Aboriginal sport


Selected statistics

Year Lionel Morgan became the first Aboriginal person to play rugby league for Australia. He was booed and pelted by objects.
Year an Indigenous All Star team played the best non-Indigenous rugby league players. The venue sold out and gained live TV coverage.
Percentage of Aboriginal Australian adults participating in sport and physical activity. Same figure for all Australian adults: 65%. [11]
Proportion of players in the NRL who are Aboriginal [3]. Same figure for the AFL in early 2011 [9], in 2008: 10% [10], in 1995: 5% [9].
Proportion of Aboriginal players in the State of Origin [3].
Proportion of Aboriginal players in the Test team [3].
Proportion of Aboriginal people of the Australian population.
Proportion of Indigenous State of Origin players in Queensland's players since 1980.

List of linked articles

List of short articles

Sport keeps people out of trouble, self-harm

Aboriginal people have always played sport. Before invasion they knew a broad variety of traditional games, and today many Aboriginal athletes excel in their discipline.

Sport is also necessary for Aboriginal communities as never before. Research has found that sport helps reduce violence, keeps youth out of serious trouble and is essential to counter the moral despair of many Aboriginal people [4].

Depression and Aboriginal suicide rates, escalating in the early 2000s, can be brought down if people participate in sport activities by as much as 25% and 12% respectively [4].

In many communities sport provides a sense of belonging and a feeling of coherence, something to stand for. Providing meaning and purpose, sport takes young peoples’ minds off suicidal thoughts.

If anything else transcends race, intolerance or discrimination, it is sport.—Steve Stacey, Executive Officer Nyoongar Sports Association Malaga, Western Australia [1]

Sport was the first pathway that embraced Aboriginal people and gave them the opportunity to compete on an equal playing field.—Michael O'Loughlin, Aboriginal AFL player [2]

Aboriginal soccer

The inaugural Indigenous Football Festival was held in Townsville, Queensland, in July 2009. It is a first attempt to get Aboriginal Australians to embrace soccer. The festival targeted mainly young socceroos who played matches, attended coaching clinics and team-building activities.

In May 2009 the Borroloola Cyclones, a team of 15–18-year-old Aboriginal youth, became the first all-Indigenous soccer team to play an international match during the Arafura Games, held every two years in Darwin, Northern Territory [5]. Because Aussie rules is the dominant football code in the Territory, soccer is referred to as ‘round-ball’. Borroloola is about 950 kms south-east of Darwin.

Aboriginal sport resources

Movie: Aboriginal Rules Movie: Aboriginal Rules not only introduces you to the game but offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the grassroots Aboriginal football experience that you may have heard about, but never seen.

Movie: Australian Rules Movie: Australian Rules tells the love story between an Aboriginal teenage girl and a non-Indigenous boy, set in a poor fishing village in South Australia.

Find Indigenous sport books

Browse books about Indigenous sport events and famous Aboriginal sports people: Indigenous sport books

National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy

The National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) helps Aboriginal children achieve their sporting and academic goals and possibly becoming a sports star in their field.

NASCA is is an Aboriginal-governed, non-profit organisation which was founded in 1995 and set up as a mentoring initiative.

It offers three main programs:

  • Athletes as Role Models tour (ARMtour) is a program where 24 famous Aboriginal athletes visit remote communities in the Central Desert for a week 3 times a year to promote healthy lifestyles and give the children a hands-on sporting experience. Since the ARMtours inception in 1997 many community leaders report higher school attendance rates, increased participation in sport and less destructive and dangerous behaviour among youth [8].
  • The Careers and Aspirations Program (CAP) gives Aboriginal students from across Australia advice on career pathways.
  • The Academy Program offers guidance on post-school opportunities and help with numeracy and literacy skills.

The academy does not run the sports programs but has partnerships with sporting institutions such as NRL, AFL, NSW Institute of Sports, Cricket NSW, Cricket NT, National Women’s Basketball League and Softball Australia [6].

[NASCA] teaches kids not to shy away from being Aboriginal, to embrace it, be proud of it and excel in whatever they do.—Joel McCall, senior student at Marrickville High School, Academy Program participant [7]

National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA)
Suite 1009a, Level 10
MLC Centre, 19 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9221 8655
Fax: 02 9221 8322


View article sources (11)

[1] 'A sporting goal', Koori Mail 444 p.28
[2] 'Celebration and a commitment', Koori Mail 476 p.90
[3] 'War cry to unit team and country', Sun Herald 2/2/2014
[4] 'The meaning of life is... sport', SMH 12/12/2009
[5] 'Borroloola Cyclones will play ther part in history', Koori Mail 450 p.80
[6] 'NASCA ready for a big year', Koori Mail 454 p.35
[7] 'Students ready to go on the offensive', Indigenous Jobs Special Report, SMH 11/8/2012 p.31
[8] 'Opening eyes - and hearts', Koori Mail 426 p.83
[9] 'McLeod tells UN of victory over racism', Koori Mail 494 p.4
[10] 'AFL's 150th year a worthy celebration', Koori Mail 438 p.80
[11] '$325,000 to sport', Koori Mail 493 p.77

Cite this article

An appropriate citation for this document is:

www.CreativeSpirits.info, Aboriginal culture - Sport, retrieved 21 February 2017