Victorian Turf Cricket Association club Footscray Angliss hopes its name change will better reflect its diversity.
The club, which will celebrate its 90th anniversary next year decided to change its name from Footscray ANA during the off-season.
The change was first raised by vice-president Rohan James at the club’s annual general meeting in July and was discussed with members, life members, Cricket Victoria, Cricket Australia and Maribyrnong council.
ANA stood for the Australian Natives’ Association, which was formed in the 1870s and was limited to white men born in Australia.
“I brought it up as it was a personal issue for me,” James said.
“I found the ANA and linkage to the white Australia policy… quite disrespectful to the nation’s first people.
“The diversity at our club is massive… I didn’t think a name like ANA represented our club.”
James’ point hit a nerve with new junior co-ordinator Michael Cox
Cox, who has been involved at the club for 35 years, has been trying to set up the club’s first all-girls team,
“From what Rohan and his brother Jason shared at the AGM, I thought my possibility of inclusion for everyone was contradicted by the Australian Natives Association acronym.
“If we want a women’s team, this association would not have allowed them to take on leadership roles, I saw that as contradicting what our club is about.
“I couldn’t really fathom the idea. We’re such an inclusive club and these things are going on around the club which are all great but essentially, my mum who came to Australia in the 1950s wouldn’t have been allowed in as she didn’t speak english under the ANA’ policies.”
Treasurer Spiros Koziaris said it took him a little bit of time to come around to the decision, but he now knows it’s the right one.
“I don’t think anyone has seen the past players or officials of anyone involved in the club as a racist or associated with what the Australian Natives Association stood for or represents,” he said.
“We don’t believe our history is clouded by people behaving that way. There was some reluctance to change it as we were all getting branded as racists, because of what ANA once stood for.
“Once we heard from the various people at the various organisations and how they felt about the ANA it was quite clear there wasn’t really a choice.”
The club needed 75 per cent of members to vote in favour of the change at a special meeting. They got 90 per cent.
The club decided to change the name to Footscray Angliss, with Angliss the name of the ground they played at.
Despite playing in Yarraville, they were keen to keep the Footscray part of the name.
Koziaris said even though the name has changed, the club hasn’t.
“We’ve made it clear the honour board doesn’t change the records the players had for runs, games and catches, nothing changes.”