NAIDOC Week celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and provides an opportunity to acknowledge history, culture and achievements. This is the first time NAIDOC week has fallen within the cricket season, with this year’s theme focusing on Always Was, Always Will Be, recognising that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.

SNAPSHOT

  • More than 300 WA cricket teams taking part in Reconciliation Round
  • Deadly Cricket and Leadership Programs supported by the WA Cricket Foundation
  • National Indigenous Cricket Championship matches
  • Indoor cricket carnival in Bunbury
  • Woolworths Cricket Blast event in Derby
  • Balladong Cricket Academy
  • WBBL First Nations Festival of Cricket
  • Sheffield Shield NAIDOC Round
  • WACA staff cultural session

More than 300 teams from across junior and senior community cricket, Premier Cricket and Country Cricket will be joining the consistent act of a Barefoot Circle before their matches this weekend as part of Reconciliation Round.

The Barefoot Circle ceremony sees teams, players and officials take a moment to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, connect to each other as opponents and pay respect to the country. It also provides an opportunity to reflect that we are all on common ground, we are all human beings and we need to stand strong with each other, for each other.

Through the support of the WA Cricket Foundation, the WACA has been able to engage in schools and communities in regional WA in ways that are safe, accessible and fun through the delivery of its Leadership and Deadly Cricket Programs.

Both programs use cricket as a vehicle to provide personal development opportunities and education in areas such as mental health and nutrition. The Deadly Cricket program has been implemented in some key regional locations including Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Derby, Kalgoorlie, Murchison region, and Northern Goldfields with more than 300 Aboriginal kids currently involved, a third of which are female.

The WACA has seen the benefits of these programs during a visit to Derby this week with both the Clontarf Academy and Girls Academy now involved. The town also has more than 100 kids participating in the Woolworths Cricket Blast program, which means youth from the age of five through to 18 are connecting and engaging with our great game.

Aboriginal cricket in Northam continues to strengthen with this year marking the 14th since the inception of the Balladong Cricket Academy. The program supports more than 50 local kids by providing transport and food to enable them to play club cricket. The Deadly Program has recently been introduced to the town to continue to grow participation.

Murdoch University played host to National Indigenous Cricket Championship matches between the WA Aboriginal, WA Deaf and Country Colts Men’s teams this week. All players and umpires took part in a Barefoot Circle ceremony before their respective matches.

The Perth Scorchers will proudly wear a uniquely designed Indigenous playing kit in their Women’s Big Bash League matches this weekend as part of the tournament’s First Nations Festival of Cricket. At the core of the indigenous strip, designed by WA artist Kevin Bynder, is a story of inspiring the confidence to dream big.

The team will continue to take part in a pre-match Barefoot Circle ceremony and Walkabout Wickets artwork will be featured on the playing shirts, match balls and the bat flip.

In addition to the First Nations Festival of Cricket, the final round of the Marsh Sheffield Shield was named NAIDOC Round with teams also participating in a Barefoot Circle.

Staff at the WACA participated in a cultural awareness NAIDOC morning tea event hosted by Noongar Elder Shaun Nannup and took part in traditional Aboriginal games on the WACA Ground outfield facilitated by the Stephen Michael Foundation.

WACA Inclusion and Diversity Specialist Brad Denham said;

“It’s incredible to see the WA cricket community come together to celebrate NAIDOC Week and recognise the contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made to our great game.

“There are many programs being delivered across WA to engage more young Aboriginal people in cricket and with the support of the WA Aboriginal Cricket Advisory Committee, we aim to have a positive social impact on our community and are committed to reconciliation and ongoing education.”