Koori Knockout: 50 years
Over 30,000 spectators. Countless sporting heroes. One tournament. Take a front row seat in this major celebration of First Nations sporting excellence.
Koori Knockout: 50 years
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
The Cec Patten–Ron Merritt Memorial Redfern All Blacks, lift captain Graeme Merritt in the air after the game.
The Point journalist Breanna Holden speaks with Koori Knockout founding members Bob Morgan and Victor Wright, and tours the Koori Knockout: 50 years exhibition at the State Library with curator Ronald Briggs.
First aired on NITV on Tuesday September 27, 2022
Ricky Walford is a former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s. Filmed in Sydney, New South Wales.
Former Armidale Narwan Eels players, Dennis Moran, Dean Widders and Jake Widders, Anaiwan. Filmed at the Rugby League Museum, Moore Park, Gadigal Country.
Victor Wright is a founding member of the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival. Filmed at Victor Wright’s home, New South Wales.
We would like to pay special thanks and acknowledge the following people for their stories, their time and their knowledge.
Exhibition reference group:
Dr Bob Morgan
the late Dr Dean Jarrett
Prof. Heidi Norman
Thanks also to:
Under 16s Redfern All Blacks Girls
South Coast Black Cockatoos
Videography by Sam Johnson Impact Policy
Ombudsman New South Wales
State Library of NSW Foundation