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Culture takes the field at Churchie's rugby Indigenous round


Churchie’s 2023 Indigenous rugby jersey and Indigenous round celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures

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In a display of unity and celebration of heritage, Churchie Senior School Indigenous students Kye Boland and Emil Willie-Jawai joined with Prefect Toby Wilson to create a memorable Indigenous round to conclude the 2023 rugby season, complete with a captivating Indigenous jersey. Artwork by Kye and Emil featured on the jersey created an exceptional piece of clothing, symbolising a bridge between cultures, a profound homage to heritage and a resounding commitment to inclusivity.

The jersey’s design draws inspiration from traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art processes, illustrating the power of art to convey knowledge and stories across generations.

The artists, Kye and Emil, noted, “This jersey is more than just a uniform; it is a narrative woven from threads of connection to the land, history, and community.”

At first glance, the jersey’s tones reflect the colours of the Churchie community, harmoniously intertwining Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Churchie cultures.

“Delicate and intricate patterns pay homage to traditional Indigenous art forms, with each line and curve carrying narratives that reach back through time,” Kye and Emil said.

The jersey’s ingenious design divides it into two halves, each telling a unique story. The central motif is the symbolic Dhari, a headdress worn by Torres Strait Islander men during dancing. Within the Dhari, a five-pointed star symbolises the five major island groups and their navigational significance. The design on the right sleeve depicts the Torres Strait, and the triangles at its centre represent one of the totems from the top-western islands, signifying Emil’s family heritage.

Emil, the headmaster and the captain of rugby at Churchie

Emil presenting the jersey to the headmaster, Dr Alan Campbell, and the captain of rugby at Churchie in September 2023

On the opposite side, Kye’s Aboriginal culture takes centre stage, emphasising its profound connection to the land and waterways. This design portrays two people meeting in a new landscape, sharing knowledge and raising awareness in a fresh community. It is adorned with traditional Aboriginal art symbols, including footsteps and corroboree symbols. The central piece of this design is the symbolic sun, intricately connected to the Dhari, visible within the centre of the Aboriginal flag.

Churchie Rugby Indigenous Round, First XV vs Terrace at Churchie

Churchie students at the Rugby Indigenous round at Churchie in September 2023

The 2023 Indigenous round was held on Saturday 9 September, with Churchie taking on Gregory Terrace at home in the final round of the GPS Rugby season. The Churchie First XV proudly donned the 2023 Indigenous jersey, and Churchie’s Indigenous students led a ceremony prior to the game.

The match itself was also memorable, with a thrilling win to secure a second-place season finish for Churchie’s First XV in the season (tying with Toowoomba Grammar School). The jersey and the Indigenous round not only showcased the players’ unique identities, also serving as a powerful testament to the spirit of inclusivity, heritage and unity at Churchie.

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