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Celestial Footy Book Launch Ballarat

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Event description

This event is for curious footy fans, book readers, history lovers and those interested in an extraordinary story of the excellence and resilience of the Chinese-Australian community who have played Australian Rules football for more than 140 years.

Join us in Ballarat for an evening of stories to launch 'Celestial Footy - the story of Chinese heritage Aussie Rules' written by Patrick Skene in partnership with the AFL, the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations and published by Hardie Grant.

From Darwin to Adelaide to Perth, from Broome to Melbourne to the Victorian Goldfields, Celestial Footy celebrates the lives and contribution of VFL Chinese-Australian pioneers such as Carlton's Wally Koochew and North Melbourne's Les Kew Ming, modern day champions such as Les Fong, Lin Jong, Bailey Banfield and Darcy Vescio and Chinese-Australian football clubs such as Melbourne's Young Chinese League team, the Darwin Buffaloes and Ballarat's Golden Point Rice Eaters. 

Ballarat has a special place in the book as one of the birthplaces of the Chinese Aussie Rules tradition including the famous Chinese Market Gardeners vs Miners matches at Eastern Oval in 1892 and 1896.

Attendees will also learn about the amazing history of the Golden Point Rice Eaters club which won 15 premierships from 1910 and was merged with East Ballarat to form modern day East Point Football Club.

The Rice Eaters had a number of Chinese Australian players including Clarence Lepp, Bill Moy, the Young Brothers, the Tung brothers and a famous fan - iconic Ballarat character Billy Butterfly aka William Lung who would attend Golden Point Rice Eaters games for 70 years. 

The event will also explore the North Ballarat Football Club's Chinese connection including 1940's player Harold Foo and Jack Wunhym who coached North Ballarat to its first premiership in 1946 and played for Footscray in the late 1920's.

More than a football book, Celestial Footy tells the powerful story of the Chinese-Australian men and women who overcame obstacles and adversity to play the game they loved.

The event will include a presentation on the book, a panel featuring members of the Chinese Australian football tradition and a performance from Chinese classical performer Gu Zheng. 

For more information on the event please email dee@culturalpulse.com.au

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