First Nations Wallaroos looking to showcase culture on world stage

Fri, Oct 21, 2022, 5:41 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallaroos fullback Lori Cramer recounts how the First Nations Yugambeh anthem came to fruition.

The Wallaroos don't need any motivation to perform on Saturday against Wales.

However, the prospect of representing First Nations Australians on the world stage is something that excites Lori Cramer and Grace Kemp as they prepare to don the First Nations kit for the first time at the World Cup.

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The Wallaroos introduced the jersey at the start of the year, wearing it against Japan and the USA.

It was designed by Noongar Artist Seantelle Walsh, depicting the connection between women and their spirit, as well as the connection with the Dreamtime and overcoming barriers.

Cramer has been a major advocate in the rise of First Nations representation in Rugby, spearheading the adoption of a dual-language anthem for the Japan Test.

“It’s really special,” Cramer explained to reporters.

“Getting to wear our First Nations jersey on the world stage like this so people can see Indigenous art, especially like this shoutout Seantelle (Walsh, jersey designer) for making such a beautiful jersey with such significant meaning for the team."

This was equally expressed by Kemp, with the backrower watching from the sidelines for the games the jersey has been worn in the past.

“It’s a huge honour to pull on an Australian jersey but I’m even more proud to do it with my culture on our backs," the proud Wiradjuri woman said.

“I think taking the jersey into this game which has huge stakes, it’s massive for Indigenous people to have that artwork shown worldwide. It’s super exciting.”

“My great grandmother is part of the Stolen Generation…I’ve only learnt a little bit about it but I continue to learn about it daily and other cultures and mobs who go through the same type of trauma.”

The pair detailed how Rugby has been used as a vehicle to grow their understanding, with Cramer and Kemp joined in camp by fellow First Nations Wallaroos Mahalia Murphy and Madison Schuck.

“For First Nations people in Australia, it’s a journey you go through and there is a lot of things that have been missing or lost," Cramer believes.

“It is hard sometimes having that culture and not being able to connect but for me, Rugby has been something that has been really helpful to connect. 

“Opportunities like this are really special."

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