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The First Indigenous Australian Test cricketer - Faith Thomas.

The First Indigenous Australian Test cricketer - Faith Thomas.
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The First Indigenous Australian Test cricketer - Faith Thomas.

The Australian cricket community has paid tribute to the legacy left by Aunty Faith Thomas after the first Indigenous player to ever represent her country passed away at the age of 90 over the weekend.

Renowned as one of the fastest bowlers in the women's game, Thomas played her groundbreaking Test match for Australia against England at Melbourne's Junction Oval in February 1958, when she became the first Aboriginal woman to play for any Australian sports team.

Thomas remains one of just four Indigenous Australians to have played in a Test for Australia, alongside Jason Gillespie, Ash Gardner, and Scott Boland.

Thomas, a survivor of the Stolen Generations, was training as a nurse in South Australia when she began to play organized cricket, which she played as a child on dirt roads using homemade bats and a rock if there was no ball.

She began her career playing club games in Adelaide, and shortly after, she was selected to play for South Australia. A year after that, she played Test cricket for Australia. She was then picked in the squad to tour England and New Zealand but she chose to focus on her nursing career.

In 2019, she was awarded the Order of Australia for her services to cricket and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The Adelaide Strikers also honor her by playing for the Faith Thomas Trophy every year in the WBBL.

Outside of cricket, she was one of the first Aboriginal college graduates in the country and one of the first Indigenous nurses in South Australia.

South Australian Cricket Association president William Rayner said her impact was impossible to measure.

"Faith Thomas's story is as inspiring as it is incredible," he said.

A brilliantly unique and successful cricketer, Aunty Faith's journey was never simply about personal achievement – instead she always sought ways to improve the lives of others.

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