Melbourne Grammar School has introduced a new Indigenous football jumper. In addition to being worn during Reconciliation Week matches, this jumper is being used as a ‘clash strip’ (jumpers worn when competing teams have similar jumpers) and a training jumper.
Rolled out to Year 7 and Year 9 this year, ultimately, the jumper will be normalised into the Melbourne Grammar suite for all players. Although the School introduced an Indigenous jumper three years ago at the request of the student-led Reconciliation Committee, it was generic and was designated for use by only the First XVIII.
Designed by our Indigenous students, the new jumper has more relevance for Melbourne Grammar School students. The various visual elements on the jumper are symbolic of the areas our Indigenous students hail from and of their journey to the School.
The symbols also represent the ‘meeting place’ for Indigenous and non-Indigenous boys – Melbourne Grammar School. Bunjil (the eagle) is included, as he is the spiritual creator of the School’s land and of the Kulin nation.
“We want to make this jumper part of who we are, rather than something we wear just once a year,” according to Mr Dan Church, Head of Football. “The boys don’t have to wear it for training but it is great to see how many of them choose to do so.”
For Year 7 student, Jack Whitbourn, wearing the jumper is a mark of respect for Indigenous people. “My friends and I like to wear the Indigenous jumper whenever we can,” he says. “I feel very proud to wear it and to have this connection to the Indigenous community. I am really honoured to represent the School in this way.”