Thomas Wentworth Wills (19 August 1835 – 2 May 1880) was an Australian sportsman who is credited with being Australia's first cricketer of significance and a founder of Australian rules football. Born in the British colony of New South Wales to a wealthy family descended from convicts, Wills grew up in the bush on properties owned by his father, the pastoralist and politician Horatio Wills, in what is now the Australian state of Victoria. He befriended local Aborigines, learning their language and customs. At the age of 14, Wills went to England to attend Rugby School, where he became captain of its cricket team, and played an early version of rugby football. After Rugby, Wills represented the Cambridge University Cricket Club in the annual match against Oxford, and played at first-class level for Kent and the Marylebone Cricket Club. An athletic all-rounder with exceptional bowling skills, he was regarded as one of the finest young cricketers in England. Returning to Victoria in 1856, Wills achieved Australia-wide stardom as a cricketer, captaining the Victorian team to repeated victories in intercolonial matches. He played for the Melbourne Cricket Club but often clashed with its administrators, his larrikin streak and defections to rival clubs straining their relationship. In 1858 he called for the formation of a "foot-ball club" with a "code of laws" to keep cricketers fit during winter. After founding the Melbourne Football Club in 1859, Wills co-wrote the first laws of Australian rules football. He and his cousin H. C. A. Harrison spearheaded the sport's development as captains, umpires and administrators. In 1861, at the height of his fame, Wills joined his father on an eight-month trek into the Queensland outback to found a new property. Soon after their arrival, Wills' father and 18 others perished in the deadliest massacre of settlers by Aborigines in Australian history. Wills survived and resumed playing sport upon his return to Victoria in 1864, and in 1866–67, led an Aboriginal cricket team on an Australian tour as its captain-coach. In a career marked by controversy, Wills challenged cricket's amateur-professional divide, and earned a reputation for bending sporting rules to the point of cheating. In 1872, he became the first bowler to be called for throwing in a top-class Australian match. Dropped from the Victoria XI, he failed in an 1876 comeback attempt, by which time he was considered a relic of a bygone era. His remaining years were characterised by social alienation, flights from creditors, and heavy drinking, likely as a means of coping with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms that plagued him after the massacre. In 1880, suffering from delirium tremens, Wills committed suicide by stabbing himself in the heart. Australia's first sporting celebrity, Wills fell into obscurity after his death, but has undergone a revival in Australian culture since the 1980s. Today he is described as an archetypal tragic sports hero and as a symbol of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. He has also become the central figure in "football's history wars"—an ongoing dispute over whether features of an Aboriginal game were incorporated into early Australian rules football. According to biographer Greg de Moore, Wills "stands alone in all his absurdity, his cracked egalitarian heroism and his fatal self-destructiveness—the finest cricketer and footballer of the age".