Cricket Indigenous Round

Cricket Victoria celebrated the first Indigenous Round in the Premier Cricket competition with a ceremony at Bill Lawry Oval prior to the Northcote home match against St Kilda and the Mullagh Wills Foundation was involved in the celebrations.

Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin tossed the coin for the match and conducted a Welcome to Country Ceremony and spoke about her family’s involvement with cricket over many years. Rohan O’Neill from Cricket Victoria spoke about the importance of the game and Ian Coutts from the Mullagh Wills Foundation reminded both teams of the remarkable journey of the Aboriginal Cricket Team in 1866.

Northcote Indigenous player, Ben Abbatangelo, was joined by St Kilda captain Rob Quiney to sign the commemorative Message Book and a message was included in the book by the Presidents of both clubs.

Click here for the pre-match article on Cricket Victoria website


Brimbank Civic Ceremony

A civic reception was held at the Brimbank City Council Civic Centre to welcome the Message Book to the City of Brimbank on November 22nd.

A traditional smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country was presented by Auntie Joy Murphy, a senior Wurundjeri elder of the Kulin alliance in Victoria. This was held outside the Civic Centre in Sunshine prior to the reception inside.

Brimbank City Council Mayor Cr John Hedditch spoke of the City’s delight at being involved in the Journey to the G project and of the acknowledgement from local cricket clubs in the region at the previous weekend’s matches which included markings on the ground to celebrate the “Reconciliation Round”.

City of Melton Mayor, Cr Sophie Ramsey, attended the reception to officially ‘handover’ the Message Book to Cr Hedditch and messages of support which will be included in the commemorative book were read out to guests. This included a message from Hon Natalie Hutchins MP, State Minister for Local Government, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Industrial Relations (signed as Natalie Hutchins MP & Cricket Mum).

Mullagh Wills Foundation Chair addressed the reception guests outlining the incredible story of the Aboriginal Cricket Team of 1866 and the wonderful community support the Journey to the G had received and how positive the message of reconciliation has been along the journey.

The newly elected councillors of the Brimbank City Council held their first meeting following the reception and this included a report on the Mullagh Wills Foundation Journey to the G project and the reading of the official message from the City to be included in the commemorative Message Book.

The Brimbank City Council, in recognition of its commitment to Reconciliation, acknowledges and commends the Mullagh Wills Foundation ‘Reconciliation Through Sport’ initiative which recognises and celebrates the Aboriginal Cricket Team of the late 1860s.

A Selection of messages from the community:

Aboriginal Culture and Heritage is an important part of modern Victoria. We have so much to learn, so much to respect. It is time to recognise it is time for Aboriginal self-determination and Treaty. Natalie Hutchins MP & Cricket mum.

We respect all communities and through sports are bound together as a multi-cultural community. Suni Phillips, Brimbank Strikers

Sunshine Heights Cricket Club congratulates the Brimbank City Council on endorsing this important celebration of the Mullagh Wills match at the MCG 150 years ago.

The Sunshine United Cricket Club would like to express how humbling it was for us to participate in the celebration of the 150-year anniversary of the historic Australian Cricket team. This event provided a wonderful opportunity to bring people together, breakdown barriers and promote the message or reconciliation and understanding.

On behalf of the North West Metropolitan Cricket Association we would like to acknowledge and strongly endorse the initiative of the Mullagh Wills foundation in remembering and honouring the first truly Australian international cricket team. We acknowledge this initiative will only support and encourage reconciliation through sport. Well done to all involved in the Mullagh Wills foundation. 

Melton City Council

It was the first meeting of the new Melton City Council on Monday evening and the Mullagh Wills Foundation Journey to the G project was the first item on the agenda. The Melton City Council officially received the commemorative Message Book and all Councillors and the CEO included their signatures beneath the Council’s official Statement of Reconciliation.

The Mayor, Cr Sophie Ramsey, who had officiated at a special function at the Kirrip Aboriginal Community House in Melton earlier in the month, spoke enthusiastically about the Journey to the G project and the importance of the Melton City Council being involved and recording a message in the Message Book.

The Mayor welcomed the Mullagh Wills Foundation Chair, Jane Nathan, who outlined the Foundation and the incredible support that has been provided by communities in the Journey to the G project. Jane also thanked the City of Melton for the outstanding support provided by the local community and the Council for the Journey to the G and the commemoration of the 1866 Aboriginal Cricket Team.

Melton City Council Statement of Reconciliation in the Message Book

“Melton City Council acknowledges the skill and commitment shown by the All Aboriginal Cricket Team in the 1860’s firstly in the 1866 Boxing Day match with the Melbourne Cricket Club and secondly, as the first Australian cricket team to tour England.

It is a story of triumph and enduring spirit, in the overcoming over the racial inequality of the day. Racial inequality still exists.

We acknowledge the past injustices faced by our First Peoples and are committed to play our part in ensuring that these injustices are not repeated. We appreciate that we still have a long journey ahead of us.

The heart of sport can successfully drive this process of Reconciliation. It breaks down barriers and unites people of all races to join together for a common purpose. It promotes understanding, tolerance and humility. United, we are a powerful force against adversity.

Well done Mullagh Wills Foundation as organisers of Journey to the ‘G’, in bringing everyone together to celebrate these important messages.”

Ballan takes the honours

The Ballan Cricket Club won the Mullagh Wills Trophy and the bragging rights over Buninyong in a tight match at Ballan Recreation Reserve on Saturday. The game was decided in the final over before tea on the second day when Ballan hit the winning runs with one wicket in hand.

The two clubs were keen to support the Mullagh Wills Foundation Journey to the G project and to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Cricket Team journey to Melbourne to play against the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1866.

Michael Flynn, the Executive Officer from Sports Central in Ballarat and a member of the Buninyong Cricket Club, initiated the match and said it was important for all Australians to have an understanding of this incredible event in our history.

“This is an amazing story and while it is about cricket it is so much more than that, it provides a wonderful example of people working together and giving everyone an opportunity. We congratulate the Mullagh Wills Foundation on the initiative to commemorate the 1866 Boxing Day match and to involve the communities that played a part in the journey 150 years ago.

“Both clubs are pleased to have had the opportunity to support the Journey to the G and hope we have been able to further promote the story to ensure more and more people are aware of this incredible event.”

Jane Nathan, Chair of the Mullagh Wills Foundation, presented the Mullagh Wills Trophy to the Ballan captain, Mick Nolan. Mick and his Buninyong counterpart, Dan Kitchen present Jane with club caps embroidered with the Mullagh Wills Foundation match details and confirmed both Clubs are now looking at making this match an annual event.

Players of both teams signed the Message Book and included a message of support.


Community Day in Melton

The Kirrip Aboriginal Community and the City of Melton hosted a Journey to the G Community Day at the Kirrip Aboriginal Community House in Melton today. The community event was organised to celebrate the Aboriginal Cricket Team of 1866 while the Journey to the G Message Book is in the Melton community.

Ron Marks, a Cultural Educator from the Barengi Gadjin Land Council provided an entertaining and informative presentation on members of the famous Aboriginal Cricket team. Not surprisingly Ron is a keen cricketer as he is a descendent of a member of the Aboriginal Cricket Team of the 1860s, King Richard or Dick-a-Dick (Traditional Name Djungadjinganook).

Ron told how King Richard threw a cricket ball over 100 yards during the tour of England in 1868 and the only person to match that distance was the great W C Grace who went on to become one of the greatest cricketers of all time.

He also said King Richard was renowned for his skill using the waddy, a traditional Aboriginal weapon. During the tour of England King Richard would challenge men, up to four at a time, to throw cricket balls at him from 15 paces away while he used a waddy and a shield to protect himself. It is reported he was only hit once but he claims he was not ready at the time.


Other special guests included the Mayor of the City of Melton, Cr Sophie Ramsey and the Deputy Mayor Cr Bob Turner. Jane Nathan, Chair of the Mullagh Wills Foundation, provided guests with an overview of the Journey to the G project and thanked the local community for their wonderful support in celebrating the incredible achievements of the Aboriginal Cricket Team in 1866 and in doing so helping to build the awareness of this remarkable story involving all members of the community 150 years ago.

The community event was completed with the raising of the Aboriginal flag on the newly erected flag pole in front of Kirrip Aboriginal Community House.

The Message Book will remain in the City of Melton until the Council Meeting on Monday November 21st. During this time it will be on display in the City of Melton offices.

Mullagh Wills Match

Ballarat Cricket Association clubs, Buninyong and Ballan recognised the Mullagh Wills Foundation’s Journey to the G on the first day of their two-day round 3 match  at Ballan Recreation Reserve today.

Michael Flynn, the Executive Officer from Sports Central in Ballarat and a member of the Buninyong Cricket Club, initiated the match with the support of the Ballan Cricket Club and the Ballarat Cricket Association to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Cricket Team journey to Melbourne to play against the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1866.

Players from both teams lined up prior to the start of play, together with the umpire, to hear about the 1866 Aboriginal Cricket Team and what the Journey to the G is commemorating. Team captains then presented the Mullagh Wills Foundation with a club cap to commemorate the occasion and the players and club members included messages of support in the commemorative Message Book which is currently in the Moorabool Shire.

The Chair of the Mullagh Wills Foundation will present the trophy to the winning side at the conclusion of the match on Saturday 12th November.

Moorabool the new host

The Mayor of the City of Ballarat handed the commemorative Message Book to the Moorabool Council at the Ballarat Town Hall earlier today. Moorabool becomes the eighth regional council to accept the Message Book on the journey from Harrow in Western Victoria to the MCG in December.

The Message Book is currently on display in the Moorabool Council offices in Ballan and will also be on display in the Bacchus Marsh library before moving to Melton City Council in November.

A cricket match between Ballan and Buninyong will be played for the Mullagh Wills trophy in early November as part of the celebrations of the Journey to G Message Book being in the Moorabool Council.


City of Ballarat

The Message Book has been welcomed to the City of Ballarat following a reception at the Ballarat Town Hall this week. The Message Book was presented to the Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Des Hudson by the Mayor of Golden Plains, Cr Des Phelan. The Golden Plains Council being the custodians of the Message Book for the last three weeks.

The presentation of the Message Book was part of the Civic Ceremony which included the unveiling of the Ballarat Town Hall Wadawurrung Acknowledgment plaque which was unveiled by the Mayor and Wadawurrung Elder, Aunty Marlene Gilson.

The activities commenced outside where Aunty Marlene’s daughter, Tammy Gilson,  conducted a traditional smoking ceremony before moving into the Ballarat Town Hall where Aunty Marlene honoured the guests with a Welcome to Country.

Before presenting the Message Book to the City of Ballarat, Golden Plains Mayor, Cr Des Phelan, said it had been an honour for the Golden Plains Shire Council to host the Message Book and said as well as the official message from Council, a number of sporting clubs, schools and residents had included messages of support. In handing over the book he acknowledged the importance of this significant event and expressed the Council’s support for reconciliation through sport.

Mayor, Cr Des Hudson was delighted to welcome the Message Book to the City of Ballarat and confirmed it would be on display in the Ballarat Town Hall for the next three weeks. Cr Hudson spoke about the incredible story that is the Aboriginal Cricket Team caught the last train to Melbourne on December 21, 1866 for the Boxing Day match and the team, including Johnny Mullagh and Tom Wills, played against Ballarat in January 1867.

Richard Kennedy, the eldest grandson of two members of the original Aboriginal Cricket Team (Dick-a-Dick and Jim Crow), who honoured guests at the launch in Harrow, Western Victoria, in March was another special guest and he spoke about the history of the Aboriginal Cricket Team and the importance of remembering their incredible achievements so long ago and the role the station holders in the Western District played in teaching the Aboriginals the game of cricket.

The ceremony was completed with a fun session of ‘indoor cricket’ in the Ballarat Town Hall courtesy of Cricket Victoria.


Golden Plains Welcome

The Golden Plains Council held a special ceremony in Linton to welcome the commemorative Message Book to the Shire. The feature of the ceremony was the ‘Welcome to Country’ by Wadawurrung representative Deanne Gilson, the daughter of renowned Aboriginal artist, Aunty Marlene Gilson from Ballarat.

Councillors, Council staff and community members were on hand for the occasion which saw Golden Plains Mayor, Cr Des Phelan and CEO Rod Nicholls, accept the Message Book on behalf of the community.

The Mayor and CEO had been involved in the State Parliament reception for the Mullagh Wills Foundation in mid-July and have plans to involve a number of community groups to help celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Cricket Team travelling through their Shire.

The Message Book will remain with the Golden Plains Council until it is presented to the City of Ballarat on Wednesday September 14.


State Parliament Welcome

Member for Ripon, Louise Staley MP, welcomed the commemorative Message Book to Parliament House in Melbourne today.

Louise hosted an afternoon tea in Parliament House for local Government representatives from regional areas involved in the Journey to the G, together with members of the Mullagh Wills Foundation Committee and special guests.

The Message Book was brought to Melbourne by Jim Nolan, CEO of Pyrenees Council and presented to Louise by Jane Nathan the Chair of the Mullagh Wills Foundation for the Member for Ripon to include a special message of support. The book will remain in Melbourne until Tuesday when it will be presented to the Golden Plains Shire at a special function prior to the annual Council Meeting.

Cr Des Phelan (Mayor) and Rod Nicholls (CEO) from Golden Plains Council and Andrew Mason (CEO Corangamite Council) joined Jim Nolan from regional municipalities, along with Rob Hyatt from the Koorie Heritage Trust at the special function.