Aboriginal timeline: Sport

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  1. The inaugural National Indigenous Football Championships are held in Shoalhaven, NSW, from 3–5 November.


  1. A crew of 16 Aboriginal people aboard the Southern Excellence II is the first Aboriginal team to compete in an official yacht race, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Because they missed the entry deadline they are not part of the official race.


  1. Wiradjuri woman and tennis legend Evonne Goolagong-Cawley is made a companion of the Order of Australia, the nation’s highest honour. She is recognised for her services to the game as a player and ambassador, and her work as a role model and advocate for young Aboriginal Australians. She was also named Australian of the year in 1971 and made an officer of the Order of Australia in 1983.

  2. Cathy Freeman receives the Order of Merit award, the Australian Olympic Committee's highest honour.

  3. A group shot of the Aboriginal cricket players on the cricket ground.
    The stamp shows one of the few remaining photos of the Aboriginal XI taken while on tour in 1868. The designer added the background.

    Australia Post commemorates the 150th anniversary of the first international cricket tour of England in 1868 by a team of 13 Aboriginal cricketers, most of whom were Jardwadjali, Gunditjmara and Wotjobaluk men from the Western District of Victoria. They played 47 matches, won 14, drew 19 and lost 14. A men's and women's Aboriginal XI squad went on a commemorative tour of England in June 2018 to celebrate the anniversary.


  1. Greg Inglis, captain of South Sydney, announces his retirement from rugby league after 14 seasons for health reasons.

  2. Ashley Barty wins the French Open tennis Grand Slam singles title in Paris as only the second Aboriginal woman (after Evonne Goolagong-Cawley) and is ranked World Number 2.

  3. After defeating German Julia Görges in the the Birmingham Classic, Ngaragu woman Ash Barty becomes the first Australian woman in 43 years to reach the top of the tennis singles rankings, after Wiradjuri woman Evonne Goolagong's triumph in 1976.

  4. Former AFL player and Barranbinya man Tony Armstrong makes his debut on Triple M, becoming the first Aboriginal person to call the AFL on commercial radio.

  5. The Tribal Warrior yacht with the first all-Aboriginal crew, including skipper Wayne Jones, takes part in the Sydney to Hobart race as the as the first official Aboriginal entrant. It completes the journey in 4 days and 23:53 hours. The Tribal Warrior is named after the Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Corporation, a maritime training program mentoring young Indigenous people at risk.


  1. The National Basketball League announces an inaugural Indigenous Round (Round 18) set to take place from January 29 to February 2. All games include a Welcome to Country and each team wears uniforms designed by local Aboriginal artists.

  2. Ash Barty (ranked #1) is the first woman since 1984 to qualify for the Australian Open semi-final, but she loses to the American Sofia Kenin (ranked #14) in straight sets.

  3. Josh Addo-Carr points to the black skin of his belly.
    In an attempt to remind fans of Australia's Aboriginal history, NFL player Josh Addo-Carr replicates a gesture made famous by Nick Winmar in 1993. Photo: SMH/Getty

    NFL player Josh Addo-Carr, before the Indigenous All-Stars match with the Maori All-Stars, lifts his shirt and points to his skin in a gesture akin to Nick Winmar's in 1993 to show his pride in his Aboriginality and remind fans of the Aboriginal history of Australia.

  4. For the first time at an international sports event in Australia, the Australian anthem was sung in an Aboriginal language. Olivia Fox, a 17-year-old Wiradjuri woman and student at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts, sang the national anthem in the Eora language at a rugby game (Wallabies vs Los Pumas from Argentina).


  1. Ngarigo woman Ashleigh Barty wins the Wimbledon Grand Slam, the second Australian and Aboriginal woman to do so, exactly 50 years after Evonne Goolagong Cawley's first win in 1971. Ash beats Czech player Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.

  2. Basketballer Patty Mills, a Kokatha, Naghiralgal and Dauareb-Meriam man, becomes Australia’s first Aboriginal flagbearer at an Olympics opening ceremony at the 32nd Olympic Games, held with one year delay (due to the corona virus pandemic) in Tokyo, Japan.

Cite this page

Korff, J 2021, Aboriginal timeline: Sport, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/sport?page=3>, retrieved 30 November 2021

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