Viewing entries tagged
Charlie King

Shooting Sports in the Northern Territory

Rifle shooting and other gun target sports are some of the longest running sports clubs of the Northern Territory. Competency with a gun was an essential skill for much of our history. Almost every colonial era ‘sports’ competition included a rifle shooting competition. Palmerston’s or Darwin’s first rifle shooting competition was held on 1 March 1869. The Palmerston Rifle Club was formed in 1881 and there has been clubs in Darwin almost ever since. Rifle ‘matches’were often held in association with 19th century horse race meetings in some of the Northern Territory’s remote communities. A Central Australian Rifle Club was established in Alice Springs in 1936 although it is likely that there had been competitions prior to this time. Northern Territory marksmen often competed interstate in the premier King or Queen’s shooting competitions and continue to compete in national competitions today.    

Northern Territory Rugby League

Wally McArthur, born in 1933 at Borroloola, was a member of the Stolen Generation who was sent to South Australia as a teenager to further his education. He excelled at sport and became a professional athlete and also played Rugby League. Although Rugby League is a minor sport in South Australia he was recruited to English professional club Rochdale Hornets in 1953.

Rugby League was a relatively late comer to Northern Territory sport.  In 1935 an NT Rugby Association met to decide whether they would play Rugby Union or Rugby League. It was decided to play Rugby League but the interest was short lived. One of the earliest Ruby League competitions was held in Tennant Creek in the late 1930s during the height of the gold rush. The first incarnation of the NT Rugby League (NTRL) was during World War II when a ‘town’ team vied with various armed service teams like the RAAF, Navy and Army. The NTRL did not reform after the Bombing of Darwin in 1942 but the game continued throughout the NT including Alice Springs and military locations up and down the Stuart Highway. After the war Rugby League recommenced in Darwin, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs in 1949. As the NTRL consolidated in the 1950s teams included QANTAS, Wallabies, RAAF, Army, Navy and Hornets. The first NT representative Rugby League team played in the national championships in Perth in 1956.   


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