Steve AbalaPrint Page Print this page

The monument commemorates indigenous Rugby League player,  Steve Abala.

Steve died on 14 February 1956 from injuries received in a game of Rugby League at Gardens Oval. Steve Abala was born in Darwin in 1924, a member of the famous McGinness family, a First Australian of Khungarakung descent. His grandmother, Alyandabu Lucy McGinness was the inspiration for Xavier Herbert’s book Capricornia. When Darwin was bombed in 1942, Steve, aged 18, joined the Army. He served in Darwin and then fought in New Guinea. When peace was declared in 1945, Steve volunteered as a member of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF), and was posted to Japan.

Returning to Darwin in 1946, Steve, like all other Aboriginal ex-servicemen, had to confront the fact that he was still subject to the discriminatory provisions of the Aboriginals Ordinance. He was justifiably angry, but nonetheless applied for, and was granted, exemption from the Ordinance. The son of a staunch unionist, Steve joined the North Australian Workers Union (NAWU) and helped found the Australian Halfcastes Progress Association (AHPA) to fight for appropriate human rights and dignity.

Steve worked as a truck driver with Northern Territory Administration, and resumed his illustrious sporting career. When Rugby League commenced in Darwin in 1951, he was an inaugural member of the Wallabies Club and played in several premiership teams. Later Steve transferred to the Navy Rugby League Club, and was playing for Navy on 12 February 1956 when he was injured at Gardens Oval. He did not regain consciousness, and died on 14 February 1956. Darwin was in a state of shock for several weeks after the death of Steve Abala and a trust fund was set up to provide for his wife and children.


Address:Abala Road, Marrara Sporting Complex, Marrara, 0812
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -12.399167
Long: 130.885833
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design