Reflections of family history for former Western Bulldogs player Lindsay Gilbee, and the Boandik people of Mt Gambier, feature on the design of Club’s 2021 AFL Indigenous guernsey.
The guernsey will be worn by the players for Sir Doug Nicholls Round, on Friday May 28 against Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.
Gilbee worked closely with renowned Aboriginal artist Nathan Patterson to assist in translating aspects of his story to produce the striking artwork.
On his grandmothers passing last year, Gilbee, with family members, were able to find their heritage anchored in Boandik country.
With pride and deep respect, he yearns to learn more about his family, people and country.
“It’s something I’m extremely proud of, and I’m happy to share my story,” Gilbee said.
“I’ve got a lot to learn. I don’t know it all. I’m really looking forward to the journey of finding out more about our history and our people.
“I feel like I’ve got a sense of belonging now, which I’ve tried to tell through the artwork we’ve got on the jumper, that the boys get to run out with and wear with pride, and help represent the people, which it does.”
Gilbee’s complex path of discovery will be ongoing, and will be one of immense pride, accompanied by grief and sadness, as he understands more about our nation’s past and how it affected his people.
“This country has a history of racist policies and practices that have continued to affect our people for generations. Understanding these stories more intimately and the truth that comes with them can be incredibly painful,” said Belinda Duarte, Bulldogs’ Director and CEO of Culture is Life.
“The implementation of mission and reserves, the Assimilation Policy and Stolen Generations have left deep wounds which we can only begin healing by sharing.
“In speaking to the truth of them it helps us heal. It connects us. And in Lindsay’s vulnerability and grief he too inspires us to honour the people we love and whom we are of.”
The Bulldogs’ 2021 Indigenous guernsey is available for pre-sale at the Bulldogs Shop, along with a range of excusive merchandise which features the design, including a scarf, t-shirt, hoodie and lanyard.
THE GUERNSEY DESIGN
On the front of the guernsey, the middle of the design features the Blue Lake (Waawar), with people gathering along its banks. Below that are footsteps of the traditional owners, as they move across waterholes gathering fresh water from the beautiful limestone coast.
The three gum leaves represent connection to Country, while the boomerangs and spears symbolize traditional hunting practices with kangaroo, emu and goanna tracks.
The back of the guernsey depicts three meeting places, which represent Lindsay's family, community and the Club. The possum footprints represent Lindsay's totem, with gum leaves.