Glen Crouch is the first Aboriginal footballer to tour overseas, playing 11 games for Queensland in a New Zealand tour.

1929

  1. Aboriginal athlete Lynch Cooper is named World Professional Sprint Champion after winning the 1928 Stawell Gift and the 1929 World Sprint.

1930

  1. The Tweed Heads All Blacks and the Redfern All Blacks are both in operation as early as 1930.

1937

  1. Arthur 'Stoker' Currie is the first Aboriginal player to make the Country side which beats City. He plays bare-footed for Tweed Heads All Blacks. His grandson, Tony, plays for Australia.

1941

  1. Dick and Lyn Johnson play in the position of fullback against each other in the City–Country game.

1945

  1. Bill Onus, organising in Redfern, co-founds the Redfern All Blacks Rugby League team which would become a community and political organisation throughout the 50s and 60s.

1960

  1. Despite their enormous talents, an Aboriginal player wasn't selected in the Australian team until 1960. His name is Lionel Morgan. Morgan plays two tests against the French and later that year in the World Cup squad. He also plays with Aboriginal player (and eventual Test cap) George Ambrum at Wynnum Manly.

1965

  1. Eric Simms plays eight World Cup games and 206 games for Souths and in 1965 scores 265 points in a season, breaking a long-standing record.

1967

  1. A war cry used by all Kangaroo teams up to and in 1967 is almost certainly based on an Aboriginal chant emanating from Stradbroke Island, just south from Brisbane.

1968

  1. Lionel Rose beats bantamweight ‘Fighting’ Harada in Tokyo to become the first Aboriginal world boxing champion. He goes on to receive the Australian of the Year award the same year. Famous Aboriginal people

1969

  1. The federal government establishes the National Aboriginal Sports Foundation to help finance sports activities.

1970

  1. In the 1970s, the Moree Boomerangs re-emerge after 30 years of abstinence from the rugby league. They can trace their playing days back to the 1940s. The team has included the likes of Phil Duke, Paul Roberts, Ewan McGrady, Dennis Kinchela and Mark Wright.

1971

  1. Evonne Cawley, an Aboriginal tennis player, receives the Australian of the Year award. Famous Aboriginal people

  2. Aboriginal player Evonne Goolagong wins Wimbledon Women’s Singles title.

1973

  1. The first Aboriginal side tours New Zealand.

    Rugby League is the first sport in Australia to appoint an Aboriginal player as its national captain: Arthur Beetson when the Kangaroos play France.

  2. Brothers Vern and Frank Daisy are institutions in Mt Isa (Queensland) football for many years.

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Aboriginal timeline: Sport, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/sport>, retrieved 21 August 2019

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