The National Indigenous Times gains insight into the world of Kamilaroi woman Hannah Darlington, who is smashing boundaries in the cricket arena.

The 19-year-old is the third Indigenous cricketer to play for the Australian Women’s Cricket Team, joining the ranks of Faith Thomas and Ash Gardner.

Can you talk us through where you are from and a bit about yourself ?

I grew up in Western Sydney and I’ve been in my family home for as long as I can remember. My Dad grew up in the country, in a town called Barrabra just an hour past Tamworth. It’s the heart of Kamilaroi up there — the Kamilaroi highway.

It’s a really significant place where Nan and Pop grew up, so I spent a bit of time there during my childhood around my family. I am always happy to go back home to country when I can.

When did you start playing cricket and what drew you to the sport in the first place?

Dad grew up playing cricket, so it was always in the family. Also, having a little brother meant it was always something we did in the backyard.

I guess it didn’t come until school where I started in an all-girls team, it was quite significant to have an all-girls team in a private school back then.

I’m pretty happy that we got to have that opportunity and I basically just dragged all my mates along with me to get a day off school — it was pretty awesome.

I was lucky to grow up in NSW, where the pathway is straightforward, and well put-out there for young girls.

What does it mean to you to be an Indigenous woman playing cricket, especially for Australia, and for NSW?

It’s pretty significant to have the opportunity to be on a platform in playing professional sport as an Indigenous woman.

I think we’re really lucky to be able to kind of showcase what we’ve got on the national stage on the international stage, and then draw back to, when we can, how important our community, mob and family back home is.

We’re really lucky and can take as many opportunities to kind of be those role models, and on people’s screens.

Who are some of the Indigenous role models that you’ve looked up to growing up?

I was lucky to be in a really successful NSW Indigenous team. We’ve had players like Julie Muir, Roxanne Van Veen and Veronica Gordon, who are absolute legends of Indigenous cricket and have been out there every year.

They looked after Ash (Gardner) as a kid, and myself, and really grew us into the people we are.

They taught us a lot about our culture, and how to go about paving our way through the pathway to get where we are.

It’s so significant to have people like that, and it doesn’t have to be Indigenous Elders that can provide that influence for you, too. It comes back to who’s in your circle of influence that can really help you.

What’s next for you and what are you looking forward to?

With the Thunder this year I’m not necessarily thinking about back-to-back again, but just a successful season.

We’ve got a pretty strong core of players coming back and then also some new internationals, so I’m really looking forward to being around that group and leading the way with what we want to do.

The Commonwealth Games is really in my vision.

That’s that’s the big thing driving me and pushing me at the moment, not only for T20 cricket, but just to stay around this setup and really push for getting on that plane to the UK.

By Teisha Cloos