Indigenous art will move onto the field as the Australian Women’s Cricket Team sport Aboriginal designed uniforms as they take on England at the T20 International early next year.
The new uniforms pay homage to the 1868 Aboriginal cricket team, who toured England between May and October.
The team comprised 13 men from Jardwadjali, Gunditjmara and Wotjobaluk country who travelled from Victoria to compete.
The uniforms are a collaborative creation between Cricket Australia (CA), ASICS and Aboriginal artists; great-granddaughter of a member of the 1868 Cricket team, Aunty Fiona Clarke and Cricket Australia’s Indigenous Engagement Specialist, Courtney Hagen.
Ms Hagen, a proud Butchulla woman, said this is monumental for Cricket Australia.
“It’s the first time on an international stage that cricket has done this,” Ms Hagen said.
“I couldn’t think of a more perfect situation where we have a team of really strong role models, like Ash Gardner who is a strong Aboriginal role model for her community and the cricket community as well.”
Ms Gardner, a Muruwari woman, said that being able to represent her country and culture in this way is a significant moment in her career.
“As part of the touring party that celebrated the 150th anniversary of the 1868 Aboriginal team to tour England, I realise how powerful valuing culture through symbols like uniforms can be about telling stories and raising awareness,” Ms Gardner said.
“My hope is that this match and these uniforms play a part in starting conversations, promoting awareness and encouraging us to learn more.”
The designs feature the Walkabout Wickets logo created by Kirrae Whurrong woman, Aunty Fiona Clarke.
“[Aunty Fiona] made it originally for our 150th anniversary of the 1868 team and it tells the story of the various training grounds the team would train on before they went on their journey. The wickets show that the game is continually being played,” Ms Hagen said.
“Essentially it is a mix of different connections to land and it represents the journey the team went on. Their story is one of huge resilience that has barely been talked about in Australian history or sport history and this art finally speaks about it.”
Cricket Australia hopes that this will prompt a movement of Reconciliation across the country.
“We have such a national and global sphere of influence that is strong particularly in media and education as this sport is so central to the Australian identity,” Ms Hagen said.
“This sport wasn’t created in Australia, it’s the most colonial sport in Australia. If we are doing something, on our own terms, so can others.”
“Reconciliation is everyone’s business and it’s something we all should be a part of – it’s an Australian movement.”
The team will debut the new uniforms on February 1, 2020 on Ngunnawal country at Makuka Oval, Canberra.
By Rachael Knowles