Melbourne, Dec 28 : Johnny Mullagh, the best player of the 1868 Aboriginal team that became the first sporting team from Australia to tour Internationally, has been inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
Mullagh is considered one of the best players of his era, highlighted by taking 245 wickets at 10 and scoring 1698 runs at 23.65 during that inaugural tour. Mullagh featured in 45 of the 47 matches played during the tour.
Born Unaarrimin, Mullagh played in the third cricket match ever scheduled at the MCG on Boxing Day in 1866 for the Aborignal and T.W. Wills XI who played the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) in front of one of the biggest crowds of that era, leading to this year’s introduction of the Mullagh Medal for the Player of the Match in the Vodafone Boxing Day Test, being played between India and host Australia.
The medal is a recreation of the original belt buckle worn by the 1868 team, chosen due to Mullagh’s strong connection with the MCG having played in the 1866 Boxing Day match, playing in one first-class match for Victoria against Lord Harris’ XI in March 1879 and working for the MCC in 1869/70 as a ground bowler.
Learning to bat with a red gum bat at Pine Hill Station in the West Wimmera region of Victoria, Mullagh will long be remembered as a pioneer of the sport, now recognised as the first Aboriginal inducted to the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
“Johnny Mullagh and the 1868 Aboriginal team paved the way for so many future Australians to showcase their skill and talent on the world stage. To consider the team’s feats were in an era dictated by inequality, makes their story even more remarkable and worthy of recognition,” said Peter King, chairman of Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
“Johnny starred in the third cricket match ever scheduled on Boxing Day at the MCG in 1866 where he was his team’s highest runs scorer in both innings with scores of 14 and 33 respectively. Before becoming the standout performer on the 1868 tour of England. The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is proud to honour Johnny Mullagh for his contribution to Australia’s cricketing history and national identity.”
Joe Connellan, ACA Interim CEO, said the ACA is proud to honour Johnny Mullagh.
“Johnny was a Jardwadjali man from Western Victoria and a brilliant all round cricketer. His story is an important one for all Australians because it tells of the huge contribution Johnny made to Australian sport in a time of grave inequality and discrimination. Hopefully this honour serves to tell Johnny’s Mullagh’s largely untold story.”
Nick Hockley, interim Cricket Australia CEO, said Johnny Mullagh and 1868 team’s story is one of resilience and triumph, as well as discrimination and tragedy.
“Mullagh represents his entire team and the special place they have in cricket’s history. The achievements of the 1868 Aboriginal cricket team 152 years ago are truly inspiring, and we thank and acknowledge all descendants from the 1868 team who continue to work with Cricket Australia to bring this incredible story to life,” he said.
“We hope through celebrating their achievements, we can find more descendants connected to this remarkable Australian story, and continue to acknowledge their esteemed place in Australian cricket.”
Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.