Aboriginal XI Tour of England - Men's
Doco shines light on Indigenous pioneers
Long history of Indigenous cricket celebrated in behind-the-scenes documentary about 2018 tour of England
5 February 2019, 01:00 PM AEST
The inside story of the very first Australian sporting team to play abroad, and the group of modern-day cricketers who followed in their footsteps 150 years later, has been revealed in a new documentary celebrating their historic tour of England.
Walkabout Wickets follows the Australian Men’s and Women’s Indigenous teams on their tour of the UK last year and delves into the deep connection these young Australians have to the game and the pioneering group of Aboriginal cricketers who blazed a trail in the mid-19th century.
In 1868, 13 Indigenous cricketers – who had learned to play the game when working on sheep stations in western Victoria – embarked on a perilous journey halfway around the world for a six-month tour of England that was played in front of thousands of spectators, intrigued and enthralled by the native people of the British Empire’s Antipodean colony.
The players risked both extreme persecution and their health simply by making the trip and 2018 Indigenous men’s skipper Dan Christian says their tale should be a source of pride for all Australians.
“It’s a story that should be told,” Christian says in Walkabout Wickets, which premieres on the Seven Network this Saturday at 1.30pm AEDT.
“It’s a fantastic story, not only for Indigenous people but just for the story itself, these guys and what they had to go through.”
Introduced by actor Jack Charles, Walkabout Wickets follows the 2018 tourists as they play nine matches against local English county sides, including some games at the same historic grounds that hosted the original Indigenous side 150 years earlier.
The cameras follow the players into the famous away rooms at Lord’s for a meeting with the senior Australian Men’s squad, where coach Justin Langer led the three teams – with arms around each other – in a rendition of the team’s victory song.
The documentary also takes viewers to more humble surrounds, the homes of some of the Indigenous players as they explain their profound relationship to their culture and the game.
And where they learn of their selection for the UK tour, triggering raw and emotional responses from ecstatic family members and friends.
The premiere of Walkabout Wickets coincides with the KFC BBL clash between Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers in Adelaide – the match has been relocated from Alice Springs due to an unfit playing surface at Traeger Park - with both teams to wear specially designed uniforms to celebrate Indigenous culture and its little-known link to cricket.
Which began more than 150 years ago, with a ground-breaking group of players who are finally being given the recognition they deserve.
Walkabout Wickets will be aired on Channel 7 this Saturday February 9 at 1.30pm AEDT