Melbourne City FC’s ongoing engagement with diverse communities in Victoria will continued last week as the Club celebrated its annual Indigenous Recognition Match against Newcastle Jets on Saturday at AAMI Park.
As part of the Club’s broader Cultural Diversity Week celebrations, City conducted various activities organised by the Club’s charity, City in the Community (CITC), to help promote community harmony, highlight the importance of diverse cultural groups and educate players and staff on Indigenous traditions.
In addition to the Indigenous Recognition Match at AAMI Park, Melbourne City also held a free Cultural Diversity Week festival at City Square on Gosch’s Paddock.
The festival featured Croatian dancers from Hrvastska Zora, musicians from the Islamic Council of Victoria, representatives from the Oromo Youth Association, the Bhutanese community and a special performance from Ron Murray.
Throughout the week, the Club conducted its ongoing Yarra Pathways program and I Speak Football programs at Atherton Gardens in Fitzroy, which are designed to address social isolation and inclusion.
On Thursday, City’s first-team squad undertook the Birrarung Wilam Walk , which highlights the significance of one of Melbourne’s most iconic areas, Birrarung Marr and its surrounds, to the Aboriginal Peoples of the Kulin Nation.
Delivered by an Aboriginal guide, the 45-minute walk provided Melbourne City’s first-team with an educational tour, which incorporated the Koorie Heritage Trust, key sites linked to Aboriginal history and traditional Indigenous art installations of cultural significance along the Yarra River.
On Friday, former Melbourne City winger and Indigenous footballer James Brown will return to the Club as a community ambassador to help CITC deliver a football clinic for 20 students from Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) at Yarra Park.
Brown, 27, who made 82 A-League appearances and currently plays for Victorian side Nunawading, also hosted 30 students from MITS, a residential transition school for Indigenous students from remote and regional communities, at Saturday’s match at AAMI Park.
The Indigenous Recognition Match is a tradition the club has honoured since its inception, with AAMI Park built on the land of the Wurundjeri tribe.
The Club’s Westfield W-League player Lydia Williams, also an Indigenous footballer, spoke to melbournecityfc.com.au about the importance of the Club’s Indigenous Recognition match.
“I think it’s amazing what the Club is doing to celebrate Indigenous Australians. Living in such a diverse country, it’s important that Indigenous people have a voice and l think it’s amazing that Melbourne City can not only recognise and inspire but help Indigenous athletes perform in the sport that they love.”
Each season, the Club hosts a number of activities to celebrate Indigenous culture in Australia, including;
- Ron Murray, a highly-respected Victorian Indigenous educator, storyteller and musician, will conduct a didgeridoo performance, prior to kick off;
- Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin, an indigenous Australian and Senior Wurundjeri elder of the Kulan alliance, will deliver her traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ greeting to the teams and fans at AAMI Park.
- Four female students from MITS will display the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags as Newcastle and City walk out of the tunnel at AAMI Park.