Thirty years after creating one of the most memorable moments in sporting history, Indigenous AFL legend Nicky Winmar tells his story in a moving and compelling memoir.
FROM BUSH KID TO AFL LEGEND
Sport is made up of moments that thrill us at the time and quickly disappear. Very few endure for decades. Even fewer transcend sport and speak to an entire nation.
April 17, 2023, marked the 30th anniversary of St Kilda legend Nicky Winmar's proud and defining stand against racism—one of those moments that hasn't diminished over time and regrettably is just as relevant today.
It is a stand that has become iconic, and so has Winmar, not just for his courage as he declared to a hostile, jeering crowd, 'I'm black and I'm proud to be black,' but also because he was one of the game's most talented and celebrated players.
Born to Noongar parents in Western Australia's Wheatbelt, 200 kilometres from Perth, Neil Elvis 'Nicky' Winmar quickly displayed an ability to overcome adversity. He would need it. He had a hard upbringing but loved to play footy every day with his younger brother amid the livestock on the farm where their father worked as a shearer.
The skinny teenager soon began playing football among hardened men for the local club and was signed to a senior team as a promising fifteen-year-old. Winmar would go on to become one of the most decorated players in AFL history. Recently inducted into the illustrious AFL Hall of Fame, a member of both the Indigenous Team of the Century and the St Kilda Team of the Century, Nicky was the first Indigenous footballer to play 200 games.
Neil Elvis "Nicky" Winmar is a former Australian rules footballer, best known for his career for St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs in the Australian Football League (AFL), as well as South Fremantle in the West Australian Football League.
Growing up in Pingelly in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, Winmar began his career with South Fremantle, playing 58 games at the club before being recruited prior to the 1987 season by St Kilda.
In a twelve-season career with St Kilda, Winmar won the club's best and fairest award, the Trevor Barker Award, in 1989 and 1995 and was also twice named in the All-Australian team. He left St Kilda at the end of the 1998 season and was drafted by the Western Bulldogs, playing one further season in the AFL before retiring at the end of the 1999 season.
Having represented Western Australia in eight interstate matches, Winmar was named in St Kilda's Team of the Century in 2003 and was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
He was involved in several incidents of racial vilification during his career and a photograph of Winmar responding to one such incident during the 1993 season has been described as one of the most memorable images in Australian