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We all bleed red blood

‘We all bleed red blood.’ That was the piece of wisdom that Robbie Ahmat’s grandfather passed on to him as a child. And that’s the message he wants to share with young Australian’s today.

As part of our Reconciliation Week cultural awareness evening Bridging the Gap, Robbie spoke to our senior footballers and their families, sharing his story, history and culture with them.

Robbie is a former AFL player and currently works for the North Melbourne Football Club. He is also an Indigenous Australian, the only race that ‘has to justify’ their heritage by indicating what percentage of ‘black’ they are.

Robbie has used his AFL career as a platform to educate young people about the impact of racism and discrimination. But he believes he is making more of an impact now, than when he was playing footy and encouraged students not to waste the opportunity they have been given.   

One of the highlights of the evening was the unveiling and presentation of the Reconciliation jumper by two of our athletes, Will and Ash. The front of the jumper features the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School logo while the back features a traditional dot painting and the rainbow serpent.

The logo, created by Joe Ross, a Bunuba man, captures the essence of the partnership between the Wesley and Fitzroy Valley Communities. The concentric circles represent the ‘meeting place’ where the joining of our communities and the continuation of the partnership are celebrated. The purple circle at the centre symbolises Wesley’s involvement as the hub of the partnership while the parallel lines which adjoin the circles symbolise the paths which lead to the meeting place.

The rainbow serpent was painted by Kaylene Marr, a Bunuba woman, senior mentor and traditional owner of Yiramalay. Explaining the inspiration for her artwork, she said ‘the rainbow serpent represents our land and our animals. We call him 'Ungud’, the rainbow serpent. In Bunuba culture, we believe Ungud lives in our waterholes. He cares for us by looking after our land and giving us bush tucker. It is important to welcome new people to Bunuba Country so Ungud can take care of them.’

All College Firsts' teams began their matches during Reconciliation Week with an Acknowledgement of Country. A Smoking Ceremony was also conducted before the Wesley versus St Kevin’s Firsts match on the front turf at St Kilda Road Campus, with Wesley players proudly wearing their Indigenous jumpers.

‘It was an honour and privilege to wear this jumper, with such a progressive and positive meaning behind the design,’ said Year 12 player Ash.

‘When wearing this jumper, we are representing so much more than just the Wesley community. During the Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony and throughout the match, I reflected on our history and what I can do better to contribute to achieving reconciliation in the future,’ she said.