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Roses at the Cottage

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls

I was interested to read in The Age last week of the proposal to add a statue of Sir Doug Nicholls (1906 - 1988) to the Australian Sporting Legends that surround the mighty MCG (see  earlier post 26 September 2012) 
Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls (wikipedia)
I had never really known much of his history and was surprised to learn that he was a famous footballer.  I'm an old Adelaide gal and I remember Sir Doug when he was the Governor of South Australia for a short period in 1976 (he retired due to ill health in 1977). He was the first Aboriginal to be knighted and and is currently the only indigenous Governor of this country - it's time that changed!  

With the AFL Indigenous Round just completed last weekend it was an appropriate call that this famed - but in many ways - forgotten citizen to be included in the Sporting Legends statues. Sir Doug originally joined the Carlton Football Club but did not play a game due to the racist attitude of his fellow players. He then played for Northcote Football Club until he finally joined the Fitzroy Football Club in 1932 and was third in the Brownlow Medal Count in 1934. He was the first indigenous player to be chosen in the Victorian State Team in 1935.
Doug Nicholls the footballer - bottom 2nd right - 1929 (wikipedia)
A member of the Yorta Yorta tribe Pastor Doug, as he was often referred to, was a Church of Christ Preacher. Among his other 'firsts' he was the inaugural Chair of the National Aboriginal Sports Foundation, and an officer of the Aborigines Advancement League. He was named Victorian  'Father of the Year' in 1962 and 'King of Moomba' in 1973. 

Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls and Lady Gladys Nicholls
Currently you can find a marvellous statue of him by Louis Laumen which was unveiled in 2007 in Parliament Gardens (Corner Spring and Albert Streets in the city) with his beloved wife Gladys (the widow of Pastor Doug's brother). The were married for 39 years.
The beautiful Parliament Gardens on the edge of the city
Did you know about Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls?

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