The Redfern All Blacks in 1946

Historic photos of the Redfern All Blacks rugby league team, an all-Aboriginal side, in a match against the Redfern Waratahs at Redfern Oval in 1946.

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.

More Redfern All Blacks photographs from this series can be viwed in the Library's catalogue.  There is also a photo set on Flickr.

Redfern All Blacks club president Ted Duncan (wearing hat) and secretary Ernest Duren (with football) speak with players before the game, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575525
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Harold "Lal" Hinton (captain) and C. Jarrett (vice-captain) Redfern All Blacks, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575568
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All Blacks
Redfern All Blacks badge worn by players, carved from wood.
Redfern All Blacks player Mick Williams leaps over a team-mate, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575528
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Cecil Stewart (left) moves to assist a tackle, Redfern All Blacks versus Redfern Waratahs, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575574
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Merv "Boomanulla" Williams, rugby league player with the Redfern All Blacks, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575551
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Isaac "Ike" Bates, rugby league player with the Redfern All Blacks, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575550
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Eric "Nugget" Mumbler, rugby league player with the Redfern All Blacks, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575529
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Mervyn "Boomanulla" Williams with vice-captain C. Jarrett, Redfern All Blacks, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575542
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Spectacular flying tackle by Redfern All Blacks' Laurie Perry, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575586
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Redfern All Blacks, from left: C. Jarrett (scrum half), H. Tompkins (right front row), Mick Williams (back row), Jack McLaren (hooker) and Merv Lester (left front row), Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575538
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Young boys, Redfern All Blacks supporters at Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575556
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Redfern All Blacks versus Redfern Waratahs, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575536
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Redfern All Blacks rugby league team supporters, Redfern Oval
September 1946
Digital ID: 
FL15575562
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