An unwanted Corroboree: the politics of the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout

Aboriginal Studies Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2009, 2009 (2), pp. 112 - 122
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The annual New South Wales Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout is so much more than a sporting event. Involving a high level of organisation, it is both a social and cultural coming together of diverse communities for a social and cultural experience considered 'bigger than Christmas'. As if the planning and logistics were not difficult enough, the rotating-venue Knockout has been beset, especially since the late 1980s and 1990s, by layers of opposition and open hostility based on 'race': from country town newspapers, local town and shire councils, local business houses and, inevitably, the local police. A few towns have welcomed the event, seeing economic advantage and community good will for all. Commonly, the Aboriginal 'influx' of visitors and players - people perceived as 'strangers', 'outsiders', 'non-taxpayers' - provoked public fear about crime waves, violence and physical safety, requiring heavy policing. Without exception, these racist expectations were shown to be totally unfounded.
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