Yarning Circle Unveiled at AFLQ

AFL Queensland proudly unveiled Yowogurra, a Yarning Circle, in front of distinguished guests, indigenous trailblazers of footy in Queensland and AFL, Gold Coast SUNS and Brisbane Lions staff.

The Yarning Circle, which is located at the AFL Queensland grounds in Yeronga, Brisbane, is a space which encourages people to gather, connect and share stories.

The circle features twelve large stones which each pay tribute to an indigenous trailblazer of Queensland football. Eleven of the twelve trailblazers attended the official opening or were represented by family and friends, who travelled as far and wide as Perth, Melbourne, Mackay and Townsville to be there.

Aunty Deb Sandy opened the proceedings with a Welcome to Country, followed by speeches from Head of AFL Queensland Trisha Squires, Indigenous and Social Policy Manager Katriina Heikkanen and Coaching Development and Education Lead Jack Barry.

To officially open the Yarning Circle, each trailblazer was honoured with a plaque and their contribution to Queensland football highlighted.

The indigenous trailblazers include:

Frank Ivory – Frank was selected to represent the QFA in 1889 and 1890 and attained legendary status in the Rockhampton, Maryborough and Mt Morgan football communities.   

John Terrick – A legend of the Capricornia league, John has coached Gladstone, Boyne Island-Tannum Sands and the league representative team. He was also a champion player, having won multiple best and fairest awards.

Desmond Hayes – Desmond of the Mackay City Hawks has been awarded the MJ Miller Medal as the Mackay Leauge’s Best and Fairest player three times in 2010, 2015 and 2016.

Jarrod Harbrow – Jarrod played his junior football for South Cairns before going on to play more than 200 AFL games for the Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast SUNS.

Che Cockatoo-Collins – Che played his junior football for Cairns City Cobras before going on to play 150 AFL games for Essendon and Port Adelaide.

Phil Mason – Phil is one of three first nations umpires to have umpired at VFL and/or AFL level.

Billy McBride – Dominated the Brisbane based state league in the 1970s and early 1980s playing for Windsor Zillmere.

Ricco Butler – Ricco played 300 games for the Garbutt Magpies in the Townsville AFL competition and was a three-time Williams Medallist as the best and fairest in the league.

Courtenay Dempsey – Courtenay played his junior football in Cairns before going on to play 133 AFL games for Essendon.

Jameson Billy – Jameson played his football for Lake Nash in the Mt Isa competition and is a dual winner of the Paul White Medal for best on ground in a Grand final as well as the Leo White Medal for leading goalkicker.

Ally Anderson – Ally is a foundation player of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition, having played for the Brisbane Lions women’s team since the competition’s inception in 2017. She won a premiership in 2021 and was named the Season 7 AFLW Best and Fairest in 2022.


About Yowogurra from Aunty Deb Sandy:

Yowogurra is one of the totems of the Yerongpan People of the Yuggera language group. The totem circle is a place of gathering to share knowledge and stories under the presents of the totem spirit “Yowogurra” together reflecting on past stories and connections and together gathering a understanding of the present circumstances, we can then visualise a future together by walking together in the spirit of connected circle “Borul”.


Watch the AFL Queensland Yarning Circle Opening here


Indigenous Yarning Circle

Our Supporters