Faith Thomas, pioneering Indigenous Test cricketer, dies aged 90


Faith Thomas, Australia’s first Indigenous Test cricketer, has died aged 90.

Thomas (nee Coulthard) passed away on Saturday and is remembered as the first Aboriginal woman to represent her country in any sport.

Faith Thomas, the first Indigenous woman to play Test cricket for Australia.

Faith Thomas, the first Indigenous woman to play Test cricket for Australia.Credit: Cricket Australia

Schooled in fast bowling by Victor Richardson, the South Australian icon and grandfather to the Chappell brothers, Thomas played her only Test in 1958 against a touring English women’s side in Melbourne.

Thomas’ rise to the national side came after three games for her state. She caught a train for the first time from Adelaide to Brisbane to play in an Australian XI earlier that year.

Thomas played in borrowed cricket gear from teammates and impressed by dismissing English captain Mary Duggan, earning her Test call-up that summer.

She did not take a wicket in her only national outing, and turned down selection for tours of England and New Zealand to dedicate herself to her nursing career.

Megan Schutt with Faith Thomas at a WBBL match in Alice Springs in 2018.

Megan Schutt with Faith Thomas at a WBBL match in Alice Springs in 2018.Credit: Getty Images

Thomas was one of the first Aboriginal nurses employed in South Australia and was made a member of the Order of Australia for her services to cricket and the Indigenous community.

For 38 years, she was the only Aboriginal cricketer to represent Australia. Jason Gillespie made his Test debut in 1996.



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