Not much has changed at Harrow's cricket oval.
Gum trees, scarred by centuries of the Wimmera sun, flank the ground, keeping watch.
By their side runs the Glenelg River, welcoming weary spectators and the odd stray cricket ball.
Across the road, there is a hill; sitting on it a rock and plaque.
Some 100 metres or more from the pitch, it bears words honouring the spot a Johnny Mullagh six came to rest.
The story goes Mullagh - born Unaarrimin - was playing with fellow station hands from western Victoria when he unleashed Harrow's longest recorded boundary.
One-hundred-and-fifty-years ago, Harrow's grounds hosted Mullagh and fellow Jardwadjali, Guditjmara and Wotjobaluk men who were introduced to cricket while working on cattle stations in west Wimmera.
Across the Labour Day long weekend, those first footsteps were retraced by modern-age cricketers from across the state.
The Johnny Mullagh Cup is contested annually in honour of Harrow's pioneer and his history-making Indigenous XI.
A team of cricketers from the western district of Victoria face off against 11 descendants of the trailblazing 1868 team, whose story is being increasingly respected.
Edenhope station owner William Hayman formed a team of Indigenous station hands and, with financial backers' help, set sail for England in February 1868, becoming the first Australian sporting team to tour internationally.
After three months on the seas, the team landed in London before playing its first game against Surrey at The Oval in front of more than 20,000 spectators.
The tour continued around the country, with the Aboriginal cricket team winning 14, losing 14 and seeing 19 games end in a draw - a result that surprised plenty at the time.
As manager of the Harrow Discovery Centre, Josie Sangster is surrounded by the story of west Wimmera's pioneers.
She said Mullagh's story is in the fabric of the town.
"People of Harrow have been telling this story and in awe of this story (for decades)," she said.
"It's almost second nature. It's been part of peoples' lives.
"He lived and played on this country. He died here. He's buried here. His memorial is here."
"To Harrow, the story of Johnny Mullagh is inherent."
Mullagh was the star of the 1868 team - playing 45 of the 47 matches on tour, scoring 1698 runs at 23.65, bowling 1877 overs, of which 831 were maidens, and taking 245 wickets.
On his return, he briefly played as a professional for the Melbourne Cricket Club before retiring to a shack on Harrow's outskirts.
At the end of 2020, Mullagh was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, becoming the first Indigenous player to receive the honour.
"Johnny Mullagh and the 1868 Aboriginal team paved the way for so many future Australians to showcase their skill and talent on the world stage," Australian Cricket Hall of Fame Chairman Peter King said at the time.
"The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is proud to honour Johnny Mullagh for his contribution to Australia's cricketing history and national identity."
Josie Sangster said the induction was welcome recognition but called for the honour to be extended to all members of the 1868 team.
What needs to happen is for the whole 1868 team to be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.Josie Sangster
"They too were warriors. They too, left their country and travelled to an unknown land.
"The story of the 'First XI' is a story of against all odds.
"Back in their day, Aboriginal people were not highly regarded. There was a whole different level of racism to what we know now, that's for sure.
"To pick up the game, play it, endear themselves to the crowds and show the level of athleticism and skill that they did is a modern-day example to any sporting code or culture.
"It's not just about cricket."
Harrow's importance to the history of cricket in Australia is clear to the sport's governing body.
Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane was the first recipient of the Johnny Mullagh medal, presented to the best player of the Boxing Day Test.
The 2021 Mullagh Medal currently sits on display at the Harrow Discovery Centre.
'Walkabout Wickets', a piece of commemorative artwork by Aunty Fiona Clarke, a descendant of the 1868 team, tells the story of the region's pioneers and has adorned the playing kits of Australia's national teams.
The feats of the 1868 team feature prominently in Cricket Australian's 'Cricket Connecting Country' plan and are set to shape the body's future commitments to reconciliation.
"It's important for us to commemorate and keep telling this story," Ms Sangster said.
"Cricket Australia has actually written us into its reconciliation action plan.
"(It will be) bringing executives and staff here to learn the story."
Sangster and Cricket Australia share a vision for the next generation.
This long weekend also the first junior Johnny Mullagh Cup go up for grabs, contested between western Victorian cricketers and a travelling team from Melbourne.
The result was an afterthought. More important to all was the chance for young cricketers to get to play on Harrow's historic oval, now named in honour of the town's favourite son.
"It's important to have cricket at the Johnny Mullagh Oval and have cricket at the grassroots level," Ms Sangster said.
"Our aim is to get more marginalised kids, regional kids and girls playing that don't usually get a chance."
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