Almanac Book (Launch): ‘Celestial Footy: the story of Chinese heritage Aussie Rules’ by Patrick Skene



Celestial Footy Launch FINAL Melbourne 29 Nov


‘Celestial Footy’ Victorian book launch tour to Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo


Celestial Footy’, a book on the story of Chinese heritage Australian Rules football, will be launched in Victoria with three events in Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo in late November & early December 2023.

In “Celestial Footy, the story of Chinese Heritage Aussie Rules“, author Patrick Skene chronicles the participation and passion of Chinese heritage immigrants and their descendants in Australia’s beloved national game – Australian Rules Football.

From Darwin to Adelaide to Perth, from Broome to Melbourne to the Victorian Goldfields, Celestial Footy celebrates the lives of pioneers such as Wally Koochew and Les Kew Ming, modern day champions such as Les Fong, Lin Jong and Darcy Vescio and Chinese-Australian football clubs such as Melbourne’s Young Chinese League team, the Darwin Buffaloes and Ballarat’s Golden Point Rice Eaters.

Skene reveals a powerful narrative with significant contemporary relevance: “The Chinese footy tradition is more than 140 years old and it is one of the most amazing hidden stories in Australian sporting history.”

Published by Hardie Grant Media, in partnership with the AFL, the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations and Cultural Pulse, Celestial Footy is a unique, timely and important addition to Australia’s sporting history, as well as that of the broader Chinese-Australian narrative of assimilation, struggle, identity and community.

More than a football book, Celestial Footy tells the powerful story of the Chinese-Australian men and women who overcame obstacles and adversity to play the game they loved.

Carlton AFLW star Darcy Vescio designed the book cover inspired by Chinese calligraphy and coaches whiteboard drawings.


2023 Event Details:

Melbourne: Wednesday November 29, 6-8pm, Princes Park, Carlton (to register email [email protected])

Ballarat:  Friday December 1, 6-8pm, Victoria Bowling Club, Ballarat East

To register:

Bendigo: Saturday December 2, 4-6pm, All Seasons Hotel, Strathdale, Bendigo

To Register:

Contact: To attend an event or interview the author please contact [email protected]

You are invited to attend the book launch for

‘Celestial Footy – the story of Chinese heritage Aussie Rules’, 

written by Patrick Skene in partnership with the

AFL and the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations.

The book includes stories of Chinese-Australian football pioneers such as VFL pioneers Wally Koochew and Les Kew Ming and modern stars Darcy Vescio, Lin Jong and Bailey Banfield.

Click here to register my ticket



To read Citrus Bob Utber’s  review of ‘Celestial Footy’ click here.


To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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  1. This was a cracking night at Princes Park, home of the Carlton Football Club. Packed house. After Patrick told the story of the book and of Chinese football and footballers in Australia, Tom Parker did a terrific job hosting a series of panels which included footballers, administrators, even agents of Chinese heritage. The vibe was excellent.

  2. Going to Saturday’s launch at Bendigo’s All Seasons conference centre, Harmsy.

    I’ve written a few times about Echuca F.C.’s long-kicking full-back Les Kew Ming. He played in the 1920s.

    He could land the pill in the centre of the Upper Reserve (the QEO) kicking out from full-back.

    Also keen to hear about South Bendigo’s 1950s player Russell ‘Goldfields’ Jack because South was the dominant Bendigo F.L. team in the Fifties right up to, and including, Melbourne Olympic Games time in 1956.

    Will let the Knackery know how the Saturday launch went.

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