In a shared spirit of celebration and awareness of Indigenous culture, public servants from across Canberra have again taken part in the annual NAIDOC Week Touch Football Carnival.
The competition is designed to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture by raising awareness through sport. It was the 15th time the event has been held.
This year’s touch footy action saw 420 public servants from 30 teams battle it out on field in what is the biggest and most celebrated APS-wide event supporting NAIDOC Week. Almost 100 games of touch football were contested at the Deakin playing fields throughout the day.
The Carnival opened with a Welcome to Country by Ngunnawal Elder, Ms Jude Barlow and songs and smoking ceremony by Mr William (Billy T) Tompkins, from the Ngambri nation. Ngunnawal dancers from Yukkumbruk Dreaming accompanied the ceremony.
Organising the huge event is a joint effort between the Department of Education and Training, the Australian Public Service Commission and Touch Football ACT. This year, Touch Football Australia joined the partnership to support further growth of the carnival.
Education and Training spokesperson Cris Castro said “sport is a significant part of modern Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Participating in events such as the NAIDOC Touch Carnival – whether as a player, supporter or volunteer – is a great way to network and develop relationships, including across the public service”.
“While games have been played in a spirit of fierce competition, there has also been a strong sense of community and support between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” Castro said.
“I congratulate the winning teams: Australian Sports Commission who were the 2017 carnival champion trophy, Attorney-General’s Department who took out the division two Cup final and the Department of Finance who took out the division three Plate final,” he said.
“As event supporters we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in today’s event.”
John Lloyd, the Australian Public Service Commissioner, would also like to “thank the volunteers from across the APS who have made today’s events possible and referees and officials from Touch Football Australia and Touch Football ACT who officiated.”
TFA GM, Business Development and Marketing, Julian Buckmaster said that this year’s event was “significant in terms of the 15-year milestone since its inception and the great spirit of reconciliation shown by all participants and convenors.
“This year we witnessed another great NAIDOC Day Touch Football event and celebration; it’s a great credit to all involved including for the first time a smoking and dance ceremony that was embraced by all in attendance.
“Significant too the expansion this year to 30 teams which reflects the strong ongoing interest and commitment to this great event and NAIDOC week celebrations across the Touch Football and wider community,” he added.
NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The NAIDOC Week Touch Football Carnival firmly embodies that spirit of community support for this important cultural celebration in July.
Additional photos of the day can be accessed from: https://goo.gl/photos/m4LED4dFatwyAWQb8