Rugby League has always maintained the proud tradition of acknowledging the contributions made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players towards the popular code. But if someone done their proper research, one might be inclined to question the validity of the indigenous heritage of a former NRL great; Gordan Tallis.
Let’s begin with Tallis. Referred to many as the ‘raging bull,’ the former Brisbane Bronco forward has had an Illustrious career including winning three premierships with the Broncos, as well as captaining his state and country to victory on many occasions. Acknowledged as a great second-rower of Indigenous Australian heritage, he was inducted into the Australian Indigenous team of the century in 2008. However, what is disturbing about it is that he may not be Indigenous after all. It may as well be that he is nothing more than a confused South Sea Islander.
Information on Gordan Tallis’s indigenous heritage is rare given the fact that it’s only referenced in a book he published entitled Raging Bull. In regards to people who have wondered about his ethnicity and ancestry, he states the following;
“An auntie of mine did some research and she found that my great-grandfather came from North Western Ambrym in Vanuatu and my great-grandmother was from Loh Island in the Torres Strait.”
I found what I read to be both confusing and amusing at the same time. First of all, as a Torres Strait Islander that knows the culture and geography of the place, I have never heard of an island in the Torres Strait call Loh before! That’s like living in a neighbourhood for 20 years not knowing your next door neighbour is Justin Bieber. I knew the information was false but I had to Google it to be 100% sure. So I typed in “Loh Island Torres Strait” and the results came up as “Did you mean Loh Island, part of the Torres Islands in Vanuatu.”
And there you go, one of the greatest second-rowers to be a part of the Australian Indigenous Team of the Century happens to be a ‘Torres Islander’ from Kanaka country, not Torres Strait Islander. But why did people question if he was Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in the first place you might ask? Given the fact that he is light skinned and can pass for a Caucasian (unlike sport stars such as Andrew Symonds or Mel Maninga who were mistaken to be Aboriginal due to appearance). Well again, the answer lies in his book;
“I have played in one Indigenous side though, the Redfern All Blacks, who won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tournament in 1992….People might have read a bit into me playing in that tournament but to me it was just a chance to play some footy with my mates."
Very interesting, the main reason why he joined the comp was to be with his mates and not because of the pride in his fake heritage.
"People ask me about my ethnic background. Newspapers pick me in their ‘fantasy’ Indigenous and Aboriginal sides. To tell the honest truth, I haven’t worried too much about it.”
Well Gordon Tallis, you should be worried. No good deceiving people and robbing real Aboriginals from earning a spot in the Australian Indigenous Team of the century. http://nativesupporter.hubpages.com/hub/The-Truth-About-Gordon-Tallis-heritage-He-is-Not-An-Indigenous-Australian-at-All