A book about Aboriginal people in Australia and our game has recently been released; it provides some interesting details, disproving a most recent held myth about the indigenous and the foundation of the game of Australian Football.
It was written by Roy Hay who was educated at Glasgow University and Balliol College, Oxford. He came to Deakin University, Australia, in 1977, after teaching at the universities of East Anglia, Glasgow and the Open University, UK, and is an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University. His early publications were in economic, social and oral history, and, while contributing to 25 different courses at Deakin University in 25 years, he became a part-time journalist with the Geelong Advertiser, covering “association football”, as the game of soccer was originally known. The unrivalled access in his reporting at a local and national level led to the publication of a string of academic articles and a series of books, including the standard history of the game, A History of Football (soccer) in Australia, with Bill Murray, two edited collections and several shorter works. Roy has always been interested in the contribution of Australia’s Indigenous people to all the football codes in Australia.
It is said his latest book “will revolutionise the history of indigenous involvement in Australian football in the second half of the nineteenth century”. It collects new evidence to show how Aboriginal people saw the cricket and football played by those who had taken their land and resources and forced their way into them in the missions and stations around the peripheries of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. It says they learned the game and brought their own skills to it, eventually winning local leagues and earning the respect of their contemporaries. Evidence shows they were prevented from reaching higher levels by the “gatekeepers of the domestic game” until late in the twentieth century. “Their successors did not come from nowhere.”
Hays’ book defeats the sometimes contemporary supported myth that Aborigines had some type of a hand in the development of the game with the former consistent with the thinking of a number of members of the Football History Society. The evidence speaks for itself, the first rules of the game were written by a group of six or so at a Richmond Hotel in Melbourne in May 1858. See here for these rules.
If you wish to purchase the book published by Cambridge Scholars Publications, and want 60% off this “book of the month”, you can do so here by following the directions.