A refurbishment of the St George District Netball Association’s clubhouse in Sydney’s South saw the need to fill a blank wall.
From polishing the floors, to rearranging the trophies, the clubhouse was left with a bare wall – a blank canvas if you like – an opportunity to create something inspiring for all players.
The idea came to the executive team when they saw netballs designed with Aboriginal artwork from each State in line with the launch of Netball Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in November 2015. The original idea was to have these images printed and displayed on the walls of the clubhouse.
Association secretary, Tamlyn Holtz said “We wanted to have something that other people would look at us and think wow, you’re doing something different.”
Tamlyn did some research, and with an Aboriginal brother-in-law was put in contact with his colleague, Peter Jensen.
Jensen was given full creative control of the design which drew on the Water Tribes that were located in the area many years ago.
“The fish was a vital food source and was pivotal to survival of the local tribes,” Jensen said.
“The painting pays tribute to the fish, rivers and importance and contribution they have to our songlines and Aboriginal culture.”
Jensen was able to complete the piece in just under four weeks, allowing for the presentation on St George’s Grand Final day.
A morning tea was held with the Association’s Aboriginal and Life Members and Local Members of Parliament were invited to attend.
The President of the Association, Elizabeth O’Brien, acknowledged the Traditional Land Owners with Jensen presenting his mural and thanking the Association for paying tribute to the first Custodians of Australia.
“We can’t change what’s happened in the past, but we can be better moving forward.”
Tamlyn urges other Associations to take a stand and take their netball club or Association further: “For netball to remain competitive with other sports and to move forward… I’d like to see netball as a sport move forward with the times.”
Article courtsey of Netball Australia. Image by Doug Ford