WikipediaFull name: Joe Johnson
Born: January 19, 1883
Teams: Fitzroy 1904-06
Debut: Carlton vs Fitzroy Round 1, Princes Park, 7 May 1904
Statistics:Joe Johnson (born 19 January 1883) was an Australian rules footballer notable as he is recognised as being the first ever Indigenous Australian to play in the VFL/AFL. Born near Newcastle, New South Wales, Johnson was recruited from Victorian Football Association (VFA) side Northcote Football Club and made his senior debut for Fitzroy Football Club in Round One 1904 against Carlton. Initially playing as a half-back-flanker, Johnson played in back to back premiership teams in 1904 and 1905.
In 1907, Johnson left Fitzroy for VFA side Brunswick as playing coach, playing in their inaugural premiership in 1909. In 1912 he returned to Northcote as playing coach until 1914. Johnson has been lauded for his role in being the first known Aboriginal footballer, "leading the way" for other Aboriginal players to star in football. Johnson's son Percy Johnson, grandson Percy Cummings and great-grandsons Robert and Trent Cummings also played VFL/AFL football.
B: Alf Sharp [URL="http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?p=22537048"]Fred Fontaine[/URL] Wally Naismith HB: [URL="http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?p=22565302"]Ern Jenkins[/URL] Jim Sharp [U]Joe Johnson[/U] C: Alf Bartlett Harry Clarke Les Millis HF: Edgar Kneen Gerald Brosnan (c) Gilbert Barker F: Jack McDonough Percy Sheehan Percy Trotter Foll: Herbert Milne Bill Walker [URL="http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?t=851418"]Bill McSpeerin[/URL]
B: Wally Naismith Geoff Moriarty Lou Barker HB: [URL="http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?p=22565302"]Ern Jenkins[/URL] Jim Sharp Percy Sheehan C: Gilbert Barker Tammy Beauchamp Barclay Bailes HF: Gerald Brosnan (c) [URL="http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?p=22537048"]Fred Fontaine[/URL] [U]Joe Johnson[/U] F: Alf Wilkinson Jack McDonough Percy Trotter Foll: Herbert Milne Bill Walker Les Millis
IN all likelihood, and like many a young man of his time, Joe Johnson may have just wanted to play a game of football. But when he first laced up his boots, donned the famous maroon and blue for the old Fitzroy Football Club in 1904, thereby becoming the first known Indigenous Australian to do so in the then fledgling Victorian Football League (VFL), little did he realise that his actions were a small yet crucial step in the history of the game.
Joe's debut came at an interesting juncture in Australian social history; it came 50-or-so years after Victorian Tom Wills and his cousin H.A. Harrison first drew up the rules and regulations of this new Australian game – influenced as he was from Marngrook, and a host of other ball sports he knew and played as a young man. It was also 63 years before Indigenous Australians were officially regarded as citizens of this nation. This was the period when Joe lived and played footy.
Mr Howard was warmly welcomed by Wurundjeri elder Joy Murphy, who is well qualified to speak about reconciliation and football. Her father, James, was born in 1896, the year the Victorian Football League was established.Ms Murphy said one could only imagine the barriers and racist taunts that confronted Joe Johnson, who played for Fitzroy in 1904, the first Aborigine to play at the highest level. She applauded him for leading the way "in times of angst and turmoil" and paid tribute to those, like Long and Nicky Winmar, who took a stand on racism in sport.
The AFL claim that 'Joe Johnson opened the door for Indigenous players in 1904' locates Joe Johnson as the 'first Aborigine' to overcome racial and cultural discrimination to succeed in the highest level of Australian Football competition. However, the story of Joe Johnson is much more complex than recent public promotion of his memory by the AFL suggests, because Johnson never played football as an Aborigine. That is, Johnson never claimed to be an Aborigine in the public sphere; he never openly identified himself as an Aboriginal footballer.
Contemporary newspaper coverage of the Fitzroy footballer, mostly in the form of match-day reports say nothing about the racial and cultural identity of Johnson as an Aboriginal man. Nor do they attribute him the status of the 'first Aborigine' to play Australian football at the elite level. The absence of public statements regarding Johnson's Aboriginality suggests that contemporary sporting discourse considering Johnson to be an Anglo-Australian, and identity position whose 'normality' rendered comment on his perceived racial and cultural identity un-newsworthy.
Joe Johnson, who played in Fitzroy's premiership team in 1905, died suddenly yesterday. The funeral will take place to-day, at 2.30 p.m., from 43 Barry street, Carlton. Johnson played with Brunswick and Northcote after he left Fitzroy, and in the Brunswick team the combination of Chase in the centre and Johnson and McKenzie of the wings, was most formidable. Johnson was a very fine athlete.
The result of the "Herald" poll on the subject of the best Victorian footballers was as follows:
1. John McKenzie (Essendon)
2. Michael Madden (Essendon)
3. Victor Barwick (St Kilda)
4. Michael Grace (Carlton)
5. Richard Condon (Collingwood)
6. Henry Young (Geelong)
7. Frederick Elliot (Carlton)
8. Edward Rowell (Collingwood)
9. Frederick Jinks (Carlton)
10. Joseph Johnson (Fitzroy)
11. Percy Trotter (Fitzroy)
12. Tammy Beauchamp (Fitzroy)
13. H. Chase (Brunswick)
14. H. Lampe (South Melbourne)
15. L. Millis (Fitzroy)
16. M. Johnston (Carlton)
17. J. Sharp (Fitzroy)
18. C. Ricketts (South Melbourne)