The Australian Eleven: The first Australian team
The first Australian cricket team to travel overseas was an Aboriginal team, made up of stockmen who had learned the game on Victorian cattle stations. The team travelled to England in 1868 for a series of matches against county teams, 10 years before the Australian Eleven team travelled to England for the first official representative Test match on British soil.
Above: This photo collage was created by Peter Dawson of Hamilton in Victoria to promote the 1868 Aboriginal cricket team tour. Photo: George Serras.
The team provoked mixed reactions from the English public. The Times described the tourists as 'the conquered natives of a convict colony' and a 'travestie upon cricketing at Lords'. The matches, however, were well-attended by a curious public with the first event at the Oval drawing 20,000 spectators. The entertainment included demonstrations of boomerang and spear throwing as well as cricket.
The Australians surprised their competitors with their sporting prowess, winning 14, losing 14 and drawing 19 of their 47 matches. Unaarrimin (also known as Johnny Mullagh) was the standout performer, scoring 1698 runs and taking 245 wickets.
Left: The 1868 Aboriginal cricket team wore uniforms of a red shirt and blue sash as well as distinctive caps so that spectators could tell them apart. Courtesy: National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an13938309.
This boammer was used by cricketer Dick-a-Dick in demonstrations of 'traditional' skills that took place after matches on the 1868 tour of England. Dick-a-Dick used the boammer to defend himself against showers of cricket balls thrown by two teammates. Courtesy: Marylebone Cricket Club.
The First Aboriginal XI
|Bullchanach 'Harry Bullocky'||Lyterjebillijun 'Jim Crow'|
|Bonnibarngeet 'Tiger'||Murrumgunerrimin 'Jeremy Tarpot'|
|Unaarrimin 'Johnny Mullagh'||Arrahmunyarrimun 'Peter'|
|Brimbunyah 'Tommy Red Cap'||Ballrinjarrimin 'Sundown'|
|Grongarrong 'Mosquito'||Mijarrie 'Lake Billy'|
|Yellanach 'Johnny Cuzens'||Cungewarrimin 'Billy Officer'|
|Jumgumjenanuke 'Dick-a-Dick'||Hingingairah 'Harry Rose'|
|Murrumgunarrimin 'Two Penny'||Bripumyarrumin 'King Cole'|