Lightning Release Symbolic Indigenous Dress Design

Sunshine Coast Lightning are proud to wear the Club’s 2021 Indigenous Dress designed by Kabi Kabi Elder Aunty Hope O’Chin across the Round 5 and Round 6 matches.

The Suncorp Super Netball Indigenous Round is a highlight on the annual calendar and this year will be spread across 2 fixtures, giving each team the chance to recognise and celebrate First Nations culture.

This year Indigenous Round coincides with National Reconciliation Week, promoting the theme of ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’. 

While Lightning take on Adelaide Thunderbirds in South Australia this Sunday, the Club is excited to showcase the dress design and a range of activations, entertainment and activities with a home USC Stadium crowd in Round 6 against Queensland Firebirds.

The crux of the design centres around a Lightning bolt cradled within a coolamon – a versatile vessel commonly used to cradle babies, carry water or foods that are gathered, as well as being used to dig the grounds.

The use of the coolamon is very symbolic for a women’s sporting team.

Aunty Hope’s design also includes a nod to the Sunshine Coast through the incorporation of animals.

The longneck turtle, Maroochy swan, a goanna and witchetty grub represent animals from the land and freshwater, while a saltwater turtle, dolphin and crab represent saltwater dreaming.

The overarching pattern emphasises inclusiveness of communities and First Nations that contribute to Lightning’s identity.

“It represents the sacredness of all living things,” Aunty Hope said.

“The sacredness of our connections as human beings to all living things – It’s about sustainability.

“It’s about ensuring that you as Sunshine Coast people also share this connection with us.

“I think I said last time, our dreamings teach us to respect each other and to respect everyone.”

Aunty Hope also designed Lightning’s 2020 Indigenous dress design and has been involved in art and education over the past 40 years – possessing 2 PHDs in the area, including recently graduating from USC with her research centred around how artworks, storylines, songlines and ceremonies helped maintain Kabi Kabi culture during colonial oppression and dislocation.

According to the league, Indigenous Round is an opportunity to recognise the value, cultures and contributions of Australia’s First Nations and their histories and showcase how netball is empowering First Nations women and girls to shine.

In 2020 the league also commissioned the artwork created by Simone Thomson – Winyar Mugadjina (Women’s Track of Foot), 2020 – which will also be used in the 2021 campaign including the SSN match ball.

“I want every female who holds this ball to identify with it, to feel empowered, to feel the spirit of the oldest living culture on earth on their shoulders and to rise like a warrior,” Thomson said.

“”I want them to grip it in their fingers and feel the smile from within, the chill on their skin… I want them to feel special, worthy – able.”