An Open Letter to Tom Wills

Dear Tom,


This letter comes to you from an ordinary cricketer and even worse footballer. However I just wanted to update you with how the game you initiated has changed since you left us.

Football is a fast-moving, fast-scoring game that now keeps the nation entranced for much of the year. Watched and played by millions every winter weekend and now worth billions of dollars, what is now known as AFL has developed a long way from the game to keep cricketers fit over winter but I guess you knew it always would after such a popular start.

What you may not have foreseen is how the game still carries your spirit of equality and crosses the many social, demographic and racial boundaries of this wonderful nation. As a wealthy, free nation, Australia is a country your ambitious father would hopefully be proud of.

We still have a long way to go to reconcile black and white Australia but on the 150th anniversary of the formation your aboriginal cricket team the people of western Victoria still acknowledge you as a good man. I know this as a farmer in the region, not that far from where you spent your early years.

Many still wonder how you created and nurtured the team after what happened at Cullinlaringo just five years prior.

Tom, you tragically left us at just 44 years of age, having lived an extraordinary life that stretched across many worlds. You have left an enormous legacy for this country and you are finally getting the recognition you deserve including at the Melbourne and Geelong clubs you helped form.

Together with a few mates at the Footy Almanac we are asking football and cricket lovers to help renovate your simple grave that has now fallen into disrepair.

I hope you don’t mind, we have the permission of your family and in doing so we aim to raise the profile of who you were, what you created for us and how far we have come.


Yours sincerely

Marius Cuming

Kent Park

Croxton East


To make a financial contribution to the restoration of Tom Wills grave, click HERE.


Tom Wills

Tom Wills


  1. Cat from the Country says

    B3autifully expressed. Thank you, Marius

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Heartfelt and timely sentiments Marius. Repairing the grave is also about restoring respect and focusing on the tremendous amount of good Tom Wills did for sport generally and for football specifically.

    “What you created for us and how far we’ve come.” The narrative around Wills’ life has thankfully shifted, particularly since Greg De Moore’s book. However, generations of footy fans still don’t know enough about how much he contributed to a game and culture we take for granted today. Kudos.

  3. Chris Rees says

    Hello Mac. Beautiful sentiments, good luck with the fundraising; I have made a tiny contribution. Rest in Peace Tom.

  4. Greg de Moore says

    Marius, Thank you for your drive and energy.

  5. I heard your interview today….well done..

    And I remember well the piece by phil, I think, who came across the grave last year.

    A terrific account and record of the Tom Wills story by Greg. Read his book a few years ago. A must read.

Leave a Comment