Knockabout Cricket

In the 1860s the game of cricket was hugely popular and often played between neighbouring pastoral stations in Western Victoria.

One day at Pine Hills station, a tall aboriginal boy steps out from the phalaris grass and joins in a game of cricket. He shows them all how to play the game with skill, grace and flair. His name was Unaarramin or Johhny Mullagh from Mullagh Station.

Touring England, playing for the Melbourne Cricket Club and for his local club the Harrow Cricket Club Johnny Mullaghs achievements in batting and bowling are comparable to the best the game has ever seen. Fifteen years before Test Cricket began, Johnny Mullagh became a true sporting legend, his feats making him one of Australia’s first international cricket stars.

A cricketing hero to a white audience, he was also a man caught between two worlds, facing racism and discrimination.

Knockabout Cricket is a fictional account of how Johnny Mullagh may have come to play cricket, told from the perspective of a squatters son. This picture book is supported by historical facts about Knockabout Cricket and Johnnys life from historical documents and newspaper clippings.

The legendary Johnny Mullagh is one of the great characters of Australian cricket history. This wonderful children's book tells his amazing story and of his love of the game. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, as did my three cricket obsessed children!

James Sutherland, C.E.O Cricket Australia

About the author

I had the perfect childhood surrounded. I was surrounded by animals, cats and dogs (kittens and puppies too, of course) canaries, doves, chickens and ducks (yep, chicks and ducklings), turtles, ferrets, rabbits, cattle and sheep (calves and lambs) and horses and foals. And I had a thousand acres to run around in – they were happy days and that’s why I write for children.

My Grandfather was a stockman and he bred, trained and raced his own racehorses. I spent hours in the saddle as a child, riding with my cousin. We’d hang out in the stables, watching all the comings and goings. There was trackwork, yearlings being broken in, young horses being educated, farriers shoeing racehorses. It was a busy place. We’d help where we could and afterwards, we’d sit around on upturned feed buckets and listen to stories.

Read more about Neridah

Neridah McMullin

Photo By: Prue Sheed