“I stood there… telling everyone not to hit [my belly]. They bowled me slow balls, and I just stood there and hit them all over the place,” she told Cricket Australia of her final game of cricket for Australia.
It was an extraordinary end to an extraordinary career for the woman of “firsts”.
First indigenous Australian to play test cricket for Australia. First Aboriginal woman to represent Australia in any sport. And one of the first Aboriginal nurses in Adelaide trained at the royal Adelaide Hospital.
For the 85-year-old who grew up at the Colebrook Aboriginal Children’s Mission near South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, nursing and cricket went hand in hand.
Because without the former, she might never have found the latter.
“[A colleague] said to me, I’m a bit worried about working tonight… because I couldn’t get out to cricket practice,” she recalled. “[She asked] are you interested? I said, well, I’ll give it a go and I went with her, and that was it.”
What followed was a fascination with the “native nurse cricketer” who could bowl so fast, she “demoralised” and “dismissed” the batsman who would “close their eyes” when they lined up to face her.
Faith played her first game of cricket for the Australian team in 1958, and took a hat-trick in her second.
She credits her explosive right-arm fast bowling ability to her upbringing in Colebrook, where she and the other children learnt to make their own cricket bats from wood from the nearby dump to hit the round stones from the creek they used as balls.