A storied blue shark known to roam the Noongar and Yamatji coast will feature prominently on East Fremantle Football Club’s NAIDOC round guernsey this weekend.
Footballer and artist Rueben McGuire, 21, designed his club’s NAIDOC jersey with his cousin Barry McGuire, to tell the tales of Waarnang-ba and its journey along the coast of WA.
Reuben McGuire said each element selected for the guernsey celebrated the club’s links to Indigenous culture.
“The main element of the jersey is the Waarnang-ba, the blue shark which was known to roam up and down the coasts of WA and enter areas which are home to the Yamatji people, as well as the Noongar people in the south,” he said.
“It was important for me to combine land and water concepts to the overall design as it signifies survival, another important attribute of the club.”
Waves surrounding the shark symbolise Father Ocean to Noongar tribes.
The flowing white lines represent storylines and the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River).
“Keeping the shark front and centre in the design was important as its meaningful to Noongar people and the club,” McGuire said.
“I used the sun rays in my sketch to symbolise traditional markings on Nyoongar men to
communicate ancient culture of strength and resilience, which I believe reflects the culture of our club.”
The subtle red glow around the shark represents Wilgi, now known as the Boorloo (Perth) suburb Willagee, situated on a mound of red ochre.
McGuire said NAIDOC Week was a special occasion for his family, and a time to showcase, educate and inspire cultural practices.
“It allows people to learn new things about Aboriginal culture they may not have known before. I feel extremely humbled to celebrate and tell the story of my culture through my design,” he said.
“It makes me immensely proud to be a Nyoongar man and tell the stories of my culture through my love for football.”
East Fremantle players will wear the guernsey when they play Subiaco in the WAFL NAIDOC Round on Saturday, July 9 at Leederville Oval.