Clarence Valley Independent

Buccaneers to launch Indigenous Jersey

President of the Yamba Rugby Club Andrew Bennett proudly displays the new Indigenous jersey, which will be launched at a special ceremony on Saturday, at Yamba Oval. Image Geoff Helisma

Lynne Mowbray |

The Yamba Buccanneers Rugby Club will be launching their new Indigenous jersey as part of NAIDOC week, at a special ceremony prior to their game at Yamba Oval, on Saturday July 13 from 1pm.

The implementation of an Indigenous jersey was something which had been discussed by the club for a number of years.

Earlier in the year the club commissioned Yaegl artist Frances Belle Parker to create and design an artwork for the jersey for their club.

An unveiling of the framed artwork by Frances entitled ‘The Stone Canoe’ (which was based on a local dreamtime story), took place in Maclean in May and will be auctioned off in the near future to raise money to support junior rugby.

President of the Yamba Rugby Club Andrew Bennett said that when training was cancelled last week due to the inclement weather, the players got together (to view the jersey).

“A number of our Indigenous (club) members were at the meeting and it was really good to see them explaining the story (behind the artwork) of the jersey to the other players; as they already know the story of the jersey,” Mr Bennett said.

“They all seem really impressed and really happy and they are looking forward to wearing it on Saturday.

“The committee of the club are stoked and I have also been in discussion and consultation with the Yaegl Elders and they seem really happy and pleased with it too.

“So, consequently we have a big day coming up this Saturday (July 13).

“Rugby Australia have organised with Glen Ella to fly up and be an ambassador for the day. The three Ella brothers were rugby royalty; proud Indigenous men from La Perouse in Sydney.

“Glen actually played a couple of games for Yamba in 1984, at the Grafton knockout, of which I have a photo of Glen with the rest of the team.

“Glen seems really keen to be coming here.

“We’re excited that the Yaegl Elders have endorsed what we’re doing and are going to play a significant part on the day.

“We’re organising for ex-players of Aboriginal identity from Yamba, the Elders, to help present the jerseys. I’ve also asked our current indigenous players if there is someone special from their family or from their friends that they would like to present their jersey to them on the day.

“I have invited certain special guests and we will be doing an afternoon with those people at the clubhouse after the game.

“Hopefully the day is fine and clear and we have a wonderful day. As the ceremony starts at 1pm, we’d like everyone to be there before then, so that we show due respect to what the ceremony means.

“I’d like to thank the Elders who have played a significant part in this, in approving what we were proposing to do and since then being an integral part of organising the day and making sure the club respects our local Indigenous Yaegl culture, in an appropriate way.

“The Yaegl Elders are the ones who have organised all the different elements of the ceremony.

“I’d just like the whole community to come along and celebrate the day and realise that we are one community and this is one way that the rugby club is trying to show that,” he said.

Glen Ella (front row – 3rd from right) and his brother Gary Ella (front row – white shirt), at one of the games that Glen played for Yamba in 1984. Image: Contributed

Program of ceremony for Indigenous jersey

Launch of the Yamba Rugby Club’s Indigenous Jersey, with artwork designed by Frances Belle Parker, entitled ‘The Stone Canoe’ – based on the local dreamtime story.

The ceremony will take place at 1pm at the Yamba Oval on Saturday July 13.

PROGRAM

  • Welcome to Country – by Yaegl Elder
  • Smoking Ceremony
  • Didgeridoo and Clapping sticks players
  • Yaegl Traditional dances
  • Maclean High School student Kaia Mercy – history of NAIDOC
  • Speeches by Traditional Owners and Yaegl Elders
  • Presentation of Indigenous jerseys by past Aboriginal players, Elders and family members of Aboriginal players.

With special guest on the day:  Glen Ella – Ambassador for Rugby Australia

The ceremony will be followed by:

  • Women’s Sevens game
  • Men’s President’s Cup game

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