We've recently digitised a remarkable series of photos showing players from the Redfern All Blacks rugby league team taken at Redfern Oval in 1946. The All Blacks are the longest-running all-Aboriginal rugby league team in Australia, joining the South Sydney Junior League in 1944. The All Blacks were a popular team that attracted big crowds and were admired for their skill and clean play. They boasted they never had a player penalised or sent off the field. Off season the team would sometimes tour country areas and hold tournament matches against other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sides.
The All Blacks were one of the first teams to play in the inaugural NSW Koori Knockout in 1973 with the men's team winning the annual competition an impressive 8 times, most recently in 2016. A number of notable NRL players have played with the Redfern All Blacks at some stage, including Greg Inglis, Anthony Mundine, Nathan Merritt, Wes Patten, Gorden Tallis, Darrell Trindall and Dean Widders.
These historic photos appeared in an article for the tabloid PIX magazine, 5 October 1946 (View in Trove). More than 8,000 spectators watched the semi-final game featuring the All Blacks against the Redfern Waratahs. The All Blacks won 7 points to 6 but lost the following weeks' game against the Maroubra Surf Club team, ending the All Blacks' 1946 season.
The 1946 Redfern All Blacks side included Eric "Nugget" Mumbler, Colin Saunders, Laurie Perry, Frank "Babs" Vincent, Alan Duren, Cecil Stewart, Isaac "Ike" Bates, H. Tompkins, Michael Williams, Mervyn Lester, Jackie Simms, Jack McLaren, Ray "Sugar" Williams, C. Jarrett, Mervyn "Boomanulla" Williams, Harold "Lal" Hinton and Dick Lord. Officials were Ted Duncan, E. Duren and Tommy Davis.
The ACP archive, including thousands of negatives from PIX magazine were donated to the Library in 2008. Digitisation of the archive is underway.