ANU researchers have takien their inquiry into Indigenous participation in cricket to the home of one of Australia’s greatest Indigenous cricketers, Johnny Mullagh.
Professor Mick Dodson and Dr Bill Fogarty, from the University’s National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS), are looking at ways to get more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to play cricket. Their inquiry visited the Johnny Mullagh cricket Cup in Harrow.
The Mullagh Cup is an Indigenous cricket competition honouring the man who led Australia’s first ever cricket tour of England when he led an Indigenous team in 1868.
“Johnny Mullagh was one of the great cricketers of the 19th century and we want to find more talented Indigenous cricketers who could be the next great national champions,” Professor Dodson says.
Mullagh was a skilful all-rounder, a right-arm bowler and a right-handed batsman who played 47 matches on the 1868 tour, making 1698 runs and taking 245 wickets.
“It’s through small carnivals such as the Mullagh Cup that the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s favourite game is recognised and developed from the grass roots for the future,” Dr Fogarty says.
It’s hoped the study, jointly commissioned by Cricket Australia and the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) at ANU, will rejuvenate Mullagh’s passion for the game within Indigenous communities across Australia.
The NCIS researchers already visited the Northern Territory last month where they attended the Imparja Cup as part of their opening round of consultations. They plan to visit as many Indigenous communities around Australia as possible over the next 12 months.