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As part of the Dolphins’ commitment to the respectful acknowledgement of the Traditional Owners of the land on which they play, the NRL Indigenous Round jerseys for 2023 to 2025 have been designed as a trilogy that celebrates the local First Nations peoples, Country, and stories of buangan [pronunciation: boo-un-gahn] or dolphins.

The jerseys feature parts of a specially commissioned artwork by acclaimed Sunshine Coast artist Lyndon Davis, a Traditional Custodian of the Gubbi Gubbi /Kabi Kabi people, titled ‘The Calling of the Dolphins’.

As Lyndon explains:
“Here in Quandamooka Country (Moreton Bay), Aboriginal people used an ancient hunting practice to lure in the large schools of mullet closer to shore. By slapping the water in a particular pattern to create water percussion, and grinding their spears into the sandstone along the water’s edge, we communicated with the dolphins, who would hear these calls and drive the mullet to shore where the people were waiting with spears and nets. The dolphin was never hunted by the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and was always there to share in the catch. Family groups of local pods of dolphins would respond and recognise the calls of Aboriginal families / clan groups. There were different families of dolphin connected with different families of Aboriginal people, with stories of ‘calling of the dolphins’ spread across the Sunshine Coast, Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) and Meanjin (Brisbane) clans. This artwork represents those connections, the calling and the special relationship that has existed for thousands of years.”

Different elements of the artwork (which is also featured in full in First Nation celebration video) are featured in the jerseys over three years, with the colours for each year drawn from the Dolphins’ traditional brand palette to represent and pay tribute to the Traditional Owners and their Country.
The 2023 red jersey represented the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Ningyningy people of the north and the cliffs of Quandamooka Country (Moreton Bay), which are coloured red from the blood of the dolphin from the great battle when it got its blowhole.

This year’s jersey features gold elements that represents the Quandamooka people in the east, and the golden sands of Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) and the Sunshine Coast.

The third jersey in the trilogy will represent both the Turrbal and Yuggera peoples of the south and west, and the rich soils of the river plains of Meanjin (Brisbane).

Combined, the three jerseys also give a respectful nod to the Aboriginal flag and all First Nations people across the country, while replacing the name “Dolphins’ on the back of the jersey with the in-language name “Buangan’ reinforces the celebration of First Nations culture.

A bold and standout trilogy, the jerseys are a powerful symbol of the enduring connection between the buangan and First Nations peoples, and provide a new layer of meaning to The Dolphins — the club that nurtured the first ever First Nations person to captain Australia in any sport, the immortal Arthur Beetson.