– As soon as I got the ball,
everybody’s yelling, you know? – All your friends and mates
are all singing out for you. It makes you really feel good. – Your heart’s in your mouth
with everybody yelling at you and that. – And I think the more they yell,
the better you play. – I used to look at some mates
and they’d be screaming and I’d just give a thumbs up
when I flip a goal in. – You want to be a champion yourself. You want to be better
than these guys there. – It was for your town
and for your people. – You don’t give a damn
what colour you are… ..so long as you can play. – Knowing that you’ve got that uniform,
you’re representing your town, you feel like you’re walking on air. – That’s a feeling you never forget. – That’s how I felt. I felt really good and confident in myself
when I used to play. – Every time we win the game, you think you’re going up to heaven. – The Americans came here
drilling for oil in the Derby area. They introduced basketball to the town. And I started off as a junior player with a team called the Little Devils. – We used to have
a portable basketball ring. We just…
You know, they made them portable, we could lift them up and take them off. And we used to put stones on them
so they didn’t fall down on us. (LAUGHS) – And we got the news that Derby
was playing basketball. So, you know, people here,
not me but other people, thought we should start
getting basketball going here. And we didn’t know nothing about
basketball. I didn’t even bounce a ball. – Well, when we first started playing
basketball, it was in the courthouse. They had a cemented floor. And then they had to
take the court away from there, cos sometimes they had night courts. And they moved it to the church. – We negotiated with the parish priest to actually play basketball there. Under one condition, that we were
to assist them to build those courts. – Before they put cement on it… ..it was anthill. We used to smash the anthill and make it hard and water it
and… we used to play on that. – When we first started, we didn’t have these rubber balls which you can easily bounce. It was like a soccer ball. Leather. It was covered in leather. And you can try and understand, bouncing leather, you know. It’s hard. – Oh, it’s so easy. So simple, really. You know? You just get on the court
and just bounce. – We didn’t know anything
about basketball. We knew nothing. The first year we played basketball, we got beaten in every game
for the whole year. – But Father McElson,
he got six of us boys, six of us boys, and so then we trained. – He used the make us run from
the Beagle Bay turn-off back into town. We used to do that every evening. And then when we started
playing basketball in the next year, we won every game for five years. – To begin with, from Sunday Island, the basketball actually started
from one of the teachers that was there teaching
on Sunday Island… ..taught us how to play basketball and was teaching the older guys
how to play on a gravel court. And the team we were barracking for,
we would be on the… Like, I’d sit up on top. Me and my cousin
would sit on top of the goalpost. And every time
they had a shot for the goal… we’d catch the basketball
and put it through the hoop. (LAUGHS) – Basketball, I can say,
was the highlight. So if you started to get down
at Broome… the whole place sort of lit up,
if you could say. You know? – There was quite a few teams in town. All small groups had their own team. And always someone would come in
with a new style. – It was teams called St Mary’s, Apaches, Wanderers and Eagles. They were just the Broome local teams. – Well, I was watching
Donnelly McKenzie. And I thought, “Shit, this man is good.” So I thought, “Well, that’s…
I’ll have a go at it.” You know? “I’ll try and do it. If I want to be
good, I have to be as good as him.” – I don’t want to brag or anything, but
I used to be pretty good at basketball. And I used to be a good dribbler. – Donnelly was the best dribbler… ..in basketball I ever seen. He could handle the ball
with his one hand and pass it with one hand. – We Aboriginal people… We Aboriginal people
put Broome on the map for sport. Truly I believe that. Cos we are the Aboriginal people
who started playing basketball. – There was only one mission boat that used to go to Derby
and pick up stores from Derby. And that’s the only chance the guys had to go to Derby and play
against a Derby side. Even the supporters
would get on the boat and on the lugger to support the team. Leave Sunday Island maybe
early in the morning, pretty early, if the tide was all right. And the boat used to go into… through
that gap, through the King Sound, and maybe to one of the islands
just to get a couple of fish or turtles to bring for the family, and then head off and watch the tide. And then sometimes you used to anchor
at Point Ormond to wait for the tide
for the creek to fill and the Derby wharf, the Derby jetty,
cos that’s not a deepwater jetty. And then when the mission closed, when everybody moved to Derby or Broome, they joined different teams. – We had about eight teams here in Derby
at that time. Cos we had two teams
from Mowanjum community. The post office had a team. And the shops had a team, as well,
in the early days. We had a team… of Bardi boys who were residing in Derby. And Wally Ah Chee had his Devils Angels. – Playing Wally Ah Chee was, like, we
were playing a champion here. You know? We were gonna have to beat him. – His ball-handling skills
and shooting was… beyond comprehension. – Well, I was one of the best in WA.
Just natural, you know? All-rounder, you know? I did everything. I could shoot from the centre line
and get goals and that. – Well, he was the captain
of the Derby side. – To be able to get into the Derby side,
for a start, you had… you had two training matches every week and you had to attend. – Well, we just took the best players
from each team and put them together and trained together. Then went down to Broome and that,
you know, and to Port Hedland. – My Derby uniform that I wore
very proudly and with distinction and done my best for the town of Derby, particularly against Broome. It made me feel so important
and so good to represent my town. It was like going off
to the Olympic Games. – Gradually we… ..formed a team to play inter-town
sports around the country. Derby, Port Hedland, Carnarvon had a combined Broome team and we were called the Broome All Stars. Cos we had people like Donnelly, myself,
Philip Dolby, Henry Reilly. All the guns at that time. – Alfie had a taxi business. And when we used to go to Port Hedland
or… ..Derby,
we used to always have a free taxi. – That was an Austin taxi.
It wasn’t a four-wheel-drive. And when we’d hit a boggy sand, we had to come out of the taxi
and push it. – It was boggy. Sometimes we used to spend hours
on the road digging the car. – The truck usually broke down, got punctured or something. – We had to all sit outside and wait
till somebody picked the vehicle up. – If I had my uniform on,
I’d walk off the mud and get straight onto
the basketball court. (LAUGHS) That’s how the road was in them days. – When we started playing, we were OK. And, er, we gave the other team hell. – It was always a good fight
between Derby and Broome. The crowds made it exciting. – Oh, the atmosphere, that’s enormous. In fact, no-one liked…
the Broome team. – I don’t think that the other teams
liked Broome. Cos, actually, we were too good. – We always had a grudge
against playing against Broome, you know, both teams, Derby and Broome. And every time we went down to Broome,
all the spectators used to boo us and yell at us
and scream at us and that. – On court,
you don’t like the opposition. – I told my mum,
“There’s no friendship on the courts. You know, we’re here to play a game. And we’re here to win.” – You didn’t want to put on
a poor performance, either here in Derby
or Broome or Port Hedland. If you played for your town,
you had to do your very best. And you would be looked upon
as having to excel and bring the trophy back to your town. – Donnelly had his guys
that were the best and Wally had his best players, too. – People like Wally Ah Chee, Cyril Archer and Ray Goonak and all them,
they were the stars. They were the Derby stars. – We all knew the true abilities
of Donnelly McKenzie… in Broome, Philip Matsumoto, Philip Dolby,
Eric Cox, David Darguin. – I tell you, I was number one. They were after me. – Wally would run in there and bang,
bang, bang, it was a goal, you see? And then these other ones
would chase after Donnelly and he’d be dribbling around
and they’d be running round in circles. – Derby told the other players, “Stop McKenzie. Stop McKenzie.
It doesn’t matter what you do. Stop him. Cos if we stop him, we’ll win the game.” – And it was fast basketball.
You know what I mean? It stirred the crowd up all the time. – There are times
you can’t hear the whistle blow or you can’t hear the umpire
saying anything, the noise was so great. – The people who were barracking for us and the people
who were barracking for Derby, sometimes I think fisticuffs
would come out of it, you know? People would start… this. – But that was just loyalty
to your town, I guess. Sticking up for your team. – The shouting and everything, you know? “Come on, Derby! Come on, Broome! Come on, Derby! Kill them!” – We didn’t worry about it, you know? Don’t lose our temper
and go and punch somebody. (LAUGHS) – Well, I understand it was a game,
you know? I don’t need to go and get blood
out of anybody. (LAUGHS) – Every time the ball went up,
Gordon would beat him. Grab the ball, straight to me. I would dribble it down to Matso
or Eric, who was up in the four line, or Philip Dolby, you know. Cos Phil Dolby would be waiting
on the outside of the key way, ready to shoot that…
ready to shoot that long shot. – They didn’t have three-pointers then.
They only had two-pointers. – In most cases, it brings the house
down if it’s a real long shot. – Well, when you have a long shot,
you know, from the centre line, and you get a goal, your heart,
you know, is pounding away and you feel happy, you know? You wanted to do it more often. (LAUGHS) – You’d get a shot, get a goal.
(CHEERS) You know? Turn around to the supporters
and the people that barrack for you. Face them and go, “Isn’t that great?”
You know? – Dropping those three-pointers is…
it’s like magic. It does a lot of things to you.
You know? Erm, and you… With my age, I think, you think, like,
“Could I do that again?” And I have tried doing it. But it always seems to be,
er, falling short. This is the way you shoot
a three-pointer. Make sure you’ve got the balance,
holding the ball right. Put it up as high as you can. Then release the ball and follow it through with your hands,
like that. – When the last whistle blows
and you know that you won… ..you know, everybody just runs
and grab each other, hug each other. – After the game, everybody was happy. You know, Derby and Broome. Everybody came together well
after the game. – And gradually went to a combined team
with Derby and Broome to go to Perth to play
the rest of the country towns around the metropolitan area. – There was three of us from Broome and about five or six from Derby. – And we all travelled in
I think it was one car or two cars. It was like a family unit
just going away on holiday. – It seemed like bad friends
when we were playing, but we were not bad friends,
we were good friends. – We just clicked and that was it. There was no… There was no rivalry in the team
in the combined match. We just respected one another’s
individual talents, you know? – It was very strange because that is
the first time we’d ever been to Perth. – We felt out of place because we were
the only Aboriginal side there. – And then when they saw
what we could do, they were all coming around, you know, “How do you play like that?
Who trained you?” – Some of our players were so
exceptionally good and different to… the normal style of play that we sort of attracted the crowds
to come to our games. – Oh, we just clicked,
when we got together down in the Perth stadium there. – You know, we had the best of the best
between Derby and Broome. So we had to be amazing. (LAUGHS) – Some of our games were outside
in the sun. And some of our games were inside. – Those games that we played
on the outside bitumen courts, around the Perry Lakes Stadium, we seemed to be much more suited to that because it was the same
in our respective towns. We all played on bitumen. – Indoors were wooden floors. This was a bit strange for us because we’d never played
on wooden floors before. – I used to play barefoot. But on the major court in Perth,
you had to wear shoes. – If you weren’t really accustomed
to it, you’d be slipping and sliding. – We won all our games
on the bitumen outside courts but no games were won
on the wooden fancy courts in the stadium in Perry Lakes. So it was quite an adventure. Yeah. – The beauty about basketball
in those days is it really kept people motivated. – Everybody just wanted
to be a basketball player. And it’s been a good contributor
for indigenous people to participate in sport. – And we’re all in our 70s now,
you know. We’re lucky to be living. But we were good friends, right through, even till today. – And when I walk around the town, “Hi. You’re Philip Matsumoto. I used to play for you.
But I used to beat you, too, eh?” So I said, “Yeah.” So, you know, I mean,
it still gives you that good feeling. – I got one down the block. He could be down the street,
half charged up or something, and we’re driving past and he’ll see me
and he’ll start bouncing, pretend he’s bouncing a basketball. And it’s, “Hey! Basketball man!”
(LAUGHS) And, you know, I feel good about that
because he always remembers that. – I’ve still got that burning feeling
to be part of playing basketball. But I enjoy being a spectator and criticising
where there’s criticism to be made. – See what they’re doing,
not doing right. “This is how you do… gone
and did this and gone and did that.” – “Oh, dear. Why didn’t he pass
the ball then before he ran across? He would have passed the ball
to that other bloke and he probably
would have got a goal out of it.” – Sometimes I just can’t help myself but walk to the court
and help the coach out. – I wish I could go back in time
and carry on playing. I’d love to. I really miss it, you know, basketball. – If I was younger,
I’d still be playing. – I certainly do miss,
you know, playing basketball and that. You know, it kept you fit,
you know, all the time, running around the court and that. And you miss mixing with people
playing sports and that. Getting too old, you see?
Couldn’t stay young. (LAUGHS) – I really miss it. I really miss it. I mean, the mind… The mind is there, you know? I like to play. But the flesh, it’s not strong. That’s all I can say.
But I miss basketball very much. Because I know in my heart I gave a lot. I gave a lot to basketball. A lot.