The Mullagh Wills Foundation commemorative Message Book was welcomed to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on the second day of the Ashes Test on Friday January 5, 2018.
The Chairman of the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, Anthony Shepherd AO, welcomed Jane Nathan, Chair of the Mullagh Wills Foundation, to the official luncheon in the SCG Trust Suite on the second day’s play between Australia and England. Mr. Shepherd presented Jane with a message of support for the Mullagh Wills Foundation and commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Aboriginal Cricket Team’s tour to England.
This welcome at the SCG follows the special reception for the Message Book at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Boxing Day in 2016 when the ‘Journey to the MCG’ project was completed following its journey through ten municipalities in Victoria to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Team v MCC match at the MCG on Boxing Day, 1866.
The Message reads:
“The story of the first cricketers to leave Australian shores is every bit as remarkable today as it was when Tom Wills and Johnny Mullagh led their team which later travelled to England in 1868.
It is a story that resonates around the Sydney Cricket Ground, which is sited on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.
As Chairman of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust, I congratulate the Mullagh Wills Foundation on keeping alive the story of the remarkable tour and educating a new generation of their achievements.
The message of reconciliation that the foundation spreads is important for our nation and its culture.
Sport is the ideal medium to continue spreading that message. It is the greatest unifying force in our country.
Anyone can come to the SCG to watch the sporting stars of the day, just as anyone can aspire to one day earn the right to represent their club, state or country on the same field.
The SCG Trust is proud that an unbroken line of great Indigenous athletes have thrilled crowds at our grounds, from Jack March to Eddie Gilbert, Arthur Beetson to Greg Inglis, the Ella brothers to Kurtley Beale, Anthony Mundine, Kyah Simon, Adam Goodes, Michael O’Loughlin and Buddy Franklin.
Long may that continue.”
Anthony Shepherd AO
The Message Book is now set to return to Victoria to travel through the municipalities the Aboriginal Cricket Team travelled before heading to England for the tour in 1868. This will include the Borough of Queenscliff from where the Aboriginal Cricket Team left Victoria for Sydney before sailing to England in February 1868. The plan is for the Message Book to be welcomed at Lord’s in England to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the 1868 tour.