Aborigines and the 'Sport of Kings' celebrates the significant and exciting Aboriginal involvement in Australian racing history. A remarkable history considering that Australian Aboriginal people's first contact with the European animals caused them bewilderment and terror because violent massacres and unprovoked vicious attacks were conducted from horseback. However, within a short period they adapted and shed their fears. Over time they caught horses and taught themselves to ride, using sheets of bark as makeshift saddles. Settler accounts record Aboriginal people's uncanny affinity with horses; their excellence in caring for them and in riding. So, moving from the skilled workers who were the backbone of the Australian pastoral industries to racing horses was an obvious step. Amongst the many Aboriginal jockeys highlighted in the book are Merv Maynard, Norm Rose, Frank Reys, Richard Lawrence 'Darby' McCarthy and Leigh-Anne Goodwin, Australia's first female Aboriginal jockey to ride a winner at a metropolitan track. Coming from a proud Aboriginal family and a racing background, John Maynard kws first-hand that there have always been more Aboriginal jockeys than is usually admitted.
Professor John Maynard is one of the most prolific and respected voices writing about Aboriginal history. He has won awards, is in demand as a speaker and as an advisor for television programs. He is Professor of Aboriginal Studies, Newcastle University, and currently an ARC research fellow. His most recent publication is The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe (Magabala) while his previous publications with Aboriginal Studies Press include popular Fight for Liberty and Freedom and he was also a contributor to Uncommon Ground.