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Category: Indigenous Australians

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Indigenous Australian figure skater Harley Windsor makes history

First Aboriginal athlete to compete at Winter OlympicsFaces nervous wait on qualification for last 16 History was made at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Wednesday when Harley Windsor, a figure skater from the western suburbs of Sydney, became the first Ind…

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Pompey Austin: an Australian sporting hero deserving of recognition

The talented footballer, cricketer and athlete took on white men at their own games at a time when the impact on Indigenous people was devastating

Courage comes in all shapes and forms. Last month, Tony Birch called for the recognition of Aboriginal heroes and mentioned Ada and Lena Austin’s attempts to rescue Lena’s daughter from the “protective” system set up by colonial governments in the early years of the last century.

Equally worthy of recognition, though a very different kind of hero, is their father, Albert “Pompey” Austin, who in his brief life was a footballer, cricketer, athlete, racehorse owner, horse thief, artist, explorer, savant, entertainer and musician, and a thorn in the side of those who wished to confine him and the few survivors of his generation to remote ghettos on the fringe of the colony.

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Indigenous rugby league carnivals becoming the ‘saviour’ of the NRL | Joe Gorman

Festivals such as the Murri Carnival and the Koori Knockout provide a chance to reaffirm connection to community, but also offer players a career stepping stone

Every spring, as September draws to a close and the NRL grand final is played over the October long weekend, thousands of Indigenous people in Queensland and New South Wales come together to contest the Murri Carnival and the Koori Knockout. Together, these two rugby league tournaments represent the largest gathering of Indigenous people in the country, eclipsing all other cultural festivals.

Established in 2011, the Murri Carnival is the much younger and more formal little brother of the Koori Knockout, which began in 1971. For the past six years the Carnival has been run by the Arthur Beetson Foundation and hosted at Redcliffe Dolphins’ home ground in Brisbane.

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John McGuire: the Indigenous cricketer who lost out on playing for Australia

The talented batsman faced racial abuse throughout his career and is convinced prejudice prevented him from rising to the national side

It may be Sorry Day but John McGuire won’t be receiving an apology. Not from the Western Australia Cricket Association and not from the men he played against. “There wasn’t a match I wasn’t racially abused in when I went out to bat,” McGuire says, reflecting on the record 10,000-plus runs he scored in Perth first-grade cricket.

A Balladong man of the Nyoongar language group in south-west Western Australia, McGuire was on the cusp of state selection several times during his career. But there always seemed to be an excuse not to pick him. “I was too slow or too fast, or too young or too old,” he says. “But I know it came down to the colour of my skin.

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Aboriginal cricket pioneer Faith Thomas: ‘I’m still the fastest woman bowler ever’

Faith Thomas was the first Aboriginal woman picked for any national sports team when she bowled for Australia in 1958. As she prepares for a trip to the MCG for the Boxing Day Test, she tells how she saw Don Bradman change his mind about the women’s game

“I always say that I hold two records,” says Faith Thomas, laughing. “I think I’m still the fastest woman bowler ever. And I think I also might have been the biggest flash in the pan ever.”

She’s being very modest. Not only was Thomas (née Coulthard), the first Aboriginal woman to represent Australia on a cricket field when she opened the bowling in the Melbourne Test of the 1958 Ashes series, she was was the first Aboriginal woman picked in any national sporting team.

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Koori knockout a colourful meeting of mobs united by rugby league | a

Played every October long weekend, the Koori knockout draws together rugby league teams from the 40 cultures that make up the NSW Koori nation

After filmmaker Louis Theroux’s recent trip to Australia he noted that Aboriginal Australians are now “out of sight”. It’s a shame he didn’t stay a few weeks longer to witness the Koori Knockout – a stunning counter narrative of the world’s oldest continuous culture.

Played every October long weekend, this unique rugby league carnival draws teams from the 40 cultures that make up the NSW Koori nation. This year the event returned to its home base of Sydney courtesy of the hosting rights of the men’s champions, the Redfern All Blacks, who staged a miraculous comeback to win last year’s event in Dubbo.

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Tom Wills grave restoration project reveals football’s heart, soul and history

A quest to restore the grave of Australia’s first cricket great and the father of Aussie Rules has brought a Melbourne teacher personal salvation

If there’s something a lifetime of following footy teaches you it’s that the rain never arrives when you want it to. With that in mind I find myself standing in a persistent drizzle on the corner of Upper Heidelberg and Darebin roads in Heidelberg, 13km north-east of Melbourne, on a dark and gloomy morning that at least offers a bright prospect.

Local English as an additional language teacher, amateur football historian and true believer Phil Dimitriadis is about to guide me through the gates of Warringal cemetery to the newly restored grave of Tom Wills, a founder and father of Australian rules football. Finals beckon, so its hard to begrudge winter’s lingering chill.

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Indigenous leader Maurice Rioli inducted into AFL Hall of Fame

  • Essendon great posthumously honoured at gala ceremony in Melbourne
  • ‘He was the Rolls Royce of Territory football,’ says Michael Long

Essendon great Michael Long has paid tribute to Indigenous trailblazer Maurice Rioli after his induction to the AFL Hall of Fame.

Rioli, who won the Norm Smith Medal in Richmond’s losing 1982 grand final, was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame at a gala ceremony at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium on Tuesday night.

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‘I’ll whip his arse’: Anthony Mundine wants to fight Danny Green at Uluru

  • Mundine will ‘talk to the traditional owners and see what we can do’
  • 40-year-old’s re-match with Green is reportedly valued at $8 million

Forget the “Rumble in the Jungle”, Anthony Mundine wants a “Blue at Uluru” with Danny Green. Ten years after Mundine beat Green in a unanimous points decision in Sydney, the pair continue to squabble over the terms of a rich rematch – reportedly valued at $8m – but now a new venue has been put on the table.

“I would like [the fight] to be at Uluru,” Mundine told Triple M on Friday. “We’ll talk to the traditional owners and we’ll see what we can do.”

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Friday Focus: Football faces closing window to lead Indigenous participation | Richard Parkin

Football may have forgotten its rich Indigenous heritage, but in the women’s game especially it still has a golden opportunity to grow the game

In today’s increasingly commercialised and competitive sporting environment it’s easy to allow creeping cynicism regarding corporate social responsibility to cloud genuinely well-intentioned initiatives.

In reality, Football Federation Australia’s Indigenous Football Week lies somewhere in between; without concrete on-going commitments the goodwill of such gestures can easily dissipate, but to regard such an event as mere tokenism is to grossly underestimate its importance for those thousands of kilometres from the corridors of power.

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Jason Mifsud and Fitzroy Stars: a man on a mission at a club that means so much

Guardian Australia was invited to a pre-season training camp, where a unique insight was granted into the machinations of the Aboriginal football club and its inspirational, politically-minded coach

Across the foyer of AFL House in Melbourne, Jason Mifsud distractedly waves his hand in my direction. He’s busy with a phone call. Less than an hour before our meeting, the state Labor government announced his appointment as executive director for Aboriginal Victoria in the Department of Premier and Cabinet. As he hangs up the phone, we shake hands, I offer my congratulations and ask if he’ll take a break in preparation for the new role. “Not in my line of work,” he responds with a grin. “Aboriginal affairs is a full time job.”

From 2007, Mifsud, 42, was the most senior Aboriginal administrator at the AFL. The job title changed over the years, but essentially he was in charge of running the Indigenous and multicultural programs. It’s a position that granted him great influence but also brought considerable controversy. Mifsud leaves an organisation that has increased Aboriginal participation at both grassroots and administrative level, established multicultural and Indigenous rounds, and introduced the Indigenous Advisory Group. Yet there was also that chaotic six-week period in 2012 where he clashed spectacularly with several high profile players and coaches on the issue of race, issued a public apology to former Melbourne coach Mark Neeld, offered his resignation to the AFL and had senior Aboriginal players Dean Rioli and Michael Long call for his sacking.

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Fitzroy Stars take you along on their gruelling pre-season training camp

A player from the Indigenous, Melbourne-based Australian rules football club strapped a camera to his head so you can join the squad in their preparations for the new season Continue reading…

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Fitzroy Stars: Melbourne’s only Aboriginal footy club – in pictures

The highly-regarded club prides itself on its role in the community. Our photographer joined coach Jason Mifsud, who is also the newly installed executive director for Aboriginal Victoria, and his players for a day of training at their home ground in T…

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World All Stars snap Indigenous All Stars winning streak | match report

World All Stars 12 – 8 Indigenous All StarsSeries tied at 3-3 in front of 37,339 fansThe future of the All Stars concept was guaranteed before a ball was kicked in anger at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.The Indigenous and World All Stars still push…

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Don’t boo: Adam Goodes’ Sydney Swans teammate backs calls not to heckle star – video

Sydney Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy has backed calls not to boo the dual-Brownlow medallist and Swans star Adam Goodes during this weekend’s AFL clash with North Melbourne. Hostility from rival crowds has increased against Goodes since he performed a …

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Thanks a lot, racists. Now I can’t boo Adam Goodes

It’s impossible to tell the difference between racist and non-racist booing. Racists have ruined my freedom to boo Adam Goodes at the footy

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The backlash against Adam Goodes is the reason his war dance is important

Like Cathy Freeman, Adam Goodes can’t leave his heritage at the door just to make some Australians more comfortable

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Nathan Lovett-Murray: ex-AFL star and family still surviving despite struggles

The former Essendon player’s family has a rich Anzac history and they now find themselves fighting another war back on Gunditjmara country in Victoria

Tattooed across Nathan Lovett-Murray’s shoulder blades is the word “payback”. The name of the former AFL star’s hip hop record label, it’s etched into his skin and his family history. “Payback is an Aboriginal word for tribal punishment,” he says. “It’s a word that can relate to a lot things in the Aboriginal community, we’ve been ripped off. But this is our time now.”

Between the Lovett and Murray families – Lovett on his mum’s side, Murray on his dad’s – there is military service almost unparalleled in Anzac history. His grandfather Stewart Murray fought in WWII, and whenever there’s been a war, from WWI to Afghanistan, a Lovett has served. Five of the Lovett brothers fought in both WWI and WWII. But Lovett-Murray’s is a different battle – he’s fighting for land, for country and for black empowerment. He calls it “the struggle”.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you to see if you could give me any information regarding the cutting up of Lake Condah Mission Station into blocks for Aboriginal Servicemen of this war.

#SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA #Protest #Rally #Australia #Melbourne pic.twitter.com/2XcVMnJZu1

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Indigenous sector outrage at funding for government departments and sport

List of organisations getting Indigenous Advancement Strategy funds including government departments and sporting bodies angers those who work in the field Continue reading…

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Sporting clubs can help change attitudes towards domestic violence, inquiry told

Chair of the Northern Territory Indigenous Male Advisory Council, Charlie King, tells Senate inquiry sporting clubs have a responsibility to address the issue Continue reading…