Johnny Mullagh, the star of the first Australian Aboriginal team of 19th century on Monday (28 December 2020) became the first indigenous player to be inducted into the Australian Cricket's Hall of Fame.
Considered one of the best players of his era, Mullagh took 245 wickets at an average of 10 and scored 1,698 runs during his side's maiden tour to the United Kingdom, featuring in 45 of the 47 matches way back in 1868.
Australian Cricket Hall of Fame Chairman Peter King said: "Johnny Mullagh and the 1868 Aboriginal team paved the way for so many future Australians to showcase their skill and talent on the world stage.
"To consider the team's feats were in an era dictated by inequality, makes their story even more remarkable and worthy of recognition."
"The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is proud to honour Johnny Mullagh for his contribution to Australia's cricketing history and national identity," King added.
Born Unaarrimin, Mullagh played in the third cricket match ever scheduled at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day in 1866 for the Aborignal and T. W. Wills XI against the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) in front of one of the biggest crowds of that era.
The 'player of the match' in the ongoing Boxing Day Test between India and Australia will be awarded with the Johnny Mullagh Medal as a tribute to honour him.
The initiative is part of the 2019 Reconciliation Action Plan, which continues to find ways to improve cricket's relationship with Australia's indigenous people.
The medal is a recreation of the original belt buckle worn by the 1868 team, chosen due to Mullagh's strong connection with the MCG having played in the 1866 Boxing Day match.
He also played in one first-class match for Victoria against Lord Harris' XI in March 1879 and working for the MCC in 1869/70 as a ground bowler, Cricket Australia (CA) said in a statement.
CA Interim CEO Nick Hockley lauded Mullagh's and the 1868 Aboriginal cricket team's achievements.
"Johnny Mullagh and 1868 team's story is one of resilience and triumph, as well as discrimination and tragedy. Mullagh represents his entire team and the special place they have in cricket's history."
"The achievements of the 1868 Aboriginal cricket team 152 years ago are truly inspiring, and we thank and acknowledge all descendants from the 1868 team who continue to work with Cricket Australia to bring this incredible story to life.
"We hope through celebrating their achievements, we can find more descendants connected to this remarkable Australian story, and continue to acknowledge their esteemed place in Australian cricket," he added.