Lionel Rose was unaware of the National Pride that he had evoked. When the plane landed back in Melbourne in 1968, thousands of well dressed white people cheered from the tarmac and balconies to welcome home the Aboriginal Star. A convertible was parked awaiting his arrival.
” Who are all these people waiting for ?” Rose asked the Air-hostess. He thought that maybe a The Beatles had arrived at Essendon Airport.
“You” she replied.
Lionel Rose was a National Boxing Hero after he won the Bantamweight Title by beating Masahiko ‘Fighting’ Harada, the Japanese Champion in Tokyo.
People had sent gum leaves over to Japan in support of the young boxer.
Lionel Rose was propped up at the back of the convertible so that the roaring crowd could get a good look at him and shake his hand as he passed. A ticker-tape parade down Swanston Street had been arranged, and the street was lined with 100,000 Melbournians, cheering the Aboriginal man. He went on to become The Australian of the Year in 1968.
Aboriginal people had been granted Australian Citizenship in 1967 which meant that Rose could obtain a passport, buy land and obtain legal rights. The constitutional Referendum, to allow Aboriginals rights, was voted in favour by 90.77 of the population, on the 27th of May. Rose won the Title on 26th of Feb, which meant that the 19-year-old had been an Australian Citizen for 9 months. Rose was a Celebrity for both Aboriginals and Caucasians, when the fight against racism was still on shaky turf.
Rose was the first Original Australian to be named Australian of the Year. When accepting the award, he said;
“One hundred and eighty-two years ago one of my mob would have been a dead cert for this.” (www.australianoftheyear.org.au)
Federer came out strong in the first set, brimming with confidence, hitting precision shots and slamming Nadals backhand. Nadals survival instinct was provoked and he nailed the second set as Roger flounded. This was the blueprint of the game.
Federer excelled when he was successful and Rafael rose when he was being beaten. Federers game fall apart on the defensive, however he served some beauties that switched him on again. On the home run Federer was on fire.
6-4 5-6 6-1 3-6 6-3
How it unfolded in the Summer of 2017
It’s on ! A Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Mens Final.
Looking back at the 2009 Final when the younger Federer and Nadal met at the Australian Open final it was a colossal game that went to 5 sets, with Nadal the victor.
Can Federer break Nadal’s survival mindset.
With hand on heart, Venus states proudly ; “That’s my little sister…your win has always been my win ”
Serena Williams beat her sister convincingly in 2 sets. Venus held back her tears as she watched her younger sibling and rival take the limelight and hold up the AO trophy.
Nadal in the final!
Rafa Nadal’s win over Girgor Dimitrov was a battle of wills. Both showed up to a fierce combat with Dimitrov determined to win and Nadal determined not to lose. With a sliver of greater determination Nadal grasped the victory and collapsed in sheer exhaustion. Wearily they embraced each other in recognition of the others ability.
6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 6-4
Venus upsets Coco’s run
Both players are in disbelief, Coco Vandeweghe is shocked to have lost and Venus Williams is elated to be in the finals.
Federer overcomes Wawrinka
7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3
Stan Wawrinka broke his racket over his leg in frustration as Roger Federer glided into the third set with ease. It seemed as though he hurt his leg in the feat and took some time off the court for treatment. Federer waited.
The ‘time out’ worked in Wawrinkas favour and he went on to win the 3rd and 4th sets as Federer broke his rhythm and played a string of wild shots. This time Federer needed a break and took some time out for off the court care.
Federer came back to the court re-focused and stole back the momentum to win in 5 sets.
The ‘Old Guard’ emerges on top
Rafael Nadal has a battery that just wont give up. He goes to work each day with sheer will and determination against some formidable competition. If Nadal has been rowing hard upstream to make it to the final, Roger Federer has been sailing on a strong wind in his favour.
Serena Williams is swinging ‘all the way’, who can stop her? Maybe her older sister.
Women’s and men’s Top seeds toppled.
Both top seeds have been defeated before the Quarter finals. Angelique Kerber had a convincing loss against Coco Vanderweghe in 3 sets whist Andy Murry battled it out in 4 sets with Misha Zverev, ranked 50. 7-5. 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
Istomin defeats Djokovic
The King is out of the tournament, Novak Djokovic is beaten after a major upset, losing to 117th ranked Denis Istomin. The match was short of 5 hours, a matinee that turned into the a 7.30 game.
“Mum you did a good job” Isomin thanks his coach.
Seppi defeats Kyrgios
The passionate dual between Andreas Seppi and Nick Kyrgios eclipsed expectations as the cocky Aussie fell under the disdain of Italy’s champion.Its was the male version of last years Women’s final were intimidation was brought down by sheer determination.
The epic story unfolded in 5 rounds which lasted over 3 hours, a story of physical brute , unsettled emotions and mental will.
To the merit of Kyrgios he is self coached and attempts to have a balanced life within the dictatorship of the tennis world. He tends to live in the moment, without being answerable. The press had a field day of speculation, picking at his fallen remains, as the Australian simmered and honoured his opponents game.
The West have had a ‘hell of a time’ getting here.
Airfares have skyrocketed to the point that it is cheaper to go to Europe from Perth, than to Melbourne.Word on the street is that one of the airlines held back ticket sales for 2 weeks untill the final outcome was decided and then, the price hike. What to do?
There is talk that many booked to go to New Zealand, because it was cheaper, got off at Melbourne and did not return to the flight.
Some flew via Bali and Singapore,they had a mini break and then arrived in Melbourne. It was cheaper than flying direct.
There are those that flew via Adelaide and Sydney, but the airlines caught on. Prices went up.
The rest drove. The Nullarbor Plain, not an interesting landscape, for 2 days it is as flat as a dead liner (and still another day to go).
Its a long way to come, to watch the West Coast Eagles lose bitterly to Hawthorns, Hawks.