Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and contribution to our game is being celebrated across Queensland as part of Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
From the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS who will play home games this weekend to local footy clubs throughout the state, the round marks an important event on the football calendar.
This year, the 2022 Sir Doug Nicholls Round coincides with the 30th anniversary of the historic 1992 Mabo decision, where the High Court of Australia recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ traditional ownership of land and country, and that ‘terra nullius’ should not have been applied to Australia.
A significant moment in recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights, the AFL acknowledges the legacy of Torres Strait Islander leader Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo and the 1992 Mabo decision as part of the celebrations of the round.
Locally, an important part of the celebrations in Queensland is using the round as a vehicle for education.
AFL Queensland has continued its work with community clubs to deliver the Racism. It Stops With me campaign. The pledge, which is aimed to promote a clear understanding in the AFL community of what racism is, and how it can be prevented and reduced.
Learn more about our commitment to Racism. It Stops With Me here;
To fall in line with all AFLQ senior competitions; AFL Townsville, AFL Mackay, AFL Capricornia, AFL Wide Bay, AFL Darling Downs and all QFA competitions, as well as the QAFL and Bond University QAFLW, Sir Doug Nicholls Round is being marked officially for the first-time ever in the McDonalds Southeast Queensland juniors competition, which has more than 15,000 participants from Gympie to Ballina.
In addition, the ‘Community Football Indigenous Guide’ has been developed to help clubs understand and participate in Sir Doug Nicholls Round, while on the field Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands flags are being incorporated into games in place of the goal flags to be used by Goal Umpires.
Many clubs have commissioned artists, sometimes players or officials at their club, to design special guernseys with Indigenous artwork to commemorate the round. Here are the stories behind just a few;
Broadbeach Cats, QAFL
Designed by local artist and traditional custodian Luther Cora from the Yugambeh Language group. The guernsey design depicts the saltwater people living sustainably off the sea and rivers, creeks and waterways, collecting and gathering pippies and oysters.
Alex Hills Bombers, Brisbane South
Designed by Aboriginal Artist Jared Coolwell, the artwork represents the Kabul (carpet snake) Totem of North Stradbroke Island surrounding a campsite with their team of 22 players. The footprints, lines and dots represent the path their team goes through together, travelling through each of the four goal posts. The Club pays its respect to the Nunukul, Gorenpul and Nughi people of the Quandamooka nation on which the club resides.
Moranbah Bulldogs, Mackay
Designed by Maria Rose a Pitjantjatjara and Luritja women and with her family members with their heritage from Moa Island in the Torres Strait Island’s. The spearheads used in battle and for survival moving in opposing directions showing where they land is often unexpected. Shark teeth in between the spearheads represent power and strength. The Dhoeri (headdress) is a symbol of the Torres Strait Islanders and used in cultural ceremony and dance. The five-pointed star symbolises peace. Blue represents water provided by Mother Nature while fish and kangaroo symbols are nature. The design acknowledges the Barada Barna People as the Traditional Owners and their totem.
Gold Coast SUNS
Like the Broadbeach Cats, the SUNS have worked collaboratively with Yugambeh artist Luther Cora from the Gold Coast, and Larrakia artist Trent Lee from Darwin on their 2022 Indigenous guernsey they will wear in Darwin when they take on Hawthorn. The guernsey features two distinct animals representing the regions they are native to; a crocodile to signify the Northern Territory and an eagle to denote the Gold Coast.
At the Gabba, the Brisbane Lions take on GWS in their 2022 Indigenous guernsey designed by triple Premiership Player and Proud Eastern Arrernte Man, Darryl White. The guernsey is a representation of both Darryl’s heritage, and the rich history of the Brisbane Lions, including the merging of the Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy Lions 25 years ago and a representation of it being 20 years since the triumphant Premiership win in 2002. The design features lion and bear footprints meeting at the three home grounds: Turrbal and Yuggera, Yugambeh and Wurundjeri country (The Gabba, Carrara and Brunswick St Oval), along with the names of Indigenous AFL players and trainers who have represented the Cub with dignity and pride, including Ringo Hood, who was a trainer for Fitzroy before the merger and is one of only a handful of Indigenous trainers involved in the AFL.
As part of NAB AFL half-time Auskick at the Gabba tomorrow, Auskickers will wear a special Indigenous guernsey designed by former Brisbane Lions and Hawthorn Hawks player, and proud Kooma/Kunja man, Rhan Hooper. The guernsey design is called ‘The Spirit of Footy’; symbolising people from different cultures and communities coming together as one from all walks of life to share in our great game.
AFL Queensland Diversity Coordinator, Peter Yagmoor said, “Sir Doug Nicholls Round is an extremely special and important round on the AFL Queensland calendar and something we are so proud of.
“A lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have come through our AFL systems and it’s opportunity to celebrate them but also celebrate the people who are still involved in the game.
“Our education sessions are so important for our community clubs – with so many people coming through the gates it’s an opportunity for them to learn and engage about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures – the main message is to stamp racism out of the game.
“Hopefully the players; young and old, can go back to their families and also educate them on what they’ve learnt in the sessions.”
Photo above by Bond University.
Photos below from around the grounds: