With a history of Indigenous players helping to forge the success of the club, Valleys Diehards are officially launching their first ever Indigenous jersey with a special celebration round this weekend.
Originally slated to be held to coincide with National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day – lockdowns forced the postponement of the Valleys Diehard Indigenous Round family day, which will now be held this Saturday, September 11.
Partnering with a number of key organisations including Kurbingui, Deadly Choices and the ARTIE program, this event promotes awareness, education and appreciation of our First Nations community.
Club treasurer Shahra McDonnell said it would be “a great day at Emerson Park”.
“Save the date and bring the family and friends,” McDonnell said.
“The theme is in celebration of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Week. The event is also the launch of our clubs first Indigenous Jersey and our newly formed First Nations Working Party.
“With just under 25 per cent of 2021 registered players and club volunteers identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, this initiative will ensure that our club has appropriate representation of our First Nations community and continuous improvement in our everyday operations.”
As well as the rugby league on the field which will provide plenty of entertainment, there will also be a number of special guests including Norm Clarke who is a Valleys Old boy and proud Indigenous past player, DJ Big Mike who will be playing in the clubhouse from 5pm, comedian Sean Choolburra who will be the MC for the day and Tribal Experiences who will performing the Welcome to Country, traditional dance and a smoking ceremony.
The jersey design represents the country here in Brisbane that represented the locations of Fortitude Valley Rugby League Football Club’s home grounds.
The jersey was designed by Elaine Chambers-Hegarty, who is the mother of BHP Premiership grand finalist Patrice Chambers.
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The artwork shows three main meeting places and a connection to each.
The centre is respect to all – with 13 symbols in a meeting circle representing the 13 players on field.
Country is represented by waterways at each side that run close by the fields.
Wavy lines that represents country and connecting lines to show the close connections from years gone by to the closeness today.
The blue tones of the Royal Blue that Valleys are well known for.
As well as unveiling the Indigenous jersey, there will also be a cultural celebration, with a traditional welcome and dancers as well as traditional food, artwork and jewellery stalls, in addition to education and information stalls.
“To support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and organisations we have also offered the opportunity for businesses to hold stalls, free of charge, to showcase their products and services and run activities on the day,” McDonnell said.
“It is shaping up to be a wonderful event with a lot of positive interest from our club and wider community.”
Anyone interested in holding a stall to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products, services or organisations, can complete the expression of interest form.