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2019 Indigenous Guernsey

The Brisbane Lions 2019 Indigenous guernsey pays homage to the Club’s four indigenous players by displaying their individual totem or birth sign. 

The guernsey, to be worn in Sir Doug Nicholls Round in Fremantle and again in Round 11 at The Gabba, was designed by Derek Oram, a proud Birri Gubba-Barada Ghungullu-Darumbul man. 

Oram’s design was painted by hand on two canvases, for the front and back of the guernsey.

The two paintings reflect country, specifically south-east Queensland and displays a traditional map focusing on ancient and culturally significant parts of the Brisbane CBD.

The small white dots represent the old travelling pathways of Indigenous ancestors between meeting places. These tracks are now the main roads used to link the suburbs of Brisbane.

The yellow circles spread across the mountains represent camp fires (darlo). The darlo’s are either surrounded by white or black dots. The white dots surrounding the darlo are places where men would typically reside, in the high country overlooking and protecting their families below. The black dots represent the women in the lower parts of country, close to billabongs and creeks, which were used for sacred women’s business, including birthing holes. 

The Lions colours have been incorporated into the sunset that blends the mountains into the night sky.

Embedded within the stars is each players’ totem including Ally Anderson’s emu; Cedric Cox’s lizard and Allen’s Christensen’s flying fox.

Charlie Cameron’s goanna ties in with the Yuggara people’s totem, the people of Brisbane, and is displayed near the bottom of the guersney. The goanna or Bungkurr is Cameron’s birth sign and later became his traditional name. His totem is Thanba, a shovel nose shark which is the male totem from the Gunbah Clan of Mornington Island.

Oram said he was proud to feature the players’ totems and birth sign in his design as they are intrinsic to Indigenous people’s lives.

“To give a totem, it belongs to a family… you don’t just get them, it gets passed down through your family, through your elders from generation to generation,” Oram said.

Each player spoke of the significance of this year’s guernsey:

Allen Christensen – Tiwi (Tiwi Islands) – Flying Fox totem

“I think we’ve taken another step as a Club and to represent the Brisbane area is pretty amazing,” he said. 

“One of the main things I wanted in the guernsey this year is individualism, so I came up with the idea of putting the totems on the design.

“I’m a Tiwi Island Man, with a pretty strong Indigenous culture, almost untouched on the island.

“Sir Doug Nicholls Round is a great celebration of what Indigenous people have done for AFL football in general.” 

Cedric Cox – Jaru (Western Australia) – Lizard totem

I’m pretty proud seeing the design,” he said.

“Mine is a lizard and it’s something I grew up with and was latched to me as a child.

“That’s how my totem belongs to me.”

Charlie Cameron – Lardil, Wannyi/Garawa and Gangalidda (Mount Isa/Mornington Island/Lower Gulf of Carpentaria) – Goanna birth sign

“I’ve enjoyed the designs and it acknowledges our totems and my birth sign,” he said.

“Also having Ally Anderson’s is totem here as well is pretty special.

“To have here on the AFL guernsey must make her feel proud and welcomed.” 

Ally Anderson – Gangulu (Central Queensland) – Emu totem

“It’s just so exciting and my family is really proud of me and proud to have it on the Brisbane Lions guernsey,” she said.

“Allen came and asked me if I wanted to be part of the Indigenous guernsey this year and I was really excited and grateful that they thought about the women’s team in doing this.

“I’m a Gangulu, my family is from just west of Rockhampton, our totem is the emu so my totem is represented on the guersney at the front.”

The 2019 Indigenous guernsey is available at the Lion Shop, in-store and online.

All player issued and match worn guernseys will be available for auction on Saturday 1 June at 7:20pm at lionsshop.com.au.
The auction ends on Tuesday 4 June.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs