Labour History

Black, White... and Red? The Redfern All Blacks Rugby League Club in the Early 1960s

Labour History (2002), 83, (1), 149–171.

Abstract

Can sport and sporting organisations be a tool of resistance for Indigenous people and communities? This article investigates the interplay between sport and politics through a case study of an all-Aboriginal Sydney football club, the Redfern All Blacks Rugby League Club. In the early 1960s, the Redfern All Blacks represented a highly political response by inner-city Indigenous people to life in Redfern, to the dominant racial discourse and to discriminatory acts, attitudes and legislation. For young Indigenous men, the re-formation of the Club in 1960 presented them with a means to challenge the depressed socio-economic conditions of Redfern through sport. On a community level, the All Blacks forged community links and articulated a distinctive Indigenous identity that defied the dominant discourse of assimilation. Finally, members of the All Blacks became involved in more direct forms of action, developing relationships with the Aboriginal-Australia Fellowship and the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines that proved to be mutually beneficial in the fight against discrimination. Such relationships brought the All Blacks to the attention of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), who suspected communist infiltration. More than ‘just’ a sporting club, the All Blacks was a strong example of sport becoming a means of resistance.

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Details

Author details

Hartley, Jackie

Table of Contents

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