Australians remember Aboriginal cricketer King Cole at Bethnal Green’s Meath Gardens

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 June 2018

King Cole photographed in the 1860s (inset) and Victorian entrance to Meath Gardens in Bethnal Green. Picture source: LBTH/Google

King Cole photographed in the 1860s (inset) and Victorian entrance to Meath Gardens in Bethnal Green. Picture source: LBTH/Google


A commemoration takes place today in a park in Bethnal Green to remember Australian Aboriginal cricketer King Cole who was buried there 150 years ago.

Cole was a player with the first Aboriginal XI that toured Britain in 1868, a decade before the famous Australian team visit that gave rise to Test cricket.

He died on the tour and was buried in Victoria Park Cemetery which later became Meath Gardens in 1894.

Those attending include the current Australian Indigenous XIs, the Australian High Commissioner, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets and children from three primary schools who are meeting the players.

“Commemorating King Cole in Meath Gardens is important for our players,” Cricket Australia’s Paul Stewart said. “Remembering his contribution to Australian cricket is of great importance for acknowledging the story of the 1868 cricket team.”

An information panel is being unveiled close to the eucalyptus tree trunk and plaque that was laid in Meath Gardens by the Aboriginal Cricket Association in 1988 to mark Australia’s Bicentenary year.

Meath Gardens was a cemetery that closed to burials in 1876 and fell into disuse. It reopened as a public park in 1894 by the Duke of York and named after the Earl of Meath.

The ultimate terror for an Aboriginal was to die away from their ancestral spirits, so today’s commemoration at 10am is to honour Cole’s life.

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