Viewing entries tagged
Northern Territory

NT Horseracing and the Darwin Cup

Horseracing was a marker in all British colonial societies and was often one of the first sporting events established in early settlements. While the races in Palmerston and Darwin after 1911 were considered the preeminent Northern Territory event in the Top End races had been held in Central Australia at Christmas time by the McDonnell Ranges Turf Club from the late 1870s. Race meetings were also held in mining communities and various locations in the bush. The annual race meeting was not only a sporting event but a major social occasion with people coming from far and wide to attend. It was often the only sporting social occasion that some settlers attended.

The first horseraces in Palmerston were on the beach at Fannie Bay. The first Northern Territory race meeting was held in in the vicinity of the current Fannie Bay course in 1873. Racing became organised under the auspices of the Northern Territory Racing Club in 1882. The NTRC organised racing in the Northern Territory up until just after World War II. Today’s Darwin Turf Club was formed in 1955.     

Women in NT Sport

The Northern Territory has had some great women sportspeople. Helen Fejo-Frith, Nova Peris, Christine Trefry, Shelly Nitscke, Ivy Hampton, Maisie Austin, Crystal Attenborough, Judith Green and Kerry Dienelt are just some of the greats. It was not easy in the early years of the Northern Territory during the 19th century for women to plays sport. Often sport was seen as ‘unsuitable’ for women. Archery, tennis, and swimming were amongst the first sports open to women. It was not until the 1920s and 1930s that women began to play competitive sports like tennis, netball and golf. After World War II women’s sport really took off with the introduction of netball, basketball, hockey and softball. 

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