Indigenous communities recently gathered at Nullagine for the first of three Western Desert Sports Council sports carnivals set for 2012.
People travelled from Punmu, Jigalong, Warralong, Kiwirrkurra, Nullagine and Parnngurr for the four-day event which included football and softball; entertainment and activities for children.
”Sports carnivals are very important to these communities and usually bring hundreds of families and friends together to participate and support their teams,” said Newcrest Mining’s Community Relations Superintendent at Telfer, Mr Leon van Erp.
Newcrest has worked closely with indigenous communities in the region for several years, and supported the recent formation of the Western Desert Sports Council as principal organiser of the carnivals.
In the football competition, Jigalong defeated Irrungadji (Nullagine) in the grand final.
The undefeated Punmu team secured the softball championship title.
“The carnivals also present an opportunity for representatives from the Swan Districts Football Club and the WA Softball Association to see many naturally-talented players in action, and some of those players may be invited to head to Perth for special games later in the year,” said Mr van Erp.
Additional activities at the Nullagine carnival included face-painting, music workshops, colouring-in and story-telling.
Nightly concerts, featuring local indigenous talent, kept the crowds entertained, while clown doctors helped raise awareness of good personal hygiene habits amongst children, such as hand-washing and teeth-brushing.
“It’s encouraging to see the positive results taking place on-and-off the field,” said Mr van Erp.
The next carnival will be held at Kiwirrkurra in July.