Direct descendant, (Great Grand Daughter of James, ‘Mosquito’, Couzens and Great niece to Jon Cuzens) of the First Australian International Aboriginal XI Cricket team of 1868 Fiona Clarke, saw her renowned ‘Walkabout Wickets’ design go up as a flag at the largest arena of them all, the MCG for the Boxing Day match.
It was a long awaited event but the Australian Cricket teams, (i.e. Australian Men’s and women’s Ashes, World Cup, International T20 Cup, Australian Boxing day Tests, and many teams across the BBL) have been wearing it since 2016 either as an emblem or as a full design on their uniforms. Even the Umpires and volunteers are wearing it.
Why do they wear it? Because it represents not only First Nations people, but non-Indigenous players as well. Past, present and future players and stars. Fiona designed it to represent everyone who plays cricket.
It was originally worn to celebrate and commemorate 150th Anniversary of the first cricket match played between a Victorian Aboriginal team and a Melbourne Cricket Team at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (in 1866 Boxing Day match). This was followed up later in Sydney against a Sydney cricket team.
Then in 1868 history was made when that same Aboriginal team, players from the Jardwadjali, Gunditjmara and Wotjobaluk tribes (except for some minor changes) went to England via being smuggled onto a ship in Queenscliff and sailed across the vast sea to England where they played 47 matches. They won 14, lost 14 and drew 19 matches. The first Aboriginal team of 1866 was directed by Australian cricketer Tom Wills and the man who took them to England for 1868 was English cricketer Charle Lawrance. This was an amazing feat by the first Aboriginal cricketing team as they hailed from the Australian bush, tribesmen travelling on a vessel totally foreign to them, to a place thousands of miles away over a wild and unpredictable sea. The trips over and back were too much for some of the players as sadly some passed away while in England, on the way back and then passed away not too long after their epic history making journey.