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Cricket news 2023, Faith Thomas, first Aboriginal woman to play for Australia, dies aged 90

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains an image of a person who has died.

Faith Thomas, the first Aboriginal woman to play Test cricket for Australia, has died at the age of 90.

Thomas broke new ground when she represented Australia in a Test against England in Melbourne in 1958.

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She was the first Indigenous woman to represent the country in any sport.

Thomas, a fast bowler, began playing cricket for a club in Adelaide, and after only three games was picked to represent South Australia. It was the following year she was selected to play for Australia.

Despite being picked for further tours to England and New Zealand, Thomas declined and instead opted to stay in Adelaide and work as a nurse.

She was a survivor of the Stolen Generations, and raised at Colebrook Home in the Flinders Ranges.

It was there she first experienced cricket, playing games on dirty roads using an improvised bat and often a rock as a ball.

In 2019 Thomas was recognised for her services to nursing, sport, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with an Order of Australia.

She is still honoured in elite Australian cricket as the national WBBL competition competes for the Faith Thomas Trophy each year.

“Faith Thomas made a wonderful and groundbreaking contribution to cricket and the community, and this is a very sad day for all those fortunate to have known her or who were touched by her many accomplishments,” Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said.

“As the first Aboriginal woman to represent Australia in Test cricket, Faith was an inspiration to those who have followed and she leaves an indelible mark on the game.

“Faith’s work in the community in many roles including as a nurse and midwife was also immense, and the care and compassion she displayed for the many people she helped was truly remarkable.

“On behalf of everyone across Australian cricket, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Faith’s family, friends, teammates and all those who have benefitted from her vast contribution to Australian life.”

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