Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Thomas, Faith (1933 - )

Born
22 February 1933
Nepabunna Aboriginal Mission, South Australia, Australia
Occupation
Cricketer and Nurse
Alternative Names
  • Coulthard, Faith (maiden name)

Summary

Faith Thomas was the first Aboriginal woman to play international cricket for Australia; indeed, she was the first indigenous woman to be selected to play any sport for Australia. In 2004, she was still the only Aboriginal woman to represent Australia in cricket.

Thomas played cricket, along with hockey and squash, while training in Adelaide to be a nurse. (She was one of the first Aboriginal nurses to graduate from the Royal Adelaide Hospital; she went on to be the first to run a hospital.) Thomas was selected into the South Australian cricket team after playing only two grade games and was selected for the Australian team in 1958. She recalls receiving a fair deal of publicity at the time. 'I was a bit of a curiosity,' she said in an interview in 2004. 'It was a "native nurse", this. You know, I wasn't a cricketer, I was a native nurse cricketer, You know?'

Thomas also played hockey for the Northern Territory and admits that hockey was always more important to her than cricket. She was a member of the Aboriginal Sports Foundation, patron of the Prime Minister's XI versus the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Chairman's XI.

Sources used to compile this entry: Maza, Rachel (presenter) and Martin, Kelrick (story producer), Faith Thomas, Interview for the ABC program Message Stick, Australian Broadcasting Commission, 30 July 2004, http://www.abc.net.au/message/tv/ms/s1161638.htm; 'Faith Thomas', Bright Sparcs, http://austehc.unimelb.edu.au/bsparcs/biogs/P004111b.htm, [accessed 2006-12-31].

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Oral History Collection

  • Interview with Faith Thomas (sound recording), interviewer Gordon Briscoe, 20 March 1990, TRC 2603/4; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details
  • Interview with Faith Thomas, Aboriginal women, cricketer and outback nurse (sound recording), interviewer: Ray Aitchison, 22 March 1986, TRC 2030; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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ISSN 2207-3124