Wominjeka profiles Victorian Koorie culture and Koorie organisations across Victoria. This excerpt is about sports, including musings about the possible origins of Australian Rules football.
…gets out of jail…Peter Matera…52 meters…hauls it back…what a magnificent kick for goal…
In the 1840s the Aboriginal Protector, Mr Thomas, documented his observations of young Aboriginal men enjoying an activity which bears a striking similarity to today<��s game. This game was Marngrook.
For Aboriginal people the game provided an opportunity to compete on equal footing with white Australia, where for the duration of the game it was body against body and they could be judged on sporting ability alone. They thrilled the crowd with their pace and skill as others do today.
Cummeragunja Mission on the New South Wales/Victorian border was home to Doug Nicholls. He was an extraordinarily gifted athlete who used sport to escape Mission life. Doug first played football while on Cummeragunja and was recognised as having great potential. He ventured to Melbourne and tried out with Carlton but was rejected on the grounds that he smelt. It would be another five years before Doug was able to have another crack at the V.F.L. During this time he played in the V.F.A., boxed and ran professionally, winning the Warracknabeal and Nyack Gifts. While boxing with the Jimmy Sharman Troupe, the Fitzroy Football Club approached him. Sharman only released Doug from his contract once he had a commitment from Fitzroy that they would offer Doug employment. In 1932 Doug began his V.F.L. career with Fitzroy. He played 58 games and became the first Aboriginal to be selected for Victoria.
…first Aboriginal champion…something that…is very proud of
…it’s a famous victory, a magnificent performance…what a legend, what a champion…