Fitzroy Stars and Rumbalara Football Netball Club

Victoria’s two Aboriginal sports clubs – Fitzroy Stars and Rumbalara Football Netball Clubs – play a vital role as social hubs, and in promoting cultural identity and wellbeing for Aboriginal communities in a broader social environment that is otherwise often hostile. Two publications from Onemda researchers and Aboriginal community members have highlighted the importance of both these teams as sites of health promotion (Doyle et al., 2013; Thorpe et al., 2014). Both teams played in the Grand Final of their respective leagues this year, with Rumbalara snatching victory in the dying moments of the Murray Football League grand final played at Moama.  Fitzroy Stars gave us plenty to cheer about in their big game as well, but ultimately fell to a strong North Heidelberg team in the Northern Football League’s Division 2 final at the Cramer Street oval.  Both games were played before a big audience, Aboriginal community members made up a large part of the crowd in both cases, and there was a strong, vibrant community atmosphere. 

The Rumba game in particular hosted many, many community members from a wide area of Victoria and NSW, with traditional dancing before the game setting the stage for a tough game played in good spirit. (There is a fascinating interview with President of RFNC, Mr Paul Briggs, available on line in which he discusses the game and the broader significance of Rumbalara FNC for the Aboriginal communities of northern Victoria; Grant, 2014). The importance of these clubs goes way beyond their participation in sporting competitions to being conduits to health services, employment, training and better relationships with mainstream society in an environment that strengthens cultural identity. Congratulations to both teams on their success this year, and to Joyce and Alister on publishing their first journal articles on a subject that is dear to all our hearts.

Doyle, J., Firebrace, B., Reilly, R., Crumpen, T. & Rowley, K. 2013, 'What makes us different? The role of Rumbalara Football & Netball Club in promoting Indigenous wellbeing', Australian Community Psychologist, 25:7–21.

Grant, T., 'What’s the Score, $port?'. Available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/3cr.podcast/audio/3CRCast-2014-10-05-43956.mp3 and http://www.3cr.org.au/whatsthescoresport/podcast/whats-score-sport-10102014

Thorpe, A., Anders, W. & Rowley, K. 2014, 'The community network: An Aboriginal community football club bringing people together', Australian Journal of Primary Health, 20(4):356–64.

Sharing Our Stories

A documentary by Onemda Vic Health Koori Health Unit and the University of Melbourne is helping turn the spotlight on a holistic approach to Indigenous health.

Format: Podcast
Producer: Emma O’Neill
Editor: Rob Cross
Camera: Clive Banfield
With special thanks to the Fitzroy Stars Football Club, 3KND Melbourne’s Indigenous Radio Station, Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service.
Synopsis: For the Fitzroy Stars Football Club, football is more than a game. The club nurtures a culture that promotes healthy lifestyles and offers pathways to employment. Its just one local Koori organisation in Melbourne working to benefit the social and emotional wellbeing of community members. Such work has been documented in the film Sharing Our Stories, Building on Our Strengths produced by Onemda Vic Health Koori Health Unit and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.
Website: http://visions.unimelb.edu.au/episode/61

Researching Indigenous Health in Australia and New Zealand

Format: Podcast
Producer: Up Close, The University of Melbourne 2008
Synopsis: This podcast is a wide-ranging conversation with Ian Anderson and A/Professor Papaarangi Reid, Tumuaki (Maori Dean) in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Topics discussed included the role of universities in educating Indigenous health professional, and in educating non-Aboriginal Australians about Aboriginal health; Aboriginal health disadvantages, but also health gains made over the last couple of decades; the evolution of the Aboriginal community controlled health sector; Indigenous health research and statistics here and in New Zealand, among other topics.
Website: http://upclose.unimelb.edu.au/episode/48-researching-indigenous-health-australia-and-new-zealand