Darebin has commissioned the club’s first Indigenous Jumper for the 2022 Sir Doug Nicholls Round on Saturday 28 May. The jumper design is the work of Fitzroy Stars artist Rebecca Bell, inspired by the story of the Darebin Falcons. The project was led from the VFLW players, with a small team: whole club approach.
19 year old Katelyn Hazlett was a natural fit to lead the club in this project. Growing up in Swan Hill, Katelyn joined the Falcons in the 2021 season after a strong NAB Cup season, and a season or 2 with Darwin Buffalos. Katelyn has played an integral role in the resurgent Falcons 2022 season. As a Wathaurong woman, Katelyn’s role in Koori Education at Reservoir High includes leadership with communities and cultural business as well as advocacy.
Luckily, my work has been incredibly supportive of my footy demands, giving me flexibility when we have late training or other things. I am the first in this role at the school, and it has also been great also to have (fellow Falcons U18 player) Taz Ward there too. She is a student at this school since she came over from Perth earlier this year.
In 2021, the Stars had joined the northern league NFNL, home of our community football junior and senior teams. The first women’s team was coached by Falcons Masters player, Lisa (Kiwi) Roper. Kiwi was receptive to the approach from the Darebin Women’s Sports Club Board to seek an artist from the Fitzroy Stars team to work with our VFLW players to create the Club’s first ever Indigenous jumper. The Stars Vice Captain Rebecca Bell had worked on the Fitzroy Stars inaugural Women’s Team Indigenous Jumper and generously accepted the invitation to work with us. It was Becky’s exceptional talent and vision that combined to create the artwork that would represent the club’s story.
Players involved in the ‘yarning circle’ that sat with Becky to tell the Club story that inspired Backy’s design had responded to a call out from the Club to be involved. Katelyn was joined by fellow players Julia McArdle, Rachel Harris, Ellen Buckley, Sophia Padovano, Sabine Cowley du Parquet and Karly McNiece, with captain Steph Simpson providing valuable comments along the way.
The group met at our spiritual home, AH Capp Reserve, nestled alongside the Merri Creek, and talked with Rebecca about what the Club meant to them, and what they hoped might be reflected in the art.
Katelyn says the club grounds on land where Wurundjeri Woiwurrung communities had lived alongside the Merri Creek were vital to the story, and this was a striking part of the final design. It was important to include the Darebin lightning bolt design, and stars to show that Darebin and Fitzroy Stars will stand together. The artwork shows the continuing impact and contributions of the many members of the Falcs family, and also includes a focus on young people, who have a special role in the club.
Katelyn also describes the whole of club approach needed to have the jumper ready for the VFLW Sir Doug Nicolls Round. With tight timelines, the working group were supported by the Board’s Julie Boffa through some tricky tasks. Operations support Larissa Payne and Brad Holt guided the work through all the AFL processes, and U16 parent Brett Wright worked to get the hand drawn art into the digital formats needed for printing.
I’m so thankful to be part of this process to create Darebin’s first jumper. I think it will be a big statement for the club; that everyone is welcome; that everyone is given room to participate and contribute to a strong club’s values and identity.