FOR THE first time in its history, Hawthorn will wear an Indigenous guernsey during the AFL’s Indigenous Round this season.
The guernsey, designed by Yorta Yorta/Wiradjuri painter Jirra Lulla Harvey, tells the story of the ancient lands that are now the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn and incorporates visual elements that represent the places in which each of the Club’s Indigenous players originate.
To be worn against GWS GIANTS at the MCG in Round 11, the guernsey also features the names of each Indigenous player that has represented Hawthorn, dating back to the Club’s first Indigenous player, Cyril Collard, who made his debut in 1957.
Lulla, who designed the guernsey in consultation with Hawthorn’s Indigenous players and apparel partner adidas said she wanted the guernsey to allow football fans the opportunity to learn more about and celebrate the coming together of cultures.
She says the most important aspect in achieving that aim on the guernsey is across the back neck where it reads, ‘We play with pride on Wurundjeri land.’
“This is the most exciting part for me because the most important part of Indigneous Round in the AFL and the teams having Indigenous guernseys designed is that fans get to learn a little bit about the diverse cultures we have here in Australia,” Lulla told hawthornfc.com.au
“We have over 500 aboriginal nations in Australia and each have their own culture and language.
“For Hawthorn fans to know that their team is playing on land owned by the Wurundjeri people, that’s a big deal I think.”
The back of Hawthorn's Indigenous guernsey.
Lulla met with the Indigenous Hawthorn players before beginning the painting of her guernsey design, who put forward their ideas on what should be represented.
But she too, as a Yorta Yorta/Wiradjuri woman needed to consult others and turned to Aunty Joy on the correct ways to represent the land of the Wurundjeri people because of the strict rules of aboriginal culture around who can speak for each country.
Joy, who has been involved in the AFL’s Indigenous Round since its inception and delivers the traditional welcome to country greeting before each match played in Melbourne during the round said it’s the ideas and thoughts that have gone into the artwork of the guernsey that is truly special.
“It’s about the thought of the artwork because if there’s no thought, there’s no meaning, there’s no significance,” she told hawthornfc.com.au
“I really want to compliment the players on their thoughts and ideas and the artist, Jirra as well for her work.”
“It’s quite exciting but it’s also overwhelming to think that this place was once just beautiful lush land with lots of bird and animal activity and of course, a camping place for my people.
“It accentuates what it was but it’s also complimenting the incoming community that came into the Hawthorn area.”
Cyril Rioli, Jirra Lulla, Bradley Hill, Aunty Joy and Shaun Burgoyne with the guernsey.
Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli was one of the players to put forward his ideas for the design of the guernsey and said it’s something, for all he has already achieved, in which he will always be proud.
“It means a lot to me for the Club to design a jumper – there have been a lot of indigenous players roll through the Club,” he told hawthornfc.com.au
“It’s something I’m very proud of and happy to be part of.
“I like the jumper and the way it’s designed – it has the Hawthorn story of the way it was back in the day, it’s done up very nicely.”
Shaun Burgoyne, one of the AFL’s Indigenous ambassadors said he can’t wait to see his teammates wear the guernsey in Round 11.
“It means a lot to me and the other indigenous players,” he told hawthornfc.com.au
“It’ll be a special moment because all the boys had a say in the design, what we wanted to see in the guernsey and how we wanted it to take shape.
“The round in itself pays respect to indigenous players and the contribution they’ve made to the game in the past and present.
“To see my teammates put the guernsey on will be something special.”
Youngster Bradley Hill, who joined Hawthorn via the 2012 draft and who is developing into one of the game’s best young players said he just can’t wait to pull it on.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever had an indigenous guernsey so it’s going to be a great day,” he told hawthornfc.com.au
“I’m sure the boys at the end of the day – ‘Shauny’ (Burgoyne), myself and the other indigenous boys playing will like to get a few photos in it.
“It’s going to be an awesome feeling playing in it.”
Hawthorn’s 2014 Indigenous guernsey is available to purchase at HawksNest online or in-store today.
Cyril Rioli in the guernsey.
What the design elements represent
'We play with pride on Wurundjeri Land'
The Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation are the traditional custodians of the area now known as Hawthorn. The Wurundjeri people speak the Woi Wurrung language.
The river down the front of the guernsey
In the Woi Wurrung language the Yarra River is called the Birrarung, meaning River of Mist. For time immemorial the Birrarung has been an abundant life-source for Wurundjeri people. In this artwork the Birrarung carries the names of all the Indigenous players who have worn the Hawthorn Guernsey and played with pride on the land of the Wurundjeri people.
The Birrarung was once bordered by towering gum tress and thick wattle shrub. The area now known as Hawthorn, which was once a lush landscape with a jungle like canopy, is situated in the City of Boroondara. In the Woi Wurrung language Boroondara means Shady Place. The cross-hatching patterns represent the dappled light that would make its way through this thick bush canopy.
Red Paths and Meeting Grounds
The red paths and circle designs represent the many meeting places along the Birrarung, places that continue to hold great cultural and spiritual significance to the traditional custodians of the Hawthorn area.
Jordan Lewis models the guernsey.