Edenhope starts next journey

The Annual Edenhope Show was the scene for the official commencement of the next journey for the Mullagh Wills Foundation Commemorative Message Book.

Part of the official opening of the Edenhope Show by Emma Kealy MP, Member for Lowan, included the presentation of the Message Book to the local community to signify the start of the next journey which will include communities from Victoria and New South Wales.

The Message Book will travel to the Glenelg Shire and Warrnambool before being presented to the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust on day two of the New Year’s Ashes Test at the SCG in early January. Then the book will return to Victoria where it will travel to a number of communities, including Geelong and Queenscliff and return to the West Wimmera for an official ceremony to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Cricket Team tour of England in 1868.

From the West Wimmera the Message Book travel to England where it will be welcomed at Lord’s, the home of cricket before returning to Australia later in 2018.

As part of the ceremony at the annual Edenhope Show, the Mullagh Wills Foundation presented David Leahy, CEO of West Wimmera, with the Reconciliation Victoria HART Award (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together), won by the Foundation earlier in the year.

“We believe it is appropriate for the West Wimmera to display this Award in the coming months as this region is not only the home of the Aboriginal Cricket Team, it has been the starting point for our commemorative celebrations and the West Wimmera Shire has led the way for other communities to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the magnificent achievements of the Aboriginal Cricket Team and, in doing so, promote reconciliation through sport to the community,” said Mullagh Wills Secretary Ian Coutts.

For Emma Kealy MP it was the second time she had been involved with the Message Book journey, having also been involved in the original ‘Journey to the MCG’ launch at the annual Johnny Mullagh Cricket match in Harrow in March 2016.

 

                      

Skipton Celebrates

Skipton Remembers and Celebrates

The community of Skipton has embraced the 150th celebrations of the Aboriginal Cricket teams of 1866 and 1868 with a memorial sign unveiled on the banks of Mount Emu Creek.

Through the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Programme and the Mullagh Wills Foundation, together with the Corangamite Council, the commemorative sign was unveiled by Corangamite Major, Cr Jo Beard and Mullagh Wills Foundation Chair, Jane Nathan, at a ceremony in Skipton on Sunday November 12.

With additional support from the Melbourne Cricket Club, the sign recognises the Aboriginal Cricket Team which played against the Melbourne Cricket Club on Boxing Day in 1866 and the Mullagh Wills Foundation Journey to the MCG project which celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the match in 2016.

The Hon Dan Tehan MP, local Member for Wannon, worked with the local communities to support the Mullagh Wills Foundation to provide ongoing recognition of our Indigenous history and the role sport plays in reconciliation in the municipalities in his electorate through the Wannon Stronger Communities Programme.

Mullagh Wills Chair, Jane Nathan said it was wonderful to have the support of the local community and the Corangamite Shire as part of the ongoing recognition of this incredible story in our nation’s history.

“The Mullagh Wills Foundation is about reconciliation and working with communities to, not just celebrate the Aboriginal Cricket Team, Australia’s first ever team to travel overseas, it is about bringing communities together and today is a fitting example of this. Thank you to the local Skipton community, the Corangamite Shire and of course the Hon Dan Tehan and the Federal Government for the wonderful support of this project.”

Corangamite Mayor Cr Jo Beard was delighted the Council was able to continue to support the project and contribute to ‘Reconciliation Through Sport’. She also acknowledged the support of the Hon Dan Tehan and said this was much more than a celebration of the Aboriginal Cricket Team.

“Today marks the completion of the Journey to the MCG project for Corangamite, but it also marks a new beginning in recognition of the first peoples of Australia who lived here, on the banks of Mount Emu Creek, for thousands of generations. Let this modest acknowledgement be a reminder to us of their capacity and achievements – the most enduring living culture on earth.”

The commemorative sign in Skipton is the first of four signs to be erected as part of the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Programme in the Wannon electorate. Signs will also be erected in Ararat Rural City, Pyrenees Shire and the Southern Grampians Shire, all celebrating the Mullagh Wills Foundation’s ‘Journey to the MCG’ project and the Aboriginal Cricket team of 1866 and promoting reconciliation through sport.

               

150th Anniversary Celebrations in Harrow

Harrow, the home of the annual Johnny Mullagh Memorial Cricket Match, is celebrate in style on Sunday March 11th for the 150th Anniversary of the First XI 1868 cricket story.

The ‘Spirit of the First XI 1868’ exhibition at the famous Harrow Discovery Centre (Johnny Mullagh Cricket Centre) will officially open on Friday March 2nd and this will include the announcement of the Acquisitive Art Prize. The following weekend the people of Harrow and surrounding district will host the celebrations to commemorate the 150th Anniversary. These celebrations will be the culmination of years of work by the local community to ensure this incredible story of the Aboriginal Cricket Team is remembered through the Discovery Centre and the annual Mullagh Championships during the long weekend in March.

The highlight of the 2018 celebrations will be the First XI Legends Concert at Johnny Mullagh Park in Harrow. Featuring Isaiah Firebrace, the winner of X Factor in 2016 ad Australia’s representative in The Eurovision Song Contest in 2017. For Isaiah this will have an incredible significance as he is a descendant of Cuzens who was a member of the Aboriginal Cricket Team, ‘The First XI 1868’. Also performing at the concert will be Benny Walker, Neil Murray and Todd Cook who will release his new album telling the story of the First XI of 1868.

The Celebrations in Harrow on Sunday March 11

  • Farmers Market from 9:00am in Blair Street
  • National Bush Billy Cart Race from 10:00am
  • Annual Johnny Mullagh Championship Cricket Match from 10:00am at the Johnny Mullagh Oval
  • Quickshear Competition from 11:00am at the Johnny Mullagh Recreation Reserve
  • Street Performers from 5:00pm at the Hermitage hotel
  • First XI Legends Concert from 6:00pm at the Johnny Mullagh Park

The weekend promises to be a wonderful celebration of an important part of our national history.

For further details please contact Josie Sangster at the Harrow Discovery Centre 03 55831387 or 0439 498 262.

 

Logo designed by Dixon Patten, descendant of James Couzens (Mosquito) First XI 1868

 

Edenhope Community Celebrates

The local Edenhope community has been celebrating the Aboriginal Cricket Teams of 1866 and 1868 with the Mullagh Wills Foundation commemorative Message Book visiting schools and community centres in the region.

Helen Roll has escorted the Message Book and discussed the region’s connection to the Aboriginal Cricket Teams to interested groups, including the Edenhope College, St Malachy’s School and the Apsley Primary School (pictured above).

A group also paid a visit to Lake Bringalbert near Apsley and photographed the Message Book beside the lake, near where the Aboriginal cricketers played.

“The reaction has been fantastic and while many of us know of this wonderful history, there are some who were not aware of the significance of this time in our history and the important role Edenhope, Harrow, Apsley and surrounding areas played in developing the Aboriginal Cricket Team that played at the MCG in 1866 and then toured England in 1888. It has been a great experience escorting the book around the community,” Helen said.

The Message Book will be in Sydney for the Ashes Test at the SCG in early January with the SCG Trust officially welcoming the book to the ground.

HART Award Winner

Mullagh Wills Foundation – 2017 Community HART Award Winner

Having previously been selected as one of four finalists in the Small Community Category, the Mullagh Wills Foundation ‘Journey to the MCG’ project was announced as the winner of the 2017 Community HART Awards (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together) at the Awards presentation ceremony held at the Koorie heritage Trust at Federation Square on Friday June 2.

The Award is recognition by Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) of the ‘Journey to the MCG” project demonstrating Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together and contributing to reconciliation through relationships, respect and understanding.

The Award was presented to Jane Nathan (Mullagh Wills Foundation Chair) by the Hon Natalie Hutchins (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Local Government) and Belinda Duarte (Reconciliation Victoria Co-Chair).

“On behalf of the Mullagh Wills Foundation I am absolutely delighted to receive this wonderful award and thank everyone who has been involved and helped to ensure the Journey to the MCG was a success in helping to achieve our goal of reconciliation through sport and ensuring more people know about the incredible story of the Aboriginal Cricket team in the 1860s. This Award is recognition of the volunteer committee and also of the ten municipalities involved in the project and the many community groups and hundreds of people who supported the Journey to the MCG,” said Jane Nathan.

“The manner in which each of the municipalities embraced this project and helped tell the story of the Aboriginal Cricket Team’s journey to Melbourne and match against the Melbourne Cricket Club at the MCG on Boxing Day in 1866 has been wonderful. And to have the support of the Melbourne Cricket Club on Boxing Day at the sacred scar tree in Yarra Park helped complete this journey and provide further focus on this story and the role sport can play in reconciliation,” Jane added.

The ‘Journey to the MCG’ commenced in Harrow in March 2016 with the support of the Barengi Gadjin Land Council and continued through to Melbourne on Boxing Day with Senior Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin carrying the Message Book onto the ground prior to the start of the Australia Cricket Test match. At the launch of the project in Harrow, Wotjobaluk Elder Richard Kennedy, (the great-great grandson of Dick-a-Dick – a member of the 1866 Aboriginal Cricket Team), delivered a very special ‘Welcome to Country’ in the traditional Wergaia language. At the conclusion of the project, Richard Kennedy delivered a ‘Welcome to Country’ in the Wergaia language at the sacred scar tree in Yarra Park, a language that had not been spoken at this site for 150 years.

Pictured above: Cr Victoria Borg (Brimbank City Council), Jane Nathan (Chair Mullagh Wills Foundation) and Hon Natalie Hutchins (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Local Government)  Emma Staples and Shelly White (Mullagh Wills Foundation Committee), Cr Margaret Attley (VLGA President) and Ian Coutts (Mullagh Wills Foundation Committee).

About the HART Awards

The Community HART Awards, now in their fourth year, recognise local governments and community organisations that are advancing reconciliation in Victoria.

Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association present the awards, with support from Bank Australia and LGV.

The Awards recognise Victorian partnerships and initiatives that contribute to reconciliation outcomes at a local level. Nominations should be for initiatives that demonstrate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together, and initiatives that have contributed to relationships, respect and understanding.

 

HART Awards Finalist

The Mullagh Wills Foundation ‘Journey to the MCG’ project has been recognised by Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) as a finalist in this year’s Community HART (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together) Awards.

The Journey to the MCG project is one of four finalists’ in the Small Community Organisation/Group Award, along with the Phoenix FM – Koori Shout-Out, Tarerer Gunditj Project Association Inc. – Tarerer Festival “Sharing Culture’ and the Warrnambool Community Garden Inc. – Indigenous recognition seat.

“We are thrilled to be nominated as a finalist in these very special awards and believe it is wonderful recognition of this important project which involved ten municipalities and their communities from Western Victoria through to Melbourne during 2016 and of our key purpose of reconciliation through sport,” said Mullagh Wills Foundation Chair, Jane Nathan.

The Awards ceremony to announce the winners will be held on Friday June 2, during Reconciliation Week, at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Melbourne.

About the HART Awards

The Community HART Awards, now in their fourth year, recognise local governments and community organisations that are advancing reconciliation in Victoria.

Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association present the awards, with support from Bank Australia and LGV.

An award ceremony will be held during Reconciliation Week at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Federation Square where winners will receive a prize in addition to the awardThe community organisation winner will also be awarded $1000 to support their reconciliation initiatives.

The Awards recognise Victorian partnerships and initiatives that contribute to  reconciliation outcomes at a local level.  Nominations should be for initiatives that demonstrate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together, and initiatives that have contributed to relationships, respect and understanding.

For more details and a bio on the 14 finalists in the three categories please visit the Reconciliation Victoria website click here

 

Jimmy Tarpot Cup

The Apsley Racing Club, in conjunction with the Mullagh Wills Foundation and the local Apsley community will once again host the Jimmy Tarpot Cup in 2017.

The Jimmy Tarpot Cup, named in honour of Jimmy Tarpot, a member of the famous 1866 Aboriginal cricket team, is a 100 yards backwards race which will be run down the main straight of the Edenhope race track prior to the running of the 2017 Apsley Cup on Sunday June 10.

The race was introduced in 2016 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Cricket team’s match against the Melbourne Cricket Club on the MCG on Boxing Day in 1866. In 2016 the Apsley Racing Club and West Wimmera Shire hosted the “Journey to the MCG” Message Book as part of the race day activities to help celebrate the famous journey the team took from Edenhope to Melbourne in December 1866.

Local footballer Dale Smith won the inaugural Jimmy Tarpot Cup in a time of 15:01 seconds, 1:01 seconds outside the time set by Jimmy Tarpot on the MCG 150 years earlier.

“We are delighted the Apsley Racing Club has continued to celebrate the achievements of local Jimmy Tarpot and indeed the Aboriginal Cricket Team of 150 years ago and thank the Club and the West Wimmera Shire for working with the community to ensure these achievements continue to be commemorated,” said Mullagh Wills Chair, Jane Nathan.

Apsley Racing Club manager Michelle Pettit said the club, Victoria’s oldest country racing club, is pleased to be able to work with the community to honour Jimmy Tarpot.

“The Di Giorgio Family Wines Apsley Cup is a race day with all the best elements of country racing, together with some very special community events and activities. The running of the Jimmy Tarpot Cup is certainly a highlight of the day and ensures we continue to promote our local star from the Aboriginal Cricket Team from 150 years ago,” she said.

Jimmy Tarpot
Jimmy Tarpot was part of the Aboriginal Cricket Team that played against the Melbourne Cricket Club at the MCG on Boxing Day in 1866. On December 28, the Aboriginal team conducted a sports day at the MCG with a highlight being Jimmy Tarpot running 100 yards backwards in 14 seconds.

Jimmy (born Murrumgunerrimin) missed the Aboriginal Cricket Team’s tour of England in 1868 due to injury. He returned to Apsley and became a highly respected wool classer in the district.

Return to Harrow

The Message Book returned to Harrow in a special ceremony at the annual Johnny Mullagh Cricket Match in March.

Part of the Mullagh Championship weekend activities in Harrow, the cricket match was once again a highlight of the weekend and the presentation of the Message Book, from the Mullagh Wills Foundation to the West Wimmera Council, Harrow Discovery Centre and the Mullagh Cricket Match committee, was conducted during the luncheon interval. Both teams involved in the cricket match were part of the ceremony to mark the anniversary of the start of the Journey to the MCG project which commenced with the presentation of the Message Book to the West Wimmera Council at the Johnny Mullagh Cricket Match in March 2016.

At the launch in 2016, the Message Book was presented by Richard Kennedy, a member of the Wotjobaluk Clan and descendant of two members of the 1866 Aboriginal Cricket Team (Dick-a-Dick and Jim Crow), and Richard spoke in the local Wergaia language and included a message written in the Wergaia language. Richard also presented a commemorative Message Stick at the launch in 2016, this was presented to the Mullagh Wills Foundation and then presented to the Melbourne Cricket Club on Boxing Day last year.

Special guests at the launch and again at the presentation of the Message Book to the local Harrow community on March 11 included members of the Edgar and Handbury families and Frank Huthinson, all of whom have had a long association of support of the annual cricket match.

The Journey to the MCG Message Book will remain at the Harrow Discovery Centre until later in the year when it will begin another journey to follow in the tracks of the Aboriginal Cricket Team which left Edenhope for Queenscliff in 1867 before travelling to England to become the first Australian cricket team to play overseas in 1868.

 

Powerful & Symbolic

The most powerful and symbolic moment from Boxing Day happened before a ball was bowled at the MCG in Australia’s traditional Boxing Day Test Match.

Outside the ground at the Indigenous scar tree in Yarra Park a ceremony involving Aboriginal Elders, the Federal Government, the Melbourne Cricket Club and the Mullagh Wills Foundation celebrated, not just the 150th Anniversary of the Boxing Day cricket match between the All Aboriginal team and the MCC, it brought together people from the communities involved in the Mullagh Wills Foundation Journey to the MCG – from the West Wimmera through to Brimbank municipalities.

Community groups, sporting clubs and Indigenous communities all came together in what was a most powerful moment.

Federal Minister, Hon. Dan Tehan MP, represented the Prime Minister at the ceremony and he was joined by Wotjobaluk Elder Richard Kennedy, (the great-great grandson of Dick-a-Dick – a member of the 1866 Aboriginal Cricket Team), Steven Smith the President of the MCC and David Hawker and Jane Nathan from the Mullagh Wills Foundation.

Richard Kennedy presented an Acknowledgement to Country before officially handing over the commemorative Message Stick to Steven Smith who confirmed this will be displayed at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in memory of the Journey to the MCG celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the 1866 Boxing Day match. The Message Stick was presented to the Mullagh Wills Foundation at the launch in Harrow in March and has been held in safe keeping since.

David Hawker, former Member for Wannon and Speaker in Federal House of Parliament then presented the commemorative Message Book to the Hon. Dan Tehan to symbolise the end of the Journey to the MCG from Western Victoria. Dan is the Federal Member for Wannon and was involved in the official launch in March. This Message Book has hundreds of messages of support and reconciliation from the communities in all municipalities involved in the journey, including formal message from each Council.

Such was the impact and meaning of the ceremony, particularly to the Indigenous community, Senior Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin asked if she could take the Message Book onto the MCG while she presented the Welcome to Country on the ground prior to the start of play.

After the ceremony Aunty Joy confirmed it was very special to be able to hold this book on the ground during the ceremony because of what it symbolises, bringing communities together from Western Victoria to Melbourne and commemorating a remarkable period in our nations history and the brave young Aboriginal men who travelled to Melbourne to play cricket 150 years earlier.

The Mullagh Wills Foundation is about bringing communities together and thanks to the wonderful support all the municipalities, various community and sporting groups and the Indigenous communities, the Journey to the MCG has succeeded and we have been able to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the Aboriginal Cricket Team 150 year ago.

“The Foundation is about the involvement of communities and recognising the incredible achievements of the Aboriginal Cricket Team 150 years ago, as well as helping to bring communities together and we have been delighted by the involvement and support of all the communities along the way,” said Jane Nathan, Chair of the Mullagh Wills Foundation.

“Our motto is; ‘reconciliation through sport’, and we believe this unique story from our history, particularly the involvement of Tom Wills as the original coach of the team, is a powerful example of recognition and reconciliation, and today this has been recognised in a most powerful way,” added Jane.

 

Return to Richmond

The community celebrations to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the 1866 All Aboriginal Cricket Team, from the West Wimmera Shire through a further ten municipalities, continued at the Punt Road Oval today as part of the Mullagh Wills Foundation Journey to the MCG project.

Foundation Member and former Australian Test Cricketer Mel Jones was joined by Jess Martin and Ben Abbatangelo Indigenous cricketers from Cricket Victoria’s Noogal program and Richmond Indigenous footballer Nathan Drummond and cricket loving teammate Shaun Grigg at the Richmond Football Club (Punt Road Oval) today.

The Aboriginal Cricket Team trained at the Punt Road Oval prior to the Boxing Day match against the MCC in 1866 and the meeting on the ground commemorated the occasion from 150 years ago and provided an opportunity for the athletes to view the message in the Mullagh Wills Foundation Message Book.

Richmond Football Club CEO, Brendan Gale took the opportunity to include a message from the Club:

“The Richmond Football Club acknowledges the role that sport can play in building bridges between cultures. We are proud of the  fact that this pioneering Australian cricket team spent time at our iconic home, Put Rd Oval in 1866, prior to embarking on their historic journey.”

Mel Jones took time out from her busy cricket commentating schedule to be at Punt Road Oval and was delighted to have the opportunity to represent the Foundation with the three Indigenous athletes and the cricket loving Grigg who grew up in Ballarat which has been involved in the Journey to the MCG.

“The Foundation is about the involvement of communities and recognising the incredible achievements of the Aboriginal Cricket Team 150 years ago, as well as helping to bring communities together and we have been delighted by the involvement and support of all the communities along the way,” said Mel

“Our motto is; ‘reconciliation through sport’, and we believe this unique story from our history, particularly the involvement of Tom Wills as the original coach of the team, is a powerful example of recognition and reconciliation,” added Mel.

On Boxing Day, at the scar tree in Yarra Park outside the MCG, the Message Book and a traditional Message Stick, will be presented to Wurundjeri Elders by Wotjobaluk Elder Richard Kennedy, a descendent of Dick-a-Dick a member of the 1866 Aboriginal team.

mel-nathan-shaun-and-jess