25 May: The First Aboriginal Cricket Stars

The first group of Australian sportspeople to ever represent the country overseas were an Aboriginal team of cricketers, who began an acclaimed tour of England on 25th May, 1868.

The team had to face racism, illness and ignorance – but won the hearts of thousands of spectators, and the British establishment. They also did some awesome spear-throwing.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly trace back the story to Tom Wills, one of the inventors of Aussie-rules football; reveal why Charles Darwin played a role in inspiring the crowds of spectators; and explain how this pioneering team created the first indigenous cricketing stars in Australia…

Further Reading:

• ‘Aboriginal cricket: The first Australian tour of England, 1868’ (BBC, 2013):


• ‘Batting for the British Empire: The Role Cricket Played In Colonialism’ (HistoryExtra, 2021): https://www.historyextra.com/period/cricket-colonialism-role-british-empire/

• ‘Tom Wills, founder of Australian Football’ (Hallow Edition, 2014):

CONTENT WARNING: ​​Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are advised that this podcast contains names of deceased people.