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Aboriginal cricket legend Johnny Mullagh celebrated in historic bush match.

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Media Release

Aboriginal Cricket Legend Johnny Mullagh Celebrated in Historic Bush Match


10 March 2001


The historic 1868 tour of England by an Indigenous cricket side is to be commemorated at a special cricket match between an Indigenous and non-Indigenous side in Harrow, western Victoria on Sunday (11 March).

The battle for the Johnny Mullagh Cup will involve a team of Aborigines from the Wotjobaluk people in Horsham and the Gunditjmara people from Lake Condah playing a non-Indigenous XI from Harrow.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chairman Geoff Clark said the match was a great way for the people of western Victoria to celebrate the legacy of one of our country’s greatest batsmen.

“Johnny Mullagh was the unofficial captain of the Indigenous team which was the first Australian team to tour England in 1868,” Mr Clark said.

“On that tour the legendary W.C. Grace described him as one of the best batsmen he had ever bowled against.

“He topped his team’s batting in England with a total of 1698 runs in 45 matches at an average of 23.65 and he was the second best wicket taker with 245 wickets at an average of 10 runs.”

Mr Clark praised the efforts of the Indigenous team members in this annual event who have sacrificed time and money for six years to commemorate Johnny Mullagh and the team he took to England more than 130 years ago.

He also congratulated the Harrow Bush Billycart Committee for its organisation of the event.

Mr Clark said: “There is now a renewed mainstream interest in Indigenous cricket and its proud heritage in the wake of our game against the Prime Minister’s XI.

“I have asked the Australian Cricket Board to get behind events such as the Johnny Mullagh Cup and other organisers of Indigenous cricket involved at the grass roots level around Australia so we can develop more Indigenous involvement at first class level.

This game will also be an ideal curtain-raiser to the historic match between the Prime Minister’s XI and

ATSIC Chairman’s XI in Canberra on April 19.”

Indigenous team organiser Shaun Swan said the match was “a cultural gathering for all of our mobs so we can celebrate Johnny Mullagh and his team”.

Harrow Bush Billycart Committee spokesman John Gartland said the game was not only a celebration of the area’s rich historical cricket legacy but also an opportunity to promote reconciliation.

Johnny Mullagh lived most of his life in Harrow and died there in 1891. His bust is displayed at the Johnny Mullagh Oval - the venue for Sunday’s historic match.

Note to Media: Game begins at Johnny Mullagh Oval, Harrow (400km west of Melbourne) at 10.45 AM

Further information: Shaun Swan (Indigenous XI) 0409 382 028 John Gartland (Harrow XI) (03) 5588 1209 Paul Molloy 0419 690 926 ATSIC Office of National Media and


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