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Thursday, 7 May 1970

Mr WENTWORTH - Some time ago, my office constituted an Aboriginal Sports Foundation which, I am happy to say, is being run by Aboriginals, but which we assist. Arrangements were made to bring down from various parts of the Northern Territory a team of Aboriginal footballers. I have seen the team in action. This team managed to defeat a combined New South Wales team. It beat by a very substantial margin a combined Canberra-ACT team. When it went to Victoria, it beat the team of St Patrick's at Sale, which is highly rated, and a team at Moorabbin which is highly rated also. As far as I know - I am not up to date as to what has happened in the last few days - it has been undefeated in Victoria. We are considering the possibility of endeavouring to find in Victoria a team of sufficient standard to be sent to the Northern Territory during the football season to see whether it could give the Aboriginals of the Northern Territory a decent game. I refer, of course, to junior football, but I have no doubt that the same kind of thing is true of senior football.

I remind the House of something that is sometimes forgotten, that is, that the first Australian cricket team that ever went to England was an all-Aboriginal team and it performed rather more successfully than a European team would have been likely to perform. This team came mainly from the districts of western Victoria, and it is interesting to note that it would have included kinsmen of Lionel Rose. Although I think he lives in the east of Victoria now, his family comes from the west of Victoria and there would seem to be, in that area, great athletic ability among Aboriginals. I repeat that if we can find in Victoria a team of footballers of sufficient merit we shall endeavour to see whether it can go to the Northern Territory during the season to give the Aboriginal team a decent game.

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