Viewing entries in

Northern Territory Athletics

The Mitchell Mile is the most recent effort to revive Northern Territory athletics. Few would know that races were held on Mitchell Street in the 19th Century. Athletics is one of the first sports practiced in the Northern Territory. Almost everyone can run! Athletics events were held throughout the Territory. Often they were held in conjunction with holidays and other events like the horseracing. New Years Athletic carnivals were common even in the most remote locations. In the late 19th Century matching racing, racing for gambling stakes, was very popular. These races were sometimes held on Mitchell Street. Handicap racing, similar to the Stawell Gift, were a popular event at sports carnivals and from time to time are still held in the Territory.  

Northern Territory Motor Sport

The first motor car in the Northern Territory was HP Talbot driven by HH Dutton and Murray Aunger who attempted to travel from Adelaide to Darwin in 1907. Their first attempt ended in mechanical failure near Tennant Creek. Undaunted they returned with a more powerful Talbot in 1908, recovered their other vehicle and finally made it to Darwin.

Later in the 1920s motor cycle clubs developed in Darwin but these were more recreational than sporting. Clubs like the Hungry Hearts Motor Cycle Club organised rides to places like Rapid Cree for picnics. It was not until after World War II that motor sports as we know it began to develop. In 1947 the Darwin Motor Cycle Club (DMCC) was formed. Their early races were held on World War II air strips. Later they began ‘scrambles’ in Nightcliff. The DMCC was instrumental in establishing the Bagot Speedway and Hidden Valley race way for ‘scrambles’ in the 1960s. From these humble beginnings Northern Territory Motor Sport has grown in to the multimillion dollar industry it is today with premier events like the V8 Supercars.  

Colour Bar, Indigenous Rights

Football is much more than a game in the Northern Territory. It is very much part of Northern Territory identity and culture. One of the reasons for the games place in our collective imagination is that football is also a battle ground for civil rights. Who controls the game and who is allowed to play says a lot about our society. The ‘Colour Bar, 1926/27 to 1929/30 is undoubtedly the most controversial and important episode in the Northern Territory’s sporting history.

When the North Australia Football League expelled all non-European players and introduced a clause into its constitution to only admit ‘White’ players it started a battle for rights that continues to this day.

31 May 2014, Colour Bar, Indigenous Rights