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From Townsville to Melbourne: Ignatius Park Shares Torres Strait Islander Culture
Young men performed for both playing groups, staff and fans during the AFL Indigenous Round as part of National Reconciliation Week.
Recently, a number of staff, students and parents of the Ignatius Park College community travelled to Melbourne to participate in the AFL Indigenous Round which coincided with National Reconciliation Week. The students were part of a Torres Strait Islander dance group and performed for a range of audiences while away on this Program. Two of the performances included both the Richmond and North Melbourne Football clubs where the young men performed for both playing groups, staff and fans and were received very positively at each venue.  

The opportunity to visit and perform for students at a fellow Edmund Rice College was also included when the group travelled to Parade College. Year 7 students at Parade were given the privilege of watching the four Torres Strait dances before being invited to join in with one of them. This was enthusiastically embraced by the students.
The final performance was at Federation Square as part of the Long Walk celebrations. Many supporters were at this event and an estimated crowd of over 2,000 watched the boys perform on a chilly Melbourne Saturday afternoon. The group later participated in the ‘Long Walk’ to the MCG before joining 80,000 people for the annual ‘Dreamtime at the G’ fixture between Richmond and Essendon.  

The group had been practicing these dances since the start of the year under the guidance and support of family and Torres Strait Islander community members in Townsville. Victoria Tapim, Tremayne Bowie, Francis Townson and Leah Mosby were crucial in this cultural developmental opportunity and must be acknowledged for their contribution. While the ability to share culture with a range of audiences in another part of the country was an outstanding experience, the ability to engage with their own cultural background and link that to their own identity was an even greater opportunity for these young men and hopefully will now provide them with a platform to continue embracing this important component of themselves.

Andrew Kirkpatrick
Indigenous Program Leader – Ignatius Park College

IPC Melbourne

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