Lynne Mowbray |
The Buccaneers Yamba Rugby Club celebrated the launch of their new Indigenous Jersey on Saturday at a special ceremony prior to the games at Yamba Oval.
The club chose NAIDOC Week to launch the special jersey which depicts the artwork of local Yaegl woman Frances Belle Parker, titled The Stone Canoe, based on a local dreamtime story, depicting the Clarence River.
President of the Yamba Rugby Club Andrew Bennett said that unfortunately, there were a number of unforeseen changes to the program on the day, with some people unable to attend.
“We had a number of apologies on the day; Member for Page Kevin Hogan apologised as there was a family illness which only occurred overnight, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis apologised earlier as he had a prior commitment and our special guest Mr Glen Ella as an ambassador of Rugby Australia could not attend, as all flights out of Sydney (on the day) were cancelled due to high winds,” Mr Bennett said.
“Glen couldn’t be here (unfortunately) but he assured me on the phone that if we organise another function on another day, he will be here.
“Unfortunately the Maclean High School Indigenous youth with their music and dance were unable to attend, because it’s school holidays they were elsewhere. I know that they would have loved to have been here.
“So you work with what you have and it was a very special day. I believe that we are all one community and this is a step towards everyone recognising that.
“The jerseys have been absolutely magnificent. The players are stoked and there were a number of comments from the people in the crowd about how special they are.
“Prior to conducting The Smoking Ceremony, Uncle Ron Heron presented the explanation and meaning of the story of The Stone Canoe (which is depicted on the jersey) which was tremendous, so people understand the meaning of the jersey.
“I want to express so many thanks to Frances Belle Parker for a great design and artwork and for her agreeing to work with us.
“The Elders that were here on the day were just absolutely wonderful.
“I spoke with just about everyone in the crowd as I walked around and they thought that it was just a wonderful day. I think its community building and that’s what we wanted that’s why we did this; it was just an amazing day.
“I’d just like to thank everybody. The Elders have been wonderful to work with, the club has been highly supportive and it was just a picture perfect day, in so many ways.
“I’d just like to thank the media for the wonderful coverage that they’ve given us in the Clarence Valley.
“They’ve been highly supportive of what we’ve been doing and it’s made the day. So many people were aware of what today is about, through our local media outlets and that’s just helped make the day one of the best day’s ever for Yamba Rugby at this oval; if not the best.
“We’ve hosted grand finals but this was just a special day and I’d like to thank Grafton Rugby Club for agreeing to change the game times and ensuring that they had two teams here, because as I’ve said before, the river links us all and that’s what our jersey is all about – the river; and we are all linked. And this just helps to emphasise that to a greater degree.
The Buccaneers, who played in their new Indigenous jerseys, had outstanding wins against the Grafton Redmen on the day.
The Women’s Sevens game saw a final score of 37-5 and the men’s President Cup game saw the Buccaneers with a top score of 94-0.
Images: Lynne Mowbray