NBL1 associations celebrate Indigenous Round

HONOURING the traditional owners of the land on which we play, Basketball Victoria and NBL1 held the inaugural NBL1 Indigenous Round over the weekend.  

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The week is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.

NBL1 associations and our refereeing community celebrated the 2019 NAIDOC Week with associations creating custom jerseys and warm-up tops as well as welcoming special guests from the Indigenous community to these games.

There was a tremendous sense of pride and awe across the league as Elders and community members welcomed our teams to their lands, played and danced to their traditional songs

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💥GAME DAY💥 We get to wear these jerseys again tonight for game 2 of Indigenous round 🆚 Knox Raiders! . ⛹️‍♀️Women tip-off at 6pm ⛹️‍♂️Men tip-off at 8pm . 🎥 Don't forget you can stream the games live and free via the NBL YouTube channel or app or the NBL1 website. Live stats and scores will also be available via the NBL app and the NBL1 website #JoinTheTribe 🏀 . 📸 @bendigoweekly & @craig.dilks_photography . #basketball #sport #bendigo #braves #bendigobasketball #Victoria #basketballvictoria #bendigobraves #mensbasketball #womensbasketball #bendigosport #australianbasketball #NBL1 #NBL #WNBL #ChampionsIGA #BendigoBank @nbl1 @championsiga @nbl @basketball_vic

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Bendigo’s NBL1 Indigenous Round jersey was designed by Racquel Kerr, whose design was inspired by feathers of the Bunjil – that helped to create the world.

“The design is based on Bunjil’s feathers (The creator spirit and Wedge-Tailed Eagle) being representative of the 5 Kulin Nations he created; The Wadawurrung, Woiwurrung, Taungurung, Boon Wurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung,” Kerr told the Braves.

Knox got into the spirit of NAIDOC Week with a specially commissioned set of Indigenous jerseys for their Saturday night clash against Bendigo.

The Raiders also talked to former Victoria Metropolitan representative and Knox player Georgia Baldwin about her experiences representing the Australian Indigenous All-Stars.


Ballarat’s Indigenous Round jersey was created by Lleyton Priest, as the uniforms represent the teams competing in the round.

“The big dots are the teams that they [Miners and Rush] play against and the white lines represent the line to victory while the small grey dots supports the Indigenous players on the courts,” Priest said to the Ballarat Courier.

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BEHIND THE DESIGN of our warm up tops this weekend designed by Simone Thomson, Wurundjeri and Yorta-Yorta Artist FRONT: Bunjil the wedgetail eagle is the Creator Spirit and ancestral being of the Kulin Nation of central Victoria, one of two ancestor moieties, the other being Waa the Crow – The Keeper of Water and Wind. Bunjil has two wives and a son, Binbeal the rainbow. His brother is Palian the bat. Bunjil created the mountains and valleys, the rivers and all the creatures. When he was done, he rested and looked upon his work. He asked Waa the Crow to open his bag to create wind so he may fly high up into the sky. Waa opened his bag, but the wind wasn’t enough, so Bunjil asked to open it wider. Waa did as he said and created a whirlwind. Bunjil and his sons flew high up into the dreaming sky where he and his sons became stars. They are still there and watch over us today. Bunjil carries the basketball to the people watching over them as they come together for ceremony – the game. The people are indicated in the centre of the ball as U shapes representing the players. The Melbourne Tigers are represented through the claw marks. BACK: The possum skin rug is a sacred part of Victorian Aboriginal culture. Possum skins are sewn together and used for warmth in the cooler seasons. Possum fur is used as a ceremony cloak and can be decorated with ochre or burned. Story is told through the markings on each patch. The tails of the possums hang from the upper and lower pelts. Left to right – The netting is used for hunting and collecting food source, for catching fish. In this case – the basketball. The downwards arrow symbols represent the journey to ceremony – the game. The waves represent the water around Albert Park Lake, the Melbourne Bay area, Melbourne Tigers home. The spears and shield represent the battle of the game. The gathering circle on the lower left represents the clans coming together for ceremony. The mountains around Victoria are marked beside that. And lastly, Waa The Crow, The Keeper of Water and Wind is represented by the three crow feathers. Buy your Indigenous Tops now online. Tops will also be available for purchase this Sunday

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Melbourne Tigers had their warm-up tops designed by Simone Thomson, Wurundjeri and Yorta-Yorta artist.

She captured the spirit of Bunjil on the front of the top and featured the possum skin rug, a sacred part of Victorian Aboriginal culture, on the back.


There were plenty of other associations getting into the spirit of the week as Kilsyth, Geelong and Diamond Valley – to name a few – featured specially designed uniforms and hosted their local Indigenous communities to celebrate NAIDOC Week.

These connections between our associations and their local Indigenous communities and organisations will be enhanced even further over future years.

Basketball Victoria supported this initiative by providing $1500 Seed Grants to associations and clubs to invest into local communities to build and sustain targeted participation opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the local community.


All NBL1 referees across the weekend wore a specially designed jersey, incorporating Basketball Victoria’s Indigenous artwork created by Victorian-based artist Gary Saunders.

Basketball Victoria recently launched our Welcoming Indigenous Australians Into Your Association document – giving clubs and associations better resources to help communities feel included within Victorian basketball.

There are 15 players, including eight men and seven women, registered as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders in NBL1:

Taran Armstrong – Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence

Chris Patton – Kilsyth Cobras

William Hickey – Melbourne Tigers

Tamuri Wigness – Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence

Jaden Weldon – Southern Sabres

Deba George – Albury-Wodonga Bandits

Tre Armstrong – North West Thunder

Joel Beveridge – North West Thunder

Katie Bugden – Melbourne Tigers

Brianna Gregory – Diamond Valley Eagles

Eliza van de Kamp – Hobart Huskies

Shelby Britten – Eltham Wildcats

Paige French – Launceston Tornadoes

Sian Gillam – Eltham Wildcats

Alex Wilson – Diamond Valley Eagles


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