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Knockabout Cricket

In the 1860’s, 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 Mullagh’s 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 his entire life.

KNOCKABOUT CRICKET is a fictional account of how Johnny Mullagh may have come to play cricket, told from the perspective of a squatter’s son. This picture book is supported by historical facts about KNOCKABOUT CRICKET and Johnny’s life from historical documents and newspaper clippings.

Knockabout Cricket

Krista Bell

Several generations of Australian cricket fans have wondered why the Ashes, the supposed trophy for the Test Series between Australia and England, remain in London, having only visited Australia twice in over one hundred years, despite Australian victories.

BURNING THE BAILS recounts for the first time the true story behind the Ashes: that wooden bails were burnt by Janet Lady Clarke on Christmas Eve 1882 at her home, ‘Rupertswood’, in Sunbury, Victoria, after a social cricket match between some local lads and the visiting England team. Her son, Russell aged six, was witness to their burning.

BURNING THE BAILS is a fictionalised account of the story, told from the perspective of six-year-old Russell Clarke. The picture book story is supported by pages of historical facts gleaned from Clarke family documents, as well as rare, original family photographs, including one of Russell, his older brother Clive, stumps, bails and a cricket bat.


Former ABC Broadcaster Derek Guille travelled to Europe with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. His most vivid memories are not of the brilliant MSO performances, but of something truly remarkable that happened on a day off.  

Until recently, I knew very little about the town of Villers-Bretonneux. All I knew was that there was a village in France whose citizens continued to keep a promise made almost a century ago, to never forget the Australians who saved them in World War I.

A day off in Paris saw members of the MSO Brass Section take a side trip to Villers-Bretonneux for a private commemorative service at the Australian War Memorial – I was invited to come along and recite the Ode of Remembrance. That day is deeply etched in the memories of all of us as a truly remarkable and emotional experience. We were warmly welcomed as friends and discovered the depth of feeling that remains for Australia and Australians.

It has become very clear to me that more Australians should know about this place. We should all know what happened there in World War I and the legacy and strength of friendship that was so evident when the children of Villers-Bretonneux maintained the community’s promise to ‘never forget Australia’.

“The Promise really is a beautiful illustration of the story of friendship and enduring solidarity between France and Australia …… This book brings another dimension to History by linking it to the present day, with the help given to Strathewen Primary School to rebuild the playground after the bush fires. This is a very moving book, brilliantly illustrated and appealing to readers of all generations”.
- The Honorary Consul-General of France in  Melbourne,  Mrs Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie.

“If you believe in stories, if you believe in Australian stories, if you believe in stories returning to the place from which they come in a spirit of humility and respect, if you believe in stories told in an inventive and highly effective way that will appeal to adults and children alike, “The Promise – The Town That Never Forgets:  N’oublions jamais l’Australie” is a story for you”.

- Martin  Flanagan, Journalist and Author of ‘The  Game in Time of War’, ‘The Line’ and ‘The Fight’.            

“A heart-warming tale for children, tracing the special bond forged nearly a century ago between the French village of Villers-Bretonneux and Australia……. A gentle introduction to the legacy of one of Australia’s most famous battlefields”.

- Les Carlyon, Journalist and Author of ‘Gallipoli’ and  ‘The Great War’.


On 14 July 1921, the Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police, Sir John Gellibrand, presided over the launch of a public appeal to “adopt” the northern French town of Villers-Bretonneux. £20, 000 were to be sought to assist postwar reconstruction “in memory of the association of French and Australian arms

Villers-Bretonneux is a village in France that maintains a strong and emotional connection with Australia. In World War I, Australian soldiers saved the village and the people of Villers-Bretonneux promised that they would always remember. More than 100 years later,

Took the Children Away, is a moving indictment of the treatment of indigenous children from the ‘Stolen Generation’ and a song which ‘struck a chord’ not only among the wider Aboriginal community, but also nationally.
The song was awarded two ARIA Awards, as well as an international Human Rights Achievement Award, the first time this had been awarded to a songwriter because of a song. The album it came from featured in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 Albums for 1992.

From the Lyrics of this Iconic song a very special book for children of all ages has been created. Featuring he heart wrenching lyrics of Archie Roach and the classic artwork of his late wife and soul-mate Ruby Hunter, this book is destined to become a masterpiece.

Renowned Queensland artist, Peter Hudson has adorned the book with his stunning landscapes of South West Victoria – Archie’s traditional lands.


In 1982, Shane Howard’s massive anthem “Solid Rock” from the album “Spirit of Place”, (recorded with his legendary band “Goanna”), reverberated across the airwaves and still does today.

It was one of the first songs of its idiom to broach the subject of Aboriginal rights in Australia
and impacted powerfully on a whole new generation of writers and musicians that followed. The album was released in 35 territories, worldwide.

‘Solid Rock’ is an inspirational Australian story by singer songwriter Shane Howard, illustrated by the school children from Mutujulu, near Uluru, Australia.

Shane returned to Uluru with renowned Queensland artist Peter Hudson to gather stunning illustrations from the local school children to adorn the book and retell the story of these famous lyrics for a new generation. Peter Hudson’s brilliant images of Uluru and surrounding landscape place the story in the land itself.


From the Iconic Australian song written by Neil Murray comes an exciting and inspirational story for children of all ages. Every page is bursting with colour to depict the song lyrics as seen by the paintings of school children of the Kintore and Galiwinku communities. Neil Murray travelled back to these places that inspired his beautiful song with renowned Queensland artist, Peter Hudson.

Peter’s artwork graces the book with his stunning landscapes Says writer Martin Flanagan ‘Aboriginal people sing “My Island Home” like it’s theirs. White people sing it like it’s theirs. People in Australia who have come from other countries, other cultures, sing “My Island Home” like it’s theirs. That what makes it such a great song. Everyone who loves Australia can sing it.’

This was the song sung at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics and will become a must have in every Australian home!

A percentage of the profits will be returned to Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth, who have in part funded the project and will auspice the raised funds.



On 14 July 1921, the Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police, Sir John Gellibrand, presided over the launch of a public appeal to “adopt” the...