This past week, Australia has been mourning the loss of Phillip Hughes, a cricketer who was struck in the neck by a bouncer ball in a match between South Australia and New South Wales on 25 November, 2014. Despite wearing a helmet, Phillip suffered a rare injury and died 2 days later, sending a shock throughout Australia.

Many people don’t realize that cricket is considered a national game in Australia, and for me it took this incredibly sad event to understand its significance for the every day Australian.

Upon hearing the news of Phillip’s death, a Sydney father, went outside and placed his cricket bat and cap at his front door as a mark of respect. He snapped a photo of the bat and shared it on social media with a hashtag #putoutyourbats. 

The original #putoutyourbats tweet by the Sydney father

The original #putoutyourbats tweet by the Sydney father

“We’ve all played cricket in one way or another,” he said on Twitter a few days later. “Backyard or beach cricket, no matter what level, we’ve all grown up with a bat and ball.”

Hundreds of thousands of mums, dads, and kids from all over Australia have since put out their bats and shared photos of their own tribute to Phillip Hughes on twitter with a #putoutyourbats. Even Google joined in…

#putoutyourbats photos on Twitter

It’s an incredible gesture. So simple, yet so powerful, and one that truly shows provides an amazing insight into Australian culture.