The Sydney Swans will wear a new Indigenous guernsey for their June 1 game against Carlton in the Marn Grook round.
The design, drawn from work by NSW artist Cheryl Davison, features the black swan, Guunyu, and is based on the Dreamtime story of a white swan who became black and how it happened.
Guunyu was attacked by jealous birds who pulled out all his feathers and left him to die. A crow who witnessed the attack the went to the swan’s aid and pulled out some of his own feathers to share.
“When he had finished Guunyu was able to rise up out of the swamp and fly away with his beautiful new shiny black feathers that the old crow had given him. He was more beautiful than ever before,” the story goes.
“Today when you see Guunyu flying above you can see that his wing feathers are white underneath where he had tucked his wings in when the birds attacked him. They could not pluck out those feathers.”
The club, which has a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), met Davison through the social enterprise Blak markets, which helps indigenous businesses by hosting markets around Sydney, as well as via an online store.
It’s the second Indigenous jumper for the Swans after Lisa Sansbury, mother of Swans legend Adam Goodes, designed the original version in 2014.
Swans CEO Andrew Ireland said elements from Sansbury’s design were retained and depending on the team they’re playing in the indigenous round in future years, the two styles will alternate.
Star forward Lance Franklin, a member of the RAP committee, was the first player to wear the new design.
“When I first saw the jumper, I was immediately struck by the black swan – it’s a strong image and has a wonderful story behind it,” he said.
“Marn Grook is my favourite game of the year because it celebrates what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people bring to our game.”
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