Club Cowra

100 Years Of Erambie All Blacks

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

The original team, formed in 1922. Image source:

Cowra’s Erambie All Blacks Aboriginal rugby league team celebrated its 100th anniversary at the 50th annual Koori Knockout competition on the South Coast last weekend.

It’s the oldest Aboriginal rugby league club in Australia, and made national headlines recently, being reported by national Aboriginal broadcaster, NITV, which is operated by SBS.

NITV spoke to Phil Ingram, who is the current Coach and President of the club, and has played for the past 18 years. Mr Ingram told NITV the Erambie jersey was very meaningful.

“Playing for Erambie just means the world to me - there’s this unbelievable strength I’ve got from putting on that jumper and representing the old fellas in my father, and my family,” he told NITV’s The Point program.

“I’m a direct descendant from the original team. Both of my great grandfathers played for that team,” Phil Ingram said.

“It just means the world that I’m able to keep the team alive.”

The Erambie club was formed in 1922 at Erambie, the former mission, located near the Cowra Golf Club, part of Wirad-juri country.

NITV also interviewed Wiradjuri author Dr Lawrence Bamblett about Erambie, who grew up on the former mission. He told them the club was very impor-tant, as it was a way of escaping life at the mission.

“Erambie was only a small community, so almost all the men in the community were playing,” he told NITV.

“It [the mission] became like a prison… They referred to people as inmates and the managers [of the mission] were wardens and tried to control every aspect of people’s lives.”

Congratulations to Erambie, and we hope you keep playing for another 100 years.

Cowra Regional Art Gallery

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