Joe Johnson

Australian Rules Footballer

1883 –


Who is Joe Johnson?

Joe Johnson was an Australian rules footballer notable as he is recognised as being the first ever Indigenous Australian to play in the VFL/AFL.

Born near Newcastle, New South Wales, Johnson was recruited from Victorian Football Association side Northcote Football Club and made his senior debut for Fitzroy Football Club in Round One 1904 against Carlton. Initially playing as a half-back-flanker, Johnson played in back to back premiership teams in 1904 and 1905. In 1907, Johnson left Fitzroy for VFA side Brunswick as playing coach, playing in their inaugural premiership in 1909. In 1912 he returned to Northcote as playing coach until 1914.

Johnson has been lauded for his role in being the first known Aboriginal footballer, "leading the way" for other Aboriginal players to star in football.

Johnson's son Percy Johnson, grandson Percy Cummings and great-grandsons Robert and Trent Cummings also played VFL/AFL football.


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