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Australian to honour its first tour members

Written by: Staff

Melbourne, May 11 (UNI) Aboriginal flags will fly at cricket venues across the nation tomorrow as Australian cricket joins to recognise the 138th anniversary of its first touring side to England, the 1868 Aboriginal team.

In an annual initiative, Cricket Australia and most states and territories will fly the flag at their offices or grounds to honour the team while in Victoria, the Immigration Museum earlier this year, staged a three-month exhibition to recognise the tour, entitled 'The First Eleven'.

The Aboriginal team set sail from Sydney on February 8, 1868, arrived in England on May 13, played 47 matches between May and October, winning 14 games, losing 14 and drawing 19.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the recognition date was another way Australian cricket could pay tribute to the courage of the first touring team.

''The 1868 Aboriginal tour of England marks an important event in Australia's sporting and cricket history as the first cricket team to tour England,'' he said.

''In 2002 Australian cricket was successful in having the team inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and in 2004, individual player numbers were allocated to the touring party as formal recognition of their place in Australian cricket history,'' a Cricket Australia release quoted Mr Sutherland as saying.

The celebrations which take place annually on May 13, is ''an idea suggested to us by one of our stakeholders and while it's simple and easy to implement, it is a gesture of significance and another way we can keep raising awareness of cricket's rich history and the contribution of Indigenous players,'' he added.


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