The Message Book

The Message Book is a commemorative book that was presented to the Mullagh Wills Foundation Committee and the West Wimmera Shire Council at the launch of the Journey to the G on Sunday March 13, 2016.

The Message Book includes a message on the Journey together with the Welcome to Country, written in both English and Wergaia, the language of the Wutyubaluk people, as delivered by Richard Kennedy at the launch.

Each municipality along the route, commencing with West Wimmera, have been invited to pass a formal motion of reconciliation and support of the Aboriginal Cricket Team at a Council Meeting during 2016. The Message Book will be in each of the municipalities for up to three weeks and during this time schools, local sporting and community groups will be invited to include a message of reconciliation and support.

The Hon Dan Tehan, Member for Wannon and Emma Kealy MP, Member for Lowan, both included messages in the Message Book at the official launch. The Prime Minister, The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP forwarded a letter of support to be included in the Message Book in July.


“Reconciliation through sport”
The Journey to the ‘G’

Harrow to the Melbourne Cricket Ground – A celebration of the historic journey to reconnect the home of the Australian Aboriginal Cricket Team in Western Victoria to the MCG, the home of the first match against the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) on Boxing Day 1866.

This journey will commence at Harrow, the home of the Johnny Mullagh Cricket Museum, on March the 13th, 2016 at the annual celebration cricket match, part of the Johnny Mullagh Championship weekend. Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Boxing Day match in 1866, the journey will travel through regional Victoria, unifying communities through sport, on route to the MCG.

The Mullagh Wills Foundation has been established to recognise and celebrate the contributions made to sport and the community by Johnny Mullagh and Tom Wills. Mullagh and Wills played an important role in the growth of both cricket and football in the 1800’s in Victoria and Australia. Johnny Mullagh and Tom Wills brought communities and cultures together through sport.

The Mullagh Wills Foundation will profile and promote the amazing Mullagh Wills journey from Victoria’s Western District to the World.

The Mullagh Wills Story
In the 1860’s pastoralists in the Western District fostered the local Aboriginals in the game of cricket. In 1866 the MCC, at the request of Roland Newbury the MCC curator, arranged for Tom Wills, one of the founders of Australian Rules Football in 1853, to travel to Lake Wallace, Edenhope (Western Victoria) to coach the Aboriginal team, (the team would become known as the Australian Aboriginal Cricket Team), for the 1866 Boxing Day match against the MCC. Over 8,000 spectators attended this match at the MCG.

The Aboriginal Cricket Team played additional matches in Victoria and NSW during 1867 before travelling to England and, in May 1868, they became the first Australian cricket team to play in England – the first Australian Test team of cricketers.

One of the stars of this Aboriginal Team was Johnny Mullagh (born Unaarrimin, he was given the name ‘Mullagh’ to identify him with his place of birth, on Mullagh Station, 16km north of Harrow. Such were his cricketing skills he played as a professional with the Melbourne Cricket Club for a short period and represented Victoria against England.

The All Aboriginal Cricket team tour was much more than cricket, it was about Australia in the 1860s and the struggle for Aboriginal people during British settlement. Cricket played an important role in helping to break down the barriers that existed between Europeans and Aborigines.

In 2011 Mullagh was one of the 20 inaugural inductees into The Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll.

Mullagh Wills Foundation Committee
Jane Nathan – Chair
Ian Coutts – Secretary
Mark Crouch – Treasurer
Tony Cavanagh
David Hawker
Melanie Jones
Emma Staples
Shelley White

Welcome To Country

Harrow to the Melbourne Cricket Ground – A celebration of the historic journey to reconnect the home of At the launch of the Journey to the G in Harrow, which is Jaadwajali and Wotjobaluk land, Aboriginal Elder Richard Kennedy presented the Welcome to Country in both English and Wergaia Language. The Wergaia language is the traditional Aboriginal language of the Wutyubaluk people.

Dalk Muwil
Hello all

Nyarringek Richard.
My name is Richard.

Wutyubalukan. Giyangan dyalinggi Wergaia.
I am Wutyubaluk. I speak the Wergaia Language.

Gumbin dyalingandak.
Our language was sleeping

Baikenandang dyalinggi Wergaia.
They all and I woke up the Wergaia Language.

Dalkaia gimbanyat Dyadawadyalii ba Wutyubaluki dyakatandak.
It’s good that all of you are here on our Jaadwajali and Wotjobaluk land.

Dalki Dyadawadyalii ba Wutyubaluki Ngapa ba Gugurn ba Gukwan ba Mim.
I pay respects to the elders. (The elders are good)

Dalkaia Dyadawadyalii Wutyubaluki dyakatandak.
I pay respects to the land. (The land is good)

Malamia,warringin Ngapaku ba Gugurnu gricket.
Long ago, grandfathers played cricket.

Dyirrangaty dyakata
They all Journey to the ground.

Nyauwi, dyirrangu dyakata
Today, you all and I Journey to the Ground

Nyauwi, dyaguangu.
Today, you all and I celebrate.