Australia’s first sporting legend and the father of Australian football lies in a crumbling grave in a Melbourne cemetery.
With a largely unknown but extraordinary life story, Tom Wills deserves a final resting place in better condition.
With the blessing of the Wills family, The Footy Almanac is now raising funds to renovate the gravesite of our first cricketing hero who also gave Australians our own spectacular game.
The project will cost about $15,000 and with millions of AFL supporters and cricket lovers, the Australian sporting public should be able to do the right thing by this man and restore his gravesite.
In doing so we wish to draw attention to his remarkable life that started within a pioneering farming family before becoming a young cricketing hero in England, colonial star for Victoria then outback Queensland station manager. After personal tragedy he formed, mentored and coached the first aboriginal cricket team that later became the first Australian team to tour England.
Enigmatic, controversial and egalitarian are words used to describe a man whose immense sporting foresight lives on today.
His strong personal relationships with the aboriginal people of western Victoria were cemented in sport and provide inspiration for modern day reconciliation.
The Tom Wills grave restoration project is an initiative of Marius Cuming, Phil Dimitriadis and John Harms of the Footy Almanac.
Please donate what you can to a remarkable man who gave Australian sport so much.