Our Sporting Greats Showcase Launch Event

The State Library of Queensland recently kicked off its first major event for kuril dhagun in 2018, with the launch of our latest showcase Our Sporting Greats: Murri and Ailan athletes in the spotlight. 

Our Sporting Greats was conceived in response to the development of the 21st Commonwealth Games to celebrate some of Queensland’s unsung Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heroes from the sporting world. The showcase highlights five local heroes with a variety of images, memorabilia, and digital stories on display throughout the kuril dhagun space on Level 1.

The Our Sporting Greats Welcome Wall, Level 1 State Library of Queensland. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

Cherbourg Marching Girls uniforms re-imagined by costume maker Gayle MacGregor. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

Digital story for Rhonda Purcell. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

With the spotlight on the games, this showcase has allowed us to give a platform to these heroes who are widely regarded and admired for their talent and determination to succeed, their achievements in their individual arenas and their community advocacy.

The profiled heroes include legends such as Uncle Charlie King, president of the Brisbane Natives Rugby League Team who also headed the historic Boathouse Dance social scene where we’re told a number of romances kicked off! Uncle Charlie’s daughter Aunty Sandra King was there on the launch evening, and she reflects on her fathers legacy through digital stories and memorabilia displayed in the space including an original Jersey as worn by the Brisbane All Blacks.

Uncle Charlie King’s story. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

Rhonda Purcell, another of our profiled heroes was also in attendance at our launch evening. A Quandamooka woman and an international bodybuilding gold medalist, Rhonda has built herself as an outstanding role model for the community and proved that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. She is also a Deadly Choices ambassador who regularly speaks in public forums to inspire others to chase their dreams.

Rhonda Purcell’s story. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

Danny Morseu is another hero profiled in the showcase, who has achieved huge things in the Basketball arena. A two-time Olympian and a mentor to current Torres Strait Islander professional players Patty Mills and Nathan Jawai, who’ve both gone on to reach international heights.

Danny Morseu’s story. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

Aunty Lesley Williams and the Cherbourg Marching Girls are also profiled in the showcase, a nationally-renowned all girls marching troupe who were prominent during the 50’s and 60’s. Aunty Lesley kindly lended herself to speak on behalf of those represented in the showcase and helped us to officially launch the evening.

Aunty Lesley Williams in attendance in front of Marching Girls at Cherbourg, 1960, SLQ Negative no. 78819. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

Finally, we have our very own hero Willie Prince in the spotlights at SLQ. A Cherbourg man and a track and field champion, Willie has reached heights some would only dream of whilst in the face of adversity. He has had the fortune of being a torchbearer at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and most recently the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Willie Prince’s story. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

We had a number of prominent community members attend the launch event, with Aunty Valda Coolwell conducting an Acknowledgement of Country, Aunty Colleen Hurley, Aunty Dorothy Anderson and Aunty Faye Gundy also attended and were members of the Cherbourg Marching Girls, Aunty Kathryn Fisher, State Library of Queensland Board member Malcolm McMillan and MC and State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald attended the night.

Aunty Valda Coolwell speaking at the launch event. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

Left to Right: Aunty Dorothy Anderson, Aunty Colleen Hurley, Aunty Faye Gundy and Aunty Lesley Williams. Photo by Josef Ruckli.

This showcase will run until 2 September 2018, and we have developed a public programming calendar of events for people to attend to hear about these stories directly from the athletes themselves. As part of this program, the Night by the Fire series has once again been brought to life with monthly talks in the Talking Circle. We have already held the first session with guest speaker Rhonda Purcell who talked about her journey to success in the bodybuilding arena. The night was a great success and no doubt this will continue to be a popular event for the rest of the year.

You can view and book into these sessions through the link to our website.

In September we have the Black Gloves Tour, which takes place on Saturday 1 September 2018 from 2pm-4pm. This will give attendees the opportunity to explore memorabilia from Our Sporting Greats in an exclusive showcase experience. You can also bring your own collections to the table for discussion. You can book into this session shortly through the link to our website.

All in all, the evening was mighty successful and well attended. As all us Murris know, sport brings many of our communities together and we love to celebrate each little win. The achievements of each of our heroes are nothing short of incredible and we are proud to be able to share this with the communities of Queensland.

If you can’t make it into the State Library of Queensland to view the showcase, please click through to our online showcase to view the all of the content, digital stories and access to helpful resources. Also, you can visit our Facebook page to view an album of photos from the launch evening.

We hope to see you all in at the State Library of Queensland and kuril dhagun!

The kuril dhagun team.