Koori Knockout supporters from Moree, Dubbo, NSW, 1 October 2015 by Barbara

Koori Knockout: 50 years

  • Past Exhibition

Over 30,000 spectators. Countless sporting heroes. One tournament. Take a front row seat in this major celebration of First Nations sporting excellence.

Exhibition Information

Past Exhibition
Exhibition Galleries

1 Shakespeare Place
Sydney NSW 2000
+61 2 9273 1414

Knocking it out of the park

A photo essay on the Koori Knockout by leading First Nations photographer Barbara McGrady.

Calling the Koori Knockout

One of the most important sporting and cultural events on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander calendar returns.



In 1971 at the Clifton Hotel in Redfern, six young First Nations men created what is today the largest gathering of First Nations peoples in NSW — known as the Koori Knockout. This year more than 30,000 players and spectators are expected to arrive on the NSW South Coast as this, one of the most popular First Nations sporting events in Australia, marks its 50th anniversary. 

In this exhibition, follow the competition from those early days played at Camdenville Oval, St Peters with just seven men’s teams in the first Knockout, to becoming a fixture in the First Nations calendar and the biggest rugby league knockout carnival anywhere in the world.  

See the first-ever Knockout trophy along with other important memorabilia, and hear stories, oral histories and recordings from those who have helped shape the competition over the years. Experience the excitement and joy of game days with the State Library's collection of photos and see the amazing talent that is showcased — from young rising stars to football legends like Greg Inglis. 

Join the celebrations as together with the Koori Knockout community we recognise and celebrate this important and enduring event in Australian sporting history.

View a selection of photographs and interviews from the exhibition



We would like to pay special thanks and acknowledge the following people for their stories, their time and their knowledge.

Exhibition reference group:

Bill Kennedy
Dr Bob Morgan
Danny Rose
Bob Smith
Victor Wright
Jody Jackson
Pam Jackson
the late Dr Dean Jarrett
Prof. Heidi Norman
Eric Robinson
Grace Toomey
Ricky Walford
Melissa Wellington
Dean Widders

Thanks also to:

Jake Widders
Dennis Moran
Lavina Phillips
Kyeema O’Mealy
Melisha Winters
Aaliyah Haumono
Under 16s Redfern All Blacks Girls
South Coast Black Cockatoos
Brad Cooke
Videography by Sam Johnson Impact Policy
Ombudsman New South Wales
State Library of NSW Foundation



Profile photo of curator Ronald Briggs

Ronald Briggs

Ronald Briggs (Gamilaroi) is originally from Moree in central north-western NSW. He has over 30 years of experience working at the State Library of NSW and has also worked with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Most recently Ronald has been part of the Library’s curatorial team, specialising in First Nations people and histories, curating exhibitions and bringing new items and voices into the Library’s collections.