Aborigianal cricketers

The ashes started yesterday. But you must know that, because you’re reading this. There is a lot of waffle online about the ashes, little stats which mean nothing, ex players and journalists trying to come up something to fill column space with. But there are also things to learn.

The most fun thing I thought was the history of the first Australian team to play cricket in England. It was a group of aboriginals who were taken to England by someone I thing sounds like a circus ring master. The aboriginals played a game against Surrey CCC and thousands came to watch. Not because they were good cricketers, but because they were wild exotic specimens of the human man.

After the first match they were booked more and more often and they didn’t just play cricket either. From the stories I read they were made to stand on the pitch with a shield and dodge spears and balls that were thrown at them point blank. There was boomerang throwing as well.

The names these Australians had are also interesting, they were given westernized names. No surprises why, but looking back now they ar not very P.C.:

  • Johnny Mullagh – traditional name: Unaarrimin
  • Bullocky – traditional name: Bullchanach. A wicketkeeper, Bullocky was referred to as “at once the black Bannerman and Blackham of his team”.[2]
  • Sundown – traditional name: Ballrin
  • Dick-a-Dick – traditional name: Jungunjinanuke
  • Johnny Cuzens – traditional name: Zellanach
  • King Cole – traditional name: Bripumyarrimin
  • Red Cap – traditional name: Brimbunyah
  • Twopenny – traditional name: Murrumgunarriman
  • Charley Dumas – traditional name: Pripumuarraman
  • Jimmy Mosquito – traditional name: Grougarrong, who “could walk upright under a bar and then jump it in a stander”.[2]
  • Tiger – traditional name: Boninbarngeet
  • Peter – traditional name: Arrahmunijarrimun
  • Jim Crow – traditional name: Jallachniurrimin

All very interesting.

Here is the the Wikipedia article about the tour and there is this piece from the BBC

 

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