Students from Chifley College, Mount Druitt Campus designed our 2018 Indigenous jersey, which will be worn when we take on the Parramatta Eels next Friday at ANZ Stadium.
The students decided the design would be about places of significance for Aboriginal people in and around the Canterbury- Bankstown area.
Mrs Stubbs, a teacher at the College, spoke to local community Elders and traditional custodians about the Aboriginal history within the area.
Following the research within the community, a storyline connecting significant places and symbols became real. The Aboriginal warrior man features on the jersey to symbolise strength, resistance, courage and represents Aboriginal players past, present and future. He has been given the name Tedbury after the Aboriginal warrior who fought against the invasion of the European settlers in 1808 when a number of large grants were made over land which traditionally provided Aboriginal people access to the resource rich area of the Georges River.
The stripe pattern on the jersey came from Aboriginal contemporary art that has been put up in the Burudjara room at the College. It also features the Aboriginal symbol for people walking together as Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal.
The walk is together towards reconciliation, which the Bulldogs are also trying to achieve.
The traditional symbol for a meeting place has also been included on the jersey to represent the significance of the Bulldogs home ground, Belmore Sports Ground, which is easily identifiable as the spiritual home of the players.
Belmore has always been a place to meet, feel safe and make connections to fellow Bulldogs supporters. Belmore also has the proud history of our club absorbed into its walls and echoes of memories of days gone by.
The Cooks River features on the jersey as Aboriginal connections to the river run deep, extending far beyond the time when the river flowed as Europeans first came to know it, and continuing long after its banks were dotted with farms. Today, many Aboriginals live in the area and have a strong sense of custodianship to the river and its heritage. Georges River has also been illustrated on the jersey to signify Europeans arriving in Australia over two hundred years ago, Aboriginal people had been the traditional owners of the land on both sides.
The Dharug people were the custodians of this side of the river and the Dharawal the southern side.
Symbols of campsites are also featured, as traces of fire spots and stone tools have been found as long as 20,000 years ago.
The middens is another feature, which are broken shells found along the Georges and Cooks River. They are evidence that not only Aboriginal people lived there but that their society was flourishing.
Gymea Lily also known as the Spear Lily is another feature, located on the back of the jersey. It is the totem that is recognised in the local Canterbury Bankstown area. The shoots and roots were eaten and the foliage, which can grow up to a couple of metres long, is a tough and durable fibre traditionally used for weaving. Canterbury- Bankstown council use the Gymea Lily as their logo.
The paw print is a symbol that was used last year to represent the Bulldogs. It featured four water spirits. These beings dance along the water to give us a vision of who we are. They look after the land and water. This reminds everybody, black or white, that it is our responsibility to look after the water, as it is one of our main sources of life.