PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 7445


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 07/12/1988

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 7445

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the presence of this distinguished company, which
includes some of the finest cricketers in the world
indeed, some of the greatest of all time it gives me great
pleasure to launch " Dreaming of Lords", the film which tells
the story of the National Aboriginal Cricket team's tour of
England earlier this year.
We are here today to celebrate the achievements of the 1988
team but we should not forget their predecessors.
on earlier occasions I have discussed in detail. the
outstanding achievements of the 1868 Aboriginal team, the
first Australian team to tour England.
Let me mention now one or two aspects.
we may imagine the difficult adjustment these Aboriginal
sportsmen had to make, in travelling from the rural
quietness of Western Victoria to industrial England. On top
of that, their playing conditions were frequently very
tough. As John Mulvaney and Rex Harcourt have written:
" While matches normally lasted only two days, there were
more of them, which added to the time spent travelling,
often in uncomfortable vehicles and delays were
prolonged while waiting for transport connections. The
hours of play were longer also than at present. Play
began at 11 am or ngon-and usually continued until 7 pm
or later. The additian of sporting exhibitions to the
Aborigines, programme must have involved even longer
hours. There were no tea breaks and the only interval
was for lunch, a 35 minute period at some time between 2
and 3 pm. Most grounds did not provide special catering
facilities for the players who had to take their chance
with the crowd which thronged refreshment tents. If he
was lucky, a player emerged with beer and sandwiches."
I understand the ACS manages these things somewhat
differently these days. 41I05

Notwithstanding these and similar difficulties, they
performed with great skill and, with the benefit of
hindsight, we can say that in Johnny Mullagh, they produced
one of the greatest Australian cricketers to tour England.
While preparing for the tour, the 1988 tourists came face to
face with the spirit of the men of 1868. Playing in Western
Victoria, at Harrow last Easter, they met Mrs Esther
Burchett, a member of the Aboriginal community.
Mrs Burchett had, in her youth, known Jimmy Tarpot, one of
the stars of 1868. She is now 102 years old and it is
marvellous that she provided a living bridge between these
two fine teams.
It was a great initiative on the part of the National
Aboriginal Cricket Association to organise a tour of England
in 1988. The results of the tour fully justify the high
hopes of those who conceived and organised it, and, of
course, those companies, such as Qantas, who sponsored it.
On the field, they played with distinction, winning 16 of
their 28 fixtures. The opposition they met was frequently
formidable and I am afraid I should probably acknowledge
some responsibility for this.
In January at Manly, I captained a team against John
McGuire's team. My side included some of the great names in
Australian cricket Lillee, Marsh, Chappell and others. We
were soundly defeated.
The news of this result preceded the Aboriginal team in
England, with the consequence that their opposing teams were
frequently stacked with players of international and first
class experience. This makes their for and against record
even more meritorious.
Incidentally, my own contribution at Manly was an innings of
some 20 minutes which was described afterwards by a young
aficionado of the game as " a very solid duck, Mr Hawke". I
am sure that the film makers would not have had the
disrespect to includethis batting effort in " Dreaming of
Lords". There were some outstanding individual performances on the
tour of England. The experienced players like John McGuire,
Michael Mainhardt and Neil Bulger performed with the
consistency and quality expected of them. Young players
like Sean Appo, Bert Pearce and Joe Marsh, who averaged 52
with the bat, all made significant progress. And I am very
happy to say that the'performances of Michael Williams
behind the stumps have earned him a place in the Prime
Minister's XI to play against Viv Richards and the West
Indies team tomorrow.
All the participants benefitted enormously from the tour, in
a playing and a personal ' sense.

The team were great sporting ambassadors for Australia on
and off the field. Doug McClelland, our High Commissioner
in the United Kingdom, sent me very favourable reports of
their progress. And there was considerable press reportimg
in Britain on the tour, all of it very positive. This
reflects enormous credit on Mark Ella the manager, Ian King,
the coach, John McGuire, the captain, amd every individual
player. " Dreaming of Lords" is their story. It puts their tour in
its historical context. It tells of the 17 players on this
unique odyssey, the rigours of their training, how they
coped, as individuals and as a team, with instant celebrity,
and the adventures and social situations they encountered in
typical English conditions.
The film has been made with great warmth, humour and
imagination. In the short term, it will provide great
entertainment. In the longer term, it will be a valuable
historical record. And, at both levels, I hope it will be
an inspiration to the Aboriginal community and to all
Australians. The highlights of the Aboriginal tour are recorded,
including their match at Lords, which was unfortunately
curtailed by rain let's not mention that word again for a
day or two but not before the team had taken the field for
a couple of hours. I am also delighted that their match
against Clive Lloyd's XI is included. And may I take this
opportunity, Clive, to say what. a tremendous privilege and
pleasure it is to have you back in Australia with this
magnificent West Indian side. I am really looking forward
to having you in my side to play the Aboriginal team in
January at Manly.
I want to congratulate mark Manion and Contagious Films for
making the film and to Bob Ellis for writing it, and writing
so entertainingly about the tour. Thanks are due to the
Australian Film Commission and the Department of Aboriginal
Affairs for their support and encouragement.
The film has taken over two years to make and was shot
throughout Australia and Britain. It has been bought by
Channel 4 in Britain and I am very much looking forward to
seeing it on Channel 9 here in the new year.
I hope that the 1988 tour will provide a stimulus to
Aboriginal cricket and that in due course we will see an
Aboriginal test player for Australia.
This film record could not be launched in more auspicious
circumstances, on the eve of what I trust will be a great
day's cricket tomorrow between the Prime Minister's XI and
the West Indies. I wish " Dreaming of Lords" every success
and now invite everybody to sit back and enjoy the
highlights of this extraordinary Aboriginal cricket tour of
England. 4107

Transcript 7445