Boandik culture on national stage

The history of the Boandik people will be featured prominently on an AFL playing guernsey in this weekend’s Indigenous round. Former Western Bulldogs footballer Lindsay Gilbee has reflected on his family history and the Boandik people of Mount Gambier in the design of the club’s 2021 AFL Indigenous guernsey.

The guernsey will be worn by the players for Sir Doug Nicholls Round, tomorrow against Melbourne FC at Marvel Stadium. According to the Western Bulldogs, Mr Gilbee worked closely with renowned Aboriginal artist Nathan Patterson to assist in translating aspects of his story to produce the artwork of the guernsey, which features the Blue Lake (Waawar), among other motifs of the Limestone Coast.

It comes after Mr Gilbee and his family members found their heritage anchored in Boandik country last year, after the passing of his grandmother. The Western Bulldogs said that, with pride and deep respect, Mr Gilbee yearns to learn more about his family, people, and country.

“It’s something I’m extremely proud of, and I’m happy to share my story,” Mr Gilbee said. “I have got a lot to learn. I do not know it all. “I’m really looking forward to the journey of finding out more about our history and our people. “I feel like I have got a sense of belonging now, which I have tried to tell through the artwork we have got on the jumper the boys get to run out with and wear with pride, and help represent the people, which it does.”

Explaining the design of the guernsey, the Western Bulldogs said on the front of the guernsey, the middle of the design features the Blue Lake (Waawar), with people gathering along its banks. “Below that are footsteps of the traditional owners, as they move across waterholes gathering fresh water from the beautiful Limestone Coast,” the club said.

“The three gum leaves represent connection to country, while the boomerangs and spears symbolize traditional hunting practices with kangaroo, emu and goanna tracks. “The back of the guernsey depicts three meeting places, which represent Lindsay’s family, community and the club. “The possum footprints represent Lindsay’s totem, with gum leaves.”

Furthermore, Mount Gambier City Council is eyeing the purchase of one of the guernseys after Councillor Steven Perryman put forward an urgent motion without notice on the matter, which gained what appeared to be unanimous support around the chamber. The Bulldogs’ 2021 Indigenous guernsey is now available for pre-sale at the Bulldogs Shop, along with other merchandise featuring the design, including a scarf, t-shirt, hoodie and lanyard.

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