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Johnny Mullagh
Johnny Mullagh

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

A monument commemorates Johnny Mullagh the star of the aboriginal cricket team which toured England in 1868.  He was a skilful all-rounder, being a right arm bowler and right-handed batsman. The Hamilton Spectator sponsored a district subscription for an obelisk to his memory at the 'Mullagh oval' in Harrow. 

Mullagh participated in two all-Aboriginal tours of England in the 1860s, and won admiration and respect from the European community at a time when Aboriginal people were generally not accorded much respect.  

He was born in Australia in 1841 on Mullagh Station, a member of the Jardwadjali people, about 16 kilometres north of Harrow, and learned to play cricket whilst working on the adjoining Pine Hills agricultural property. He was given the name "Black Johnny" to distinguish him from a "White Johnny".

Also known by his traditional name Unaarrimin (he was given the name 'Mullagh' to identify him with his place of birth), he played 47 matches on the 1868 England tour, scoring 1698 runs at an average of around 20 on pitches that were often treacherous.  Spectators considered him the equal of any English batter. He also bowled 1877 overs, 831 of which were maidens, and took 245 wickets at 10 apiece. 

The headstone over the grave in the cemetery was erected from funds from public appeal after his death in 1891.

A meeting of those interested in the Mullagh Memorial Fund was held at the Hermitage Hotel on Saturday week, (says a Hamilton exchange), the Rev. J. Kirkland was voted to the chair. The Chairman explained that the meeting had been convened at the request of Dr. Duff, whose illness, he regretted to state, prevented him from carrying out the proposed idea. Mr. Grainger was then unanimously elected honorary secretary. The lists of subscribers produced showed that there was over £19 in hand and £10 promised. This did not include the Hamilton list, which had not yet been forwarded. Mr. J. T. Edgar moved that a suitable memorial be erected on the Harrow Cricket ground and that a small headstone be erected on the grave at the Harrow cemetery. The mover also expressed a wish to have Mullagh's cricketing averages placed on the stone on the cricket ground, as they would always be of interest. Mr. Lewis seconded the motion. Estimates of monuments were placed before the meeting, and the secretary was instructed to obtain estimates for the plans just proposed, and also to write to collectors who had received lists to collect subscriptions and request them to forward the amounts collected. The meeting expressed its surprise that the object had not been better supported; as it was apparent from the lists that about £32 had been collected locally. Lord Sheffield's name also appeared for £2 2s, and the balance of about £6 was all that had been obtained outside the immediate district. A suggestion was made to have the grave reopened, and the remains removed to a better position in the cemetery. The secretary was instructed to call a meeting as soon as the estimates were obtained.
Sportsman (Melbourne), 30 August 1892.


Address:Blair Street, Johnny Mullagh Memorial Park, Harrow, 3317
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.158889
Long: 141.596944
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event Start Date:1868
Approx. Event End Date:1868


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:Circa 1892
Front Inscription

In Memory Of
Aboriginal Cricketer
Born 1843 Died
14th Aug. 1891

Left Side Inscription

Batting Average
English Tour 1868
23.65 Runs
43 Matches

Right Side Inscription

Batting Average
Murray Cup
For 3 years

Source: MA,VMR,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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